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GeorgeGee's avatar

What is the REAL reason the US isn't talking to Cuba?

Asked by GeorgeGee (4920points) September 28th, 2010

It can’t be because they’re communist, because we happily suck up to the Chinese. It can’t be because it’s a “totalitarian regime,” since we suck up to Saudi Arabia. Surely it’s not because they produce cigars, rum and great Caribbean jazz?

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17 Answers

Lve's avatar

I think there is not much incentive for the US to change the current status-quo. Especially when looking at this issue from a cost/benefit perspective. What would the US gain by talking to Cuba, compared to what it might cost? Since the US-Cuba relationship is historically a salient subject, a politician might just end up shooting himself in the foot when trying to change current policy, even more so on the national level. President Obama is already being called a socialist/communist/whatever, can you imagine what would happen if he met with Castro?

(I am not saying this justifies the US stance towards Cuba, but it could be a reason for the old policies to continue)

mattbrowne's avatar

It’s an outdated remnant from the cold war, especially Cuba allowing the Soviets to deploy missiles in the early sixties.

I think there is a lot of incentive for the US to change the current status quo. Especially when looking at this issue from a long-term cost/benefit perspective. This why the EU welcomed countries like Spain or Portugal or more recently Romania and Bulgaria with a huge potential for a growing middle class and economic growth in general. The ultra conservatives just don’t get it. And they keep wondering why so many Mexicans want to enter the US. Rich countries surrounded by poverty won’t be very successful long term.

Lve's avatar

@mattbrowne What exactly do you think those incentives are at the moment? Cuba is not sitting on a vast oil-reserve and in terms of expanding the US market for exports Cuba is not big and wealthy enough to have a huge effect on the US economy (assuming Cuba would even allow the US to sell them exports). Combine this with the political difficulty of addressing this issue and you have an answer.

Is the current policy hypocritical? Yes. Does it need to change? Definitely. Will it change anytime soon? I lean towards no, but hopefully it will in the near future.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Because we have a large bloc of rabid anti-Castro Cuban expatriates in Florida, one of the major swing states in every national election. And that bloc of voters itself is one of the largest swing blocs in that state, and they are determined that we should never negotiate and never trade with Cuba under its current regime.

So that tail swings the dog. Again.

I’m as anti-Castro as they are, but the difference is that I believe that trading with Cuba and allowing open movement between our countries (at least on our end) would make its remaining citizens want more than what they have, and would remove us as the bogeyman we’ve been held out to them as.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Lve – Exploiting natural resources wasn’t the incentive to allow Spain into the EU. That’s not the way Europeans think. Spain was a poor country run by a dictator. Now it’s a wealthy democracy with people buying a lot of products and services from other EU countries. I don’t see why Cuba cannot become a wealthy country in 20–30 years. The problem is American short-term thinking.

“I want my profit now.”

Lve's avatar

@mattbrowne You make valid points with regards to Spain and the turn-around it has made economically after joining the EU in the mid-eighties. I also fully agree that Cuba could become wealthy in the future. Your analogy falls short on one point though: Fidel Castro and/or his brother are still ruling Cuba, whereas Spain’s’ Franco (and his regime) died in 1975, more than 10 years before Spain joined the EU in 1986.
I personally believe the American stance toward Cuba will last as long as the Castros are in power, for precisely the reasons @CyanoticWasp mentioned above.

Seek's avatar

I’m with @CyanoticWasp. In another 30–40 years, when all the Cold War babies have passed on, we’ll probably have no problem opening to tourism. If by that point we’re still a functioning nation.

cazzie's avatar

It has everything to do with the ‘once were wealthy’ Cubans that left Cuba when they lost their property and fortunes and whined and cried at the door of the US. Now they are a very powerful lobby in Washington DC set on punishing Cuba for it’s betrayal and for turning it’s back on the fascist way of life they had been enjoying.

CMaz's avatar

Because Castro is a cold war nut job.
Better to stay away and wait for new leadership. Leadership that can understand and appreciate the great wealth that is in the future for Cuba.

Here in Florida there a corporations that have been sitting dormant ready and waiting for the day Cuba will be re-opened. It will be the new “French Riviera”.

mickhock's avatar

Could it have something to do with the embarasment caused when Castro emptied his jails in the US ?

wundayatta's avatar

It’s because Cuba is very close to us and most importantly, because the ex-pat Cubans in South Florida are a significant voting group that can swing the Florida elections.

Sorry @CyanoticWasp. I didn’t see your post until after I posted mine. You got it! As usual. :-) Although, for once I did say it shorter than you did!

JLeslie's avatar

Ditto @CyanoticWasp he has the right answer in my opinion.

As a side note, I flew into Quebec City, QC a couple of weeks ago and there was a huge ad for vacationing in Cuba by the baggage carousel. It struck me I have never seen an ad for Cuba like that. Cuban cigars for sale in the city also.

tranquilsea's avatar

@JLeslie Canadians have been vacationing in Cuba for years…and trading with them. I’ve heard Canadians say that they don’t want the U.S. to change their policy with Cuba because they’d overrun the island. They like it quiet.

JLeslie's avatar

@tranquilsea I know. Actually back in the 90’s for a few years flights were allowed from America to Cuba and vice versa. I knew a few people who went home to see family, or came here to see family. My husband’s cousins werein Cuba several months ago to get some medicine, they are Mexican. And, my exbrother-in-law goes for business, he is Italian living in Dom Rep, so I know people who go there and do business there, but living in America you never see big bold ads advertising the country.

Kind of a side story, I was a costmetics anf fragrance buyer for Bloomingdales years back, and at one point a new fragrance named Havanna was launched, I think it was Estee Lauder brands, but my memory could be wrong. Anyway, we went to the luncheon to learn about the fragrance, and this rep from NY starts telling us that when Castro was in town recently (remember this is actually years ago) he was invited to the corporate offices and met with management got to see the fragrance. She is telling this to Floridians. I went up to her afterwards and told her if she is going to be doing more training in Florida, she may want to leave off bragging about meeting Castro, maybe put a different twist on it. The girl had no clue.

mattbrowne's avatar

From what I heard the old Castro is having some second thoughts about how he ruled Cuba. Now would be an excellent opportunity for the US to start serious talks. If the majority of Cubans favor a new Cuba this opportunity should not be missed. Before Franco died he could have installed a fascist successor, but it was the majority of Spaniards who envisioned a new economically growing Spain being part of a European community. Why can’t we tell Cubans to become part of a wealthy North- and Middle American community? Again, in my opinion a United States of America surrounded by poor countries won’t remain a successful global player in the long run. Being selfish isn’t the answer.

JLeslie's avatar

@mattbrowne I had heard the same thing, that Castro has been rethinking some things. I never thought of it as being selfish. I always thought of it as punishment. Well, at first I think they had an embargo to try and squeeze Cuba so they would relent and change. Now, I think it is more akin to trying to castigate them, not give the benefit of dealing with the US, which is kind of a conceded stance.

I think you are right that this is an opportunity not to be missed.

Part of the reasons so many Cubans are Republicans are because they blame Kennedy for making some sort of deal that maintains the status quo of the country. Even if Cuba became more democratic, I wonder what exactly the Cubans in America would need to really feel better? Would they want reperations for property lost? Many from the older generation say they would go back, I dont believe that for a second, they have their lives here now, although maybe the proximity of the countries would make that easier than if they had come from a different country.

Cuba could be a long ferry ride from Miami, it could be fantastic.

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