Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The United States embraces Cuba: The greatest event of the century?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Folks, there is something to chew on. The United States says that it will restore ties with Cuba in the coming months and open an Embassy in Havana (Cuba) in about 18 months’ time. Celebration time for those persistently opposed to the US’ hostility to Cuba for more than half a century? Anguish among the Obama critics?
Whatever the case may be, this new development adds a different complexion to the kind of relationship that has existed between the US and Cuba since Fidel Castro led the masses against the Batista administration to establish Cuba as a state to be centrally controlled (Call it socialism or communism).

Here is how some of the major news media in the world carried that happening:

·         'New chapter' in US-Cuba ties (BBC News at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-30516740)

·          “After Alan Gross release, Obama seeks to resume full diplomatic ties with Cuba”
And Yahoo News reveals a gripping aspect: “18 months of secret talks in Canada and at the Vatican, an Obama-Castro phone call” (http://news.yahoo.com/after-alan-gross-release--obama-seeks-to-resume-full-diplomatic-ties-with-cuba-152343480.html).
Those familiar with the vicissitudes of this US-Cuban sour relationship know the deeper-level implications; those not familiar may be scratching their heads to find out why the sudden U-Turn by the US, especially at this time that the Obama administration is struggling to regain public confidence and move the country where the critics say it hasn’t yet reached in their reckoning of global politics in our time.
Those critical of Obama’s handling of affairs may go the extra mile to question the rationale behind this move to thaw relations with Cuba when there are indications that the country is abandoning or has abandoned its socialist/communist agenda nor has it democratized the system well enough to give the citizens the freedom to do things as those in the US and other democracies do.
In effect, Cuba is still Cuba, regardless of the back stage position taken by the US’ nemesis (Fidel Castro). His brother, Raul, is in firm control, introducing piecemeal measures to suggest that there is some relaxation of the firm grips on the Cuban system. But Cuba under Raul Castro remains the Cuba that has persistently poked its finger into the US’ eyes all these years.
The reverberations of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis are still strongly being felt in the minds of those familiar with what happened. So also are many others. But Cuba today is less radical, which may give us the inkling to suggest that the US seems to be swayed by what it anticipates to be a lessening of the iron grips on the system. Apparently, the Obama administration has gone for the bite. What follows next will go a long way to shape the future course for both countries directly and the world at large.
In any case, though, it is heart-warming that the US has come to this point of realization: that its decades-long strangulation of the Cuban system hasn’t accomplished the desired results. No military invasion, no ban on exports to Cuba, no tightening of the noose of any sort has broken the resolve of the Cuban system to remain what it has been all these years. So, why continue to do so? Something must crack, which has just happened.
With this thawing of relations between the two countries, the world should be given the hope that Cuba can have its place of pride in the community of nations and release its full potential for addressing global crises. After all, Cuban doctors are acknowledged as among the best in the world; and given the leeway, Cuba can contribute more to the world than it has been allowed to do so far within the context of the US’ bullying tactics.
Let’s celebrate this new direction and wait for developments. Certainly, Obama has gone a long way to add a remarkably positive page to the annals of world history just as his predecessor, JF Kennedy, did to set the pace for the acrimony that has dogged the US-Cuba relations.
If Cuba has remained viable and vibrant despite the US’ stranglehold on it—and the withdrawal of the massive financial aid that the then Soviet Union gave it but which vanished as Gorbachov’s “glasnost” and “perestroika” sheared Russia of its superpower status—then, something must click in someone’s brain pan to know what stuff makes up the Cuban system. It is like a bone being licked by a duck!!
In that sense, the thawing of relations between both countries should bring in dividends, not woes. I welcome it and will wait to see how it pans out.
I shall return…
·         E-mail: mjbokor@yahoo.com
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