Should the U.S. follow the EU’s fickle lead on Cuba?
Should the U.S. Follow Europe's Fickle Lead?
In its latest edition, Americas Quarterly debates:
"Will warming Cuba-EU ties open up U.S.-Cuba relations?"
On one side, Sarah Stephens, Executive Director of the Castro-friendly, Center for Democracy in the Americas, argues that the U.S. should follow Europe's lead.
(You can read her ir-rationale here.)
It's really hard to argue with a straight-face that we should take Europe's lead in any foreign policy issue, particularly as the world witnesses first-hand Europe's fickleness in dealing with Russia's Vladimir Putin.
(Don't miss this great description of Europe's fickleness.)
Think about it: Ukraine finds itself a victim of Russian aggression simply because it wanted closer ties to Europe. Despite this, Europe has been unwilling to challenge Putin and defend Ukraine -- for it's too busy fawning all over Russia's oil and oligarchs. Instead, the U.S. has had to take the lead to defend Ukraine (and vicariously Europe's long-term interests).
Why in the world would anyone trust Europe in dealing with any tyrant?
Unless, of course, you're rooting for the tyrants.
The counter-argument in Americas Quarterly is written by Cuban labor rights activist, Joel Brito.
Read his rationale below:
The EU is engaged in a discussion that will yield no change in human rights conditions on the island. The U.S. would be wise not to follow the EU's lead.
In March, the European Union (EU) and the Cuban government announced a renewal of bilateral talks on trade and investment. Lured by Cuba’s proposed social and economic reforms, including a new foreign investment law, the expansion of self-employment, and loosened travel restrictions, the EU agreed to return to the negotiating table for the first time since the establishment of the Common Position in 1996, including human rights and democracy in the discussion on improved economic relations.
But it would be misguided to assume that the Cuban reforms are a sign of genuine change within the regime. Rather, they represent an attempt to adapt the revolution’s principles of “protect and perpetuate” to changing circumstances: a strategy that has allowed the regime to survive repeated economic and political shocks over the past 55 years.
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