Friday, November 18, 2011

Report: U.S. policy "trapped in the traumas" of Castro revolution

Brookings, a public policy institution in Washington, D.C., plans to release a report this morning that will recommend that the international community engage Cuba to support the socialist government's economic reform efforts.
Cuba has shown resilience since the break up of its chief sponsor, the Soviet Union, and appears to be on a path toward gradual change, not sudden regime collapse, the 109-page report says.
Richard E. Feinberg
But there will be "another cycle of disappointment and recrimination" unless Cuba deepens economic reform on the island, warns the report's author, Richard E. Feinberg.
He suggests that the international development community work with "pro-reform factions" in Cuba rather than the the "orthodox planners" who "remain entrenched in still-powerful ministries and the conservative factions inside the Communist Party." He writes:
Now is the time for the international development community to engage in Cuba, to support the incipient economic reform process.
Feinberg, a former special assistant to President Clinton for National Security Affairs, also suggested a review of U.S. policy toward Cuba. He wrote:
...the capacity and credibility of the United States in international economic policy making are being threatened by the repeated ability of small but well-positioned domestic interests to trump the general national interest. In no issue is this paradox more evident than in U.S. policies toward Cuba, still trapped in the traumas of the 1959 revolution and its aftermath. The U.S. Executive Branch and Congress should seize upon Cuba’s incipient economic reform process as the golden opportunity to reassert the U.S. national interest and approach Cuba with characteristic American realism and self-confidence.
Cuban workers are building shipping facilities at Mariel. They've approved new golf courses and marinas with an eye toward an eventual rise in tourism from the United States. Feinberg, a professor of international political economy at the University of California at San Diego, writes:
...the Cuban authorities are signaling that they understand the powerful gravitational pull of geography — that Cuba and the United States will, inevitably, once again become economic partners. In approaching Cuban economic reform, the United States should join with the international development community in nudging forward that irresistible flow of history.

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