Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Cuba and Anti-Americanism

One of the curious elements to the change in Cuba policy is the seemingly widely held idea that it would produce quick results. One example comes from Enrique Krauze, who argues that anti-Americanism* is now dead.

In re-establishing relations with Cuba, the United States renounces its “imperial destiny” and recovers much of the moral legitimacy needed to uphold the democratic values that led to its foundation (and also of the countries of Latin America). Obama’s action is meant for the good of all the Americas, including the United States. And freedom of expression in Cuba is an absolute necessity for its success. No people or country is an island unto itself. The Castro dynasty has kept Cuba as such for 56 years.

This sounds nice, but it doesn't convince me. I just don't see Cuba as the source of anti-Americanism. Yes, the response to the Cuban revolution and its influence was often loathsome, but it was always intertwined with paternalism, economic penetration, and the like. I don't think this policy change really tells us whether the U.S. has renounced its "imperial destiny," whatever that exactly is.

More importantly, anti-Americanism itself is grossly exaggerated. There is abundant evidence that Latin Americans view the United States favorably. Ending 50+ years of a failed policy will help keep that going, but it did not ignite it.


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