Misconceptions of US Policy Elites That Perpetuate Cuba’s Arrogant, Marxist Oppression
Negotiations Doomed to Fail: They’re Not Like Us, and Will Prolong the Parasitism
The views toward Cuba of many in the US policy establishment have been influenced by a variety of assumptions. First and foremost, there is the strong belief that economic considerations could influence Cuban policy decisions and that an economically deteriorating situation would force the Castro brothers to move Cuba toward a market economy and eventually toward political reforms.
This has not happened; General Raul Castro has introduced limited economic reforms in an attempt to muddle through a difficult situation. Yet the reforms are not structurally profound, nor are they propelling Cuba to the marketplace. In Cuba, economic decisions are determined by political and ideological considerations.
The second assumption is that the embargo is the cause of Cuba’s economic ills. This notion has been propagated continuously by the Castro regime in an attempt to force the United States to unilaterally lift US sanctions.
In reality the cause of Cuba’s economic problems is not the embargo but a failed economic system. Like the Soviet and Eastern European Marxist economies, Cuba’s system is antiquated, inefficient, and corrupt. It does not encourage productivity or individual initiative. If Cuba were to export and produce more, it could buy any products it needs from other countries. For Cuba, the United States is the closest but not the cheapest market. What the Castro regime would like is US tourists and credits to help scrape by without making major economic or political changes.
The third assumption is that leaders from other countries are very much like US leaders, except that they speak a different language. We assume that these leaders share our values and perceptions and that, therefore, they will behave as we do. We believe that we can negotiate with them most, if not all, of our mutual problems, that we can find common ground and work out differences.
Nothing could be further from the truth. There are leaders, particularly in the developing world, who don’t share Western values. They see the world very differently than we do. Perhaps the result of their educational, religious, or cultural background, perhaps the result of their own experiences, they think and act very differently.
The Castro brothers belong to this group. What characterizes them is a self-righteous assurance that they know what’s best for their countries and an unwillingness to compromise their views even to the extent of sacrificing their people in the pursuit of their ideas. They have a commitment to remain in power, since they believe that no other individual can carry out the anointed task of transforming and leading their countries. Compromise is seen as a short-term, sometimes forced, tactical move to achieve long-term strategic objectives. Negotiations with these leaders are usually of little value, and agreements are of short duration.
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