Will the Pope's visit affect how two countries deal with each other?
January 28, 1998
in this forum:
Will the Pope's visit amount to any significant change in either U.S. policy or political and religious freedoms within Cuba? What will happen if Castro opens Cuba up to the West? How does the U.S. hope to overcome the bitterness between the two countries? Is there any way to allow medicine into Cuba without changing the political goals of the embargo?
November 24, 1997:
The life and times of Cuban-American exile Jorge Mas Canosa.
October 16, 1997:
Thirty-five years later, the Cuban Missile Crisis is viewed as one of the "hottest" moments of the Cold War.
July 11, 1997:
The fight over the Helms-Burton Act and the embargo on Cuba.
March 5, 1997:
Sec. of State Warren Christopher discusses U.S. foreign policy regarding Cuba
Browse The NewsHour's Latin America Index.
Rick Keeling at Osan AB, Korea, asks:
The U.S. has pursued a successful policy of engagement with most communist nations including China with the hope that relations will both moderate radical governments and educate those governments and their people in the benefits of capitalism and, ultimately, democratic rule. Why has this policy been abandoned in our own backyard?
Riordan Roett, director of Latin American studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, answers:
As mentioned before, the policy of the U.S. towards Cuba is the captive of a small ideological minority of exiles from Cuba or Cuban-Americans who are fighting for their own agenda not that of the U.S. Embargos are basically political although they have serious economic and financial consequences. It makes no sense for the U.S. to maintain an embargo that basically impoverishes the Cuban people.
I am sure Castro and the leadership of the Communist Party eat very well each night; the average Cuban does not. IF Castro is sick, he receives excellent medical attention; the average Cuban does not.
Lifting the embargo to outside goods would place severe and ultimately untenable pressure on the Castro regime to liberalize and open the economy to the world.
Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart, (R-Florida), answers:
"Engagement" with China has not succeeded in 'moderating" the conduct of that regime toward dissidents and any others who oppose the regime.
Also, it is important to keep in mind that Cuba is in the Western Hemisphere, not 10,000 miles away. The entire western hemisphere is democratic except Cuba. Why should Cuba be an exception? It is unethical to simply accept the continuation of a ruthless stalinist dictatorship oppressing 11million people 90 miles from the shores of the U.S.
The much-more-relevant analogy to Cuba was Haiti. What did we do there when a 3 year old dictatorship refused to return sovereignty to the people? We got the international community to impose sanctions and did everything else that was necessary to get rid of the dictatorship.
Cuban Ambassador Fernando Remirec answers:
I think that is a question to ask the U.S. government and the Congress. They are the ones who have designed and implemented the U.S. policy toward Havana for more than 39 years.
I can tell you that Cuba has always been -and still is- ready to discuss all differences that exist between the two government, but without any conditions whatsoever. We want strict respect for our independence, our sovereignty and self-determination. These are the principles ruling international relations among all nations of the world which Cuba has practiced at length in its relations with the rest of the international community.