Cuba Politics

US chooses to keep head in sand - No negotiations with Cuba

Posted December 04, 2006 by publisher in Cuba Politics.

(Original title: U.S. rejects talking to Cuba’s “dictator-in-waiting”)


The State Department on Monday rejected an offer of talks with Raul Castro, Cuba’s acting president, saying it saw no point in a dialogue with what it called the Caribbean island’s “dictator-in-waiting.”

“The dialogue that should be taking place is not between Raul Castro and any group outside or any country outside of Cuba. It’s the regime, with the Cuban people, talking about a transition to a democratic form of governance in that country,” State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters.

The offer of talks, made on Saturday, was the most direct overture to the United States by the designated successor to Fidel Castro, who gave power to his brother temporarily after undergoing emergency intestinal surgery in late July.

At a military parade on Saturday, Raul Castro railed at the Bush administration and condemned the Iraq war but added: “We take this opportunity to once again state that we are willing to resolve at the negotiating table the long-standing dispute between the United States and Cuba.”

Asked if a dialogue might hasten Cuba’s transition to democracy, McCormack said: “I don’t see how. I don’t see how that really furthers the cause of democracy in that country where you have dialogue with a dictator-in-waiting who wants to continue the form of governance that has really kept down the Cuban people for all these decades.”

Washington broke off diplomatic relations with Havana in 1961, two years after Fidel Castro seized power in a revolution and turned Cuba into a Soviet ally. Communication channels were restored with the opening of low-level diplomatic missions called interest sections in 1978.

Member Comments

On December 04, 2006, publisher wrote:

I love this quote:

“Asked if a dialogue might hasten Cuba’s transition to democracy, McCormack said: “I don’t see how. I don’t see how that really furthers the cause of democracy…”

What he really wants to say is:

“Nah, we in the Bush Administration do not believe in diplomacy. Let’s just keep the 45 year old failed Plan A Embargo. That’s been working so well I think we’ll stick with that.”

Nice. Same old, same old.

On December 05, 2006, J. Perez wrote:

It has to be understood that this group in the White House is too overwhelmed by the mess they have created in Iraq to undertake any kind of diplomatic initiative with Cuba at this point, it is going to be up to the democrats to do it and I believe they will, to a certain extent, but it’s going to take some time, eveyone is so preocupied with the Iraq situation and it’s not like we are talking about folks that can walk and chew gum at the same time anyway.

On December 05, 2006, MiamiCuban wrote:

For this administration in particular (but for others in the past as well) it’s the same old thing….do as we say or else.  Cuba has had to pay a heavy price for choosing “or else”.

On December 05, 2006, sidneygilbert wrote:

At some point: these two sides have to set their egos and mis-guided efforts aside and start to work for a new society and economic future for the whole Basin.

On December 05, 2006, run abh wrote:

J. Perez:
I appreciate your point and I think it is valid in many ways.  However, wasn’t the bush administration deeply inivolved with Iraq in 2004 when the Condoleeza Rice-headed commission suceeded in further restricting contact between the two countries?  Wasn’t the administration deeply involved with Iraq recently when they appointed a post to watch over Venezuelan and Cuban issues?  Wasn’t the administration deeply involved in Iraq when they recently proposed giving 80 million to dissident efforts on and off the island?  The administration is clearly still pursuing its goals, and, aside from a fear of a massive Cuban exodus that would strain U.S. resources in the instance of chaos on the island, I do not believe that the administration is scaling down its efforts of destabilization.  They are staying the course.  Your point about it being up to the democrats is right on.  But I’m not convinced that this is due to Iraq.  I think it’s due to the Bush clan having a very clear agenda in keeping diplomatic channels frozen between the two countries.

On December 05, 2006, J. Perez wrote:

Without a doubt the preocupation with Iraq is only part of the reason, this is a problem that has very long and deep roots. As MiamiCuban puts it, the “do as we say or else..” policy is not the sole property of the Bush administration, only they have perfect it.

On December 06, 2006, MiamiCuban wrote:

It seems that no matter how willing Cuba is to engage in diplomatic talks, the U.S. is resistant because it’s not willing to make any concessions (no doubt at the urging of exile leaders and politicians).  It’s all or nothing with the U.S., and this kind of attitude will never lead to progress.  It’s only when the exiles’ attitudes toward U.S./Cuba relations changes that Washington will listen, because in the end it’s about the votes.  The tide is turning now, so it will be interesting to see what happens in 2007.

On December 06, 2006, sidneygilbert wrote:

One major problem facing Cuba is lack of energy. I say we open with a plan to build and operate a new electrical system based on nuclear electric power plant. Sid

On December 06, 2006, run abh wrote:

I think you’ve got a good idea.
However, I believe Hugo Chavez beat the U.S. to the chase on this one.  According to my sources, the number of blackouts has vastly decreased during this “Year of the Energy Revolution” in Cuba, as Chavez has been sending Cuba massive amounts of oil, and working to restructure the crumbling energy infrastructure on the island.  This illustrates how we can “lose ground” to other governments when we refuse to interact with the Cuban Government.

On December 08, 2006, Jorge wrote:

When Fidel Castro dies, will U.S. diplomats claim that the embargo was finally successful?

On December 12, 2006, Pete Chavez wrote:

Dear Jorge? I am sure you mean that question rhetorically but one thing is for sure.  As long as Raul keeps making overtures to the United States, it surely can be construed as a positive marker for the embargo working (especially by those that would love for all of us to think that this is the case).  And if he gets lucky and manages to minimally affect change in the nature or complexion of the embargo that might even further define the embargo as an effort that would have worked a whole lot sooner had a meglamaniac paranoid nut not been in power all those years.