Articles by Jaime Suchlicki
Raul is no Gorbachev or Deng Xiaoping and no friend of the United States, presiding over the worst periods of political repression and economic centralization in Cuba. Raul has been a loyal follower and cheerleader of Fidel’s anti-American policies and … Continue reading
It is ironic that the U.S. victory in forcing Soviet land based missiles out of Cuba in 1962, will now be reversed with Russian nuclear submarines in Cuban waters. Continue reading
Over the past decades millions of Canadian, European and Latin American tourists have visited the island. Cuba is not more democratic today. If anything, Cuba is more totalitarian, with the state and its control apparatus having been strengthened as a result of the influx of tourist dollars. The travel ban and the embargo should be lifted as a result of negotiations between the U.S. and a Cuban government willing to provide meaningful and irreversible political and economic concessions or when there is a democratic government in place in the island. Continue reading
Russian/Iranian actions in Syria represent a major gamble based on the perception of American weakness. An initial strong and swift response now will prevent the need for a riskier response in the future. Continue reading
The Castro regime is re-asserting its close relationship with and allegiance to Cuba’s old allies, Russia, Iran and Venezuela. Agreements between Castro and Putin call for more visits by Russian navy and air force to Cuba. Raul Castro continues to support Iran’s nuclear ambitions as well as to maintain his commitment to the survival of the Maduro regime in Venezuela. Continue reading
Tehran’s and Havana’s shared interest in Venezuela is another source of potential concern to the West. Of strategic significance is the possibility that Iranian scientists are enriching uranium in Venezuela for shipment to Iran. Venezuelan sources have confirmed this possibility. Foreign intelligence services consulted by the author acknowledged these rumors but are unable to confirm them. If confirmed, these actions would violate UN sanctions as well as U.S. security measures. Continue reading
In an attempt to obtain unilateral concession from the U.S., General Raul Castro’s regime has toned down some of the violent anti-U.S. propaganda of older brother Fidel. Yet, his commitments to and interrelationships with anti-American terrorist groups have not disappeared.
All Cuban workers in the tourist industry or any industry that comes into contact with foreigners are carefully screened and selected by the government. Lighter skin workers and those loyal to the revolution are picked for hotel, resorts, and other tourist destinations.
President Obama faces strong opposition in Congress to any unilateral concessions to the Castro brothers. A unified and powerful coalition of Republican and Democrat legislators will thwart his attempt to give too much and get little from the Castros.
Foreign investors cannot hire, fire, or pay Cuban workers directly. They must go through the government employment agency which selects the workers. Investors pay the Cuban government in dollars or euros and the government, in turn, pays the workers a meager 10% in Cuban pesos. Corruption is pervasive, undermining equity and respect for the rule of law.
The United States’ strategy toward Cuba is the same it employed in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Cuba is an enemy state; it supports terrorism, traffics in humans disguised as humanitarian programs that send reluctant doctors, nurses and workers overseas.
Like Eastern European economies under communism, Cuba’s economic disaster has to do with the system, not U.S. policy. Ending the embargo unilaterally will do little to change the Castro brothers’ anti-Americanism and their support for Venezuela, Iran, Russia, and for terrorist groups throughout the world.
The views toward Cuba of many in the U.S. policy establishment have been influenced by a variety of assumptions. First and foremost, there is the strong belief that economic considerations could influence Cuban policy decisions and that an economically deteriorating situation would force the Castro brothers to move Cuba toward a market economy and eventually toward political reforms.
While one may argue that factors such as Iran’s limited military capabilities and sheer distance diminish any conventional concerns, one should expect that Tehran, in case of a U.S.-Iran conflict would launch an asymmetrical offensive against the U.S. and its European allies through surrogate terrorist states and paramilitary organizations, where Cuban intelligence would become an invaluable asset to Tehran.
Cuba’s suspension of consular services in the U.S. may have little to do with finances and much to do with Gen. Raul Castro’s interest in slowing down visits by Cuban-Americans to the island.
In his November 18 speech at the Organization of American States, Secretary John Kerry failed to make a compelling case for keeping U.S. sanctions on Cuba. While correctly pointing out that the Monroe Doctrine is no longer valid, Secretary Kerry insisted that “people-to-people” travel, the visits by Americans under U.S. license to Cuba, is having an impact in penetrating the Communist system.
There is no evidence to support the notion that engagement with a totalitarian state will bring about its demise. Only academic ideologues and some members of Congress interested in catering to the economic needs of their state’s constituencies cling to … Continue reading
Panama’s recent capture of a North Korean vessel carrying 240 tons of weapons from Cuba, including rockets, missile systems and two MIG 21s hidden among sacks of Cuban sugar, raises numerous questions and provides few answers.
Lifting the ban for U.S. tourists to travel to Cuba would be a major concession totally out of proportion to recent changes in the island. If the U.S. were to lift the travel ban without major reforms in Cuba, there would be significant implications