Historic US-Cuba detente welcomed in region

"New chapter" between the U.S. and Cuba is closely monitored by the countries of the region, and experts argue an open relationship will help to solve human rights issues in Cuba and contribute economically to the region.

Historic US-Cuba detente welcomed in region

World Bulletin/News Desk

A historic tie-mending deal between the U.S. and Cuba has received mixed reactions from both within the two nations and the world while many experts agree in the view that this could be a fresh start for Washington in its relations with the Latin American countries.

The over 50 years of U.S. isolation of Cuba came to an end this week when the two countries agreed to swap prisoners and promised to normalize diplomatic relations with the first-ever official U.S. visit in Cuba planned in mid-January 2015.

While the move took the world by surprise, it is also welcomed in the countries of the region. Cuba's closest ally and a fierce critic of the U.S., Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has called Barack Obama "brave" for steps towards "a new chapter" whereas Bolivian President Evo Morales argued that "unbowed resistance to the empire gave result."

"The new chapter fundamentally changes U.S. position in the western hemisphere," said Marc Hanson, a senior associate at the policy research center Washington Office on Latin America. "For a very long time, neighboring allies in the region like Mexico told the U.S. to have better relations with Cuba, and work constructively. And now the new chapter will unlock lots of potential in Cuba." 

'New Chapter”

Despite the positive reaction favoring the detente, the U.S. is also highly criticized to re-start ties with a country with its "bad human rights issues" as President Obama has admitted it: "This is still a regime that oppresses its people."

Many argue that an open relationship with Cuba, along with the U.S. allies in the region, will help to solve the country's "human rights issues." 

Josh Earnest, White House press secretary said: "Cuba will no longer be a distraction, and that our partners and allies in the Western Hemisphere who’ve previously come to us complaining about our policy toward Cuba can now spend more time talking to us about the Cuba government’s policy toward its own people."

Sebastian Arcos, an associate director from Cuban Research Institute in Florida International University, said: "In return, the U.S. will not be able to convince Latin American nations to pressure Cuba to improve its human rights record, and it will only improve marginally -- if at all -- the traditional perception of the U.S. in the region."

"Cuba has always used the excuse of the U.S. embargo and restrictions to crack down on dissidents," said Marselha Goncalves Margerin, advocacy director for the Americas at Amnesty International USA. 

"Once this is removed, we do hope this will generate human rights changes." 

Dr Erik Camayd-Freixas, professor of Hispanic Studies in Florida International University said: "Normalizing relations with Cuba signals the first step in a new era of engagement and cooperating with Latin America. By the same token, the impending removal of Cuba from the U.S. State Department’s outdated list of 'terrorism and sponsoring states' and Cuba’s future inclusion in the organization of American States will contribute to a more equitable economic integration of the region than the US-dominated 'free trade agreements' and 'neo-liberal' policies of the last 25 years." 

Camayd-Freixas said the "new chapter" with Cuba will be perhaps remembered as President Obama's legacy in the U.S. foreign policy as a "game changer" move.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 22 Aralık 2014, 15:34