Saturday, January 11, 2014

How the U.S. Isn't Drifting from Cuba

At various times I get various bugs in my ear and for a while I keep blogging about them. My current thing is that, in my opinion, conventional wisdom seems to be coalescing around the idea that there a dangerous drift in U.S.-Latin American relations. My own take is that they ignore policy on the ground and privilege airy pronouncement.

Case in point, Cuba. The U.S. disagrees with Latin America on this issue, which leads to the assumption that there is drift. In fact, the U.S. and Cuban governments have gradually moved closer on issues that are critically important but not headline-grabbing. Like immigration.

From the State Department:

On Thursday, January 9, U.S. and Cuban officials met in Havana to discuss the implementation of the 1994 and 1995 U.S.-Cuba Migration Accords. This marks the second time since January 2011 that these talks have been held. Under the Accords, both governments pledge to promote safe, legal, and orderly migration between Cuba and the United States. The agenda for the talks reflected longstanding U.S. priorities on Cuba-U.S. migration issues, as well as cooperation on aviation security, search and rescue, and consular document fraud. The U.S. delegation highlighted areas of successful cooperation in migration, exchanging information on the interdiction of undocumented migrants, and clarifying aspects of Cuba’s recent changes in migration policy.

This is engagement, which is the opposite of drift. Yes, the embargo laws are in still in place. And yes, they are counter-pruductive and ridiculous. But there are meaningful discussions going on that will lead to policy. Latin American leaders are aware of that as well. Not everything is viewed through a prism of grand strategy.


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