Feelings of anticipation and a sense of foreboding are both attending Cuba and the United States’s progress on plans to re-establish full diplomatic relations. The negotiations, which started in mid-2013, were announced publicly on Dec. 17, 2014, when the three remaining “Cuban 5” were released in exchange for USAID subcontractor Alan Gross and a still unidentified U.S. spy.
The official re-establishment of relations is slated for Monday, according to an exchange of letters between Cuban President Raul Castro and U.S. President Barack Obama.
Speaking from the White House earlier this month, Obama said: “The progress that we mark today is yet another demonstration that we don’t have to be imprisoned by the past. When something isn’t working, we can — and will — change.”
Meanwhile, in his letter to Obama, Raul wrote: “Cuba is encouraged by the reciprocal intention to develop respectful and cooperative relations between our two peoples and governments.”
A statement issued by the Revolutionary Government of Cuba on July 8 insists that diplomatic relations with the U.S. will be realized through the reaffirmation of “each and every one of the principles for which our people have shed their blood and run every risk under the leadership of the historical Leader of the Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz.”
In addition to the U.S. returning the Guantanamo Bay naval base to Cuba and ending the blockade, the normalization of relations, according to the statement, will also depend upon Obama’s willingness to end subversive and destabilization programs, as well as compensate the Cuban population “for all the human and economic damages caused by United States policies.”
On July 11, Josefina Vidal, the head of Cuba’s foreign affairs ministry, was quoted in CubaDebate as saying the Interests Sections in both countries will be upgraded to embassy status. She also differentiated between phases in the negotiation process: Monday, according to Vidal, will signal the termination of the first phase of the process; the second phase has been termed “the process towards normalization of relations.”
This normalization of relations, Vidal said, “will take time because we will be addressing very complex issues that have accumulated over five decades and these have to be solved in order to say that relations between Cuba and the U.S. have been reinstated.”
A path toward new forms of colonial dominance?
On the surface these diplomatic talks may appear to be a positive step, but the U.S. is pursuing ways to impose new forms of colonial dominance on the island nation.
Last month, CubaDebate, a news website run by journalists opposed to terrorism against the island, reported that the U.S. State and Foreign Operations Bill for 2016 will allocate $30 million to promoting democracy and strengthening civil society in Cuba. Focusing specifically on the Internet and broadcasting arenas, the bill allocates $28,130,000 to the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB) Radio and TV Marti. Funding for these entities, created in the 1980s as part of U.S. efforts to fight communism and attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro, suggests that the normalization of relations with Cuba is likely to become a subtle path toward destabilizing the Cuban Revolution by diplomatic means, while at the same time reinforcing U.S. support for Cuban dissidents in Florida, some of whom have been involved in terror attacks against the island.
While the Revolutionary Government of Cuba’s statement insists that the renewal of diplomatic relations “should be based upon the absolute respect for our independence and sovereignty,” the U.S. remains steadfast in its refusal to relent upon its international law violations with regard to Cuba. And, as the 2016 appropriations bill suggests, the U.S. still intends to embark upon subversive actions in Cuba under the auspices of democracy.
In an interview with El Diario, former Cuban 5 agent Fernando Gonzalez spoke about his reservations regarding the normalization of relations with the U.S. Gonzalez, one of the three agents released during the prisoner swap in December, stated that the process is lacking various components to be declared satisfactory and complete. Cuba, he argued, is still in need of international solidarity.
“Although the circumstances are different, the U.S. government continues to push forth for the dismantling of the Cuban Revolution, but by other means,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez mentions the U.S. government using technology and tourism as tools to instigate subversion and distort Cuba’s reality and revolution. At the same time, Gonzalez states, “I think that the United States have realized that they have not managed to find a way to defeat the Cuban Revolution.”
Given Cuba’s peaceful agenda, the normalization of relations could be hailed as a positive move. However, given the U.S. history of intervention under the guise of democracy, doubts persist which, at least rhetorically, seem to put the Cuban population on alert. As Gonzalez stated: “We know that they will continue to try to undermine the revolution in other ways, but we are ready.”