A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
The high-level agreements between Cuba and the United States and the restoration of diplomatic relations between the two countries, announced on December 17, 2014 by Presidents Raul Castro and Barack Obama, herald a new era in bilateral relations. This era, which obviously must begin with the lifting of the economic, commercial and financial blockade and other absurd "sanctions" against Cuba, could make way for the development of active links between two independent neighbor nations.
At my frequent meetings in Havana during the last decade with visiting US academics interested in my views on the prospects for Cuba-US relations, one of the most repeated questions has been whether Cubans fear or not the entry into the Cuban scene of US corporations which could distort the course of the social gains of the revolution.
I have always reminded them that for many years now Cuba has maintained trade ties with capitalist firms from countries around the world, with almost the only exception of the US. I do not think that capitalists from Canada, Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean are better or worse than those from the US. The only difference is that for US businesspersons trade with Cuba has been forbidden by their government.
I have tried to make them understand that Cuba has been able to commercially relate to the world. This is based on absolute respect for international law and mutual compliance with the laws and regulations of the two contracting parties for mutual benefit. I do not think circumstances in possible links with US partners should be any different.
Obviously, the isolation US export firms have been subjected to for more than half a century –due to their government's policy aimed at isolating Cuba– could harm them in the future. This is because Cuban partners, as well as users or consumers on the island, are familiar with other more distant markets because of the irrational practice of US policy.
Unfortunately, Washington keeps talking about boycotts and sanctions against Russia, Venezuela and every government in the world that does not accept US policies of war and global hegemony. The U.S. public should demand an end to this boomerang policy. Not only because it can have an impact against them, but because it almost always hurts the poorest sectors of the population whose security and human rights happen to be the most affected.
Now there is a campaign against Venezuela built on the assumption that –as a result of the good news of Washington’s rectification of its hostile and sterile policy against Cuba– the much-awaited political thaw spreading through the Straits of Florida would affect the solidarity betweem Havana and Caracas. "How will Venezuela justify its anti-imperialist politics when its main friend has become an ally of the empire?” asked a paid pen at the service of Washington’s media campaigns against Caracas. Nothing could be more absurd!
It is obvious that, in this way, the most reactionary forces of the superpower bully the countries which do not recognize the right of the United States to manipulate international relations. They do this so that these countries do not take advantage of the failure of the policy of hostility toward Cuba. The failure of this policy was a result of increasing pressures from the American people and the world community, finally endorsed by the courageous gesture of President Obama who took the step while besieged by the neoconservative forces which had promoted the failed policy.
A recent survey by The Washington Post and ABC network revealed that 64 percent of Americans support the decision of President Barack Obama to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba. Among those voting for the Democratic Party the percentage reached 77% and 49% among Republicans. 85% of Democrats and 64% of Republicans are favourable to the elimination of the prohibitions against Americans traveling to Cuba.
Despite being subjected to a mountain of hostile propaganda comparable only to that which the US media used against its more powerful enemies during World War II and the hardest part of the Cold War, there have been numerous political, religious, intellectual, scientific and business figures who applauded the decision of Washington and Havana to normalize their diplomatic relations, broken since the early days of the triumph of the Cuban revolution in 1959.
December 24, 2014.