Saturday, February 21, 2015

U.S.-Cuban-Venezuelan Relations

On the same day, the State Department issued new statements on Venezuela and Cuba. The former exhorted the government to stop imprisoning people while the latter discussed continuation of talks to re-estabish diplomatic relations.

It could be entirely coincidence that they came on the same day but in a way they speak to each other. Part of the point of re-establishing relations with Cuba is to have leverage, which includes discussions of human rights. The combination of no relations and the embargo had removed leverage entirely.

Further, in the Venezuela statement the Obama administration called explicitly for other international actors--especially meaning Latin American--to speak up about abuses. Ending the diplomatic freeze with Cuba provides at least a bit more space for Obama/Kerry to coax Latin American leaders to speak up. The Cuba issue had eroded U.S. credibility and posed an obstacle for potentially like-minded governments to stand with U.S. policy.


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