September 28, 2020

ECLAC hails thaw in US-Cuba relations

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eclacFrom T&T Newsday

THE following is a statement delivered by Economic Commission for and the Caribbean () Executive Secretary Alicia Barcena on last Wednesday’s historic announcement by United States President Barack Obama of plans to restore diplomatic relations between the US and . The statement was issued last Friday:

We have witnessed with enormous optimism the unveiling of good tidings. Signals that we had hoped to see for so long, gestures that reveal a shared will to use regional integration—through dialogue, collaboration and mutual respect—as the basis for a new relationship between Cuba and the United States, which is formally bilateral but impacts our entire region. At the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) we value this historic step as a welcome shift after more than half a century of ruptured diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States of America. This announcement mirrors the unanimous and insistent call by our continent for the anachronistic limits imposed on Cuba to be lifted.

As President Obama said, “We are all Americans.” The nations of our hemisphere are united by increasingly deep familial, cultural, geographic and economic ties.

Latin America and the Caribbean today is a region with its own voice, which embraces with respect its diversity and political plurality, persists in its efforts to close the painful social gaps that characterise it, attempts to overcome its legacy of inequality, and demands its own place in the concert of nations.

A path has been forged that we hope will soon lead to the end of the economic, trade and financial embargo imposed on Cuba, a stance that was supported by 188 countries at the United Nations General Assembly in October. ECLAC calls for continued work to dismantle this embargo that has done so much damage to the Cuban people and contaminated relations between the United States and Latin America.

We value the US government’s new disposition, its will to constructively approach a different relationship with Cuba and also with Latin America and the Caribbean as a whole, a region that has its own face and voice, that tries to overcome the weight of inequality via original means and that demands cooperation, not tutelage.

In light of the challenges facing the region and the world, the new status of ties between Cuba and the United States — stripped of unyielding antagonism — not only allows the hemisphere to close the door on the vestiges of the Cold War, but also enables it to better approach strategic efforts on matters of shared interest, such as the global fight against the Ebola epidemic, which has prompted the heroic deployment of Cuban health workers and North American military officials who are working together in the trenches. ECLAC, which has an active collaborative agenda with Cuba, views the announcements made on Wednesday as a positive omen. We know firsthand the impediment that these unilaterally imposed restrictions have meant for Cuban development. We also know about the enormous potential for Cuba that can be unlocked as it resumes normal trade with the world, because of the quality and education of its people, its strategic geographic location and its efforts to update its economic model.

ECLAC, as a United Nations organisation, reiterates its willingness to continue working with Cuba with renewed energy at this auspicious time.

For more on this story go to: http://www.newsday.co.tt/businessday/0,204723.html

 

Related story:

Marco Rubio’s fury over Cuba shift

Official PortraitBy Dana MilbankFrom St Louis Post Dispatch

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, the Republican Party’s point man on Cuba, seemed to be struggling to contain his fury as he responded to President Obama’s move Wednesday to normalize relations with the Cold War foe.

The Cuban-American legislator, addressing a roomful of reporters and photographers in the Capitol, chopped the air with his right hand, fired off terse answers to questions and, frequently raising his voice, spat insults at the Obama administration:

“Absurd.”

“Disgraceful.”

“Outrageous and ridiculous!”

“Concession to a tyranny.”

“Based on an illusion, on a lie.”

“Conceding to the oppressors.”

“Willfully ignorant of the way the world truly works.”

Fox News’ Chad Pergram asked Rubio why he was so confident the Cuba shift would be a disaster and not a success like the Camp David accords or the Good Friday agreement in Northern Ireland, which also had their critics.

“Because I know the Cuban regime and its true nature better than this president does or anybody in his administration does,” the senator replied.

Another questioner pointed out that younger Cuban-Americans support normal relations with Cuba.

“I don’t care if the polls say that 99 percent of people believe we should normalize relations in Cuba,” Rubio answered.

He threatened to use his new position as a subcommittee chairman on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to block the nomination of an ambassador to Cuba and the building of an embassy there.

Rubio’s emotional — and at times inaccurate — response to the policy change shows why Obama’s move to normalize ties to Cuba after more than half a century is both good policy and good politics. It’s good policy because it jettisons a vestigial policy that has stopped serving a useful purpose, and because it is a gutsy move by Obama that demonstrates strong leadership and will help revive him from lame-duck status. It’s good politics because it will reveal that the Cuban-American old guard, whose position Rubio represents, no longer speaks for most Cuban-Americans.

Florida International University, which annually polls Cuban-Americans, found this year that 68 percent favor diplomatic relations with Cuba. Only 41 percent of those 65 and older favor normalization, while 88 percent between the ages of 18 and 29 do.

But Rubio was responding with his gut, which has been seasoned by the unwavering dogma of Cuban exiles. He began his remarks with the phrase “As a descendant of Cuban immigrants and someone who’s been raised in a community of Cuban exiles,” and he observed that “Cuba is close to home for me, both because of my heritage, also because of the community I live in.”

This immersion has filled Rubio with faith-based logic, and an absolute certainty of outcomes that cannot be knowable. “I now know for a fundamental truth that this is going to make the day democracy comes to Cuba even further away,” he proclaimed. He further asserted that “I know this regime’s true nature. I interact with people that have been oppressed by it every single day. These changes will do nothing to change their behavior towards the Cuban people. (The regime) will be just as repressive a year from now as it is today.”

Before appearing in the Senate TV studio, Rubio granted an interview to Fox News in which he said that “Barack Obama is the worst negotiator that we’ve had as president since at least Jimmy Carter.” That would be the Jimmy Carter who negotiated the still-successful Camp David accords. By the time the 43-year-old Rubio gave his news conference, he revised that line, calling Obama “the single worst negotiator we have had in the in my lifetime.”

But Rubio had more trouble when The Washington Post’s Ed O’Keefe asked the Catholic lawmaker what he would say to Pope Francis, who intervened to encourage negotiations and to receive delegations from the two countries at the Vatican. “My understanding is that the influence that His Holiness had was on the release of (American Alan) Gross, which I’ve not criticized.”

A statement from the Vatican suggested its interest was broader than that, and the pope offered his “warm congratulations for the historic decision taken by the governments of the United States of America and Cuba to establish diplomatic relations.”

The senator had a different view than the Holy Father’s. “In short, what these changes are going to do is they will tighten this regime’s grip on power for decades to come,” he said.

That’s the doctrine of senatorial infallibility, and it usually ends badly for its adherents.

For more on this story go to: http://www.stltoday.com/news/opinion/columns/dana-milbank/dana-milbank-marco-rubio-s-fury-over-cuba-shift/article_a53029ef-7636-5690-bae5-514cb7c0f352.html

IMAGE: Marco Rubio en.wikipedia.org

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