Monday, July 08, 2013

Raul Castro and Snowden

Given predictions that Edward Snowden would be a hero in Latin America, or that the Bolivia plane incident would cause huge hemispheric changes, it is interesting to read about what seems to be a very cautious statement from Raúl Castro:

"We support the sovereign right of …. Venezuela and all states in the region to grant asylum to those persecuted for their ideals or their struggles for democratic rights," Castro said in a speech to Cuba's national assembly.

There is no offer of asylum (yet, anyway, but this would've been the time to make one). The most obvious reason is that for the talk about Latin American leftists wanting to poke the U.S. in the eye, governments are very pragmatic. Castro knows he has far more to lose than gain. To be fair, I think the same is true of Maduro but he did it anyway.

Read the short statement from the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the plane--it is measured and non-inflammatory. Mexico's was far more angry. In other words, none of this is pushing Raúl Castro away from the gradual thaw of relations that Raúl Castro has been pursuing. Cuba has suffered more than any other Latin American country from U.S. intelligence, but sometimes other interests are paramount.


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