From a newly released State Department cable on a meeting with former Brazilian President Lula da Silva's foreign policy advisor, Marco Aurelio Garcia (who holds the same position for current Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff):
(C) Turning to Cuba, Garcia noted that his deputy advisor, Marcel Biato, had just returned from five months as Brazil's charge d'affaires in Havana, and his views were incorporated in Garcia's perspective. Garcia said the GOB believes it is highly unlikely Fidel Castro will ever return to exercise real power. The waning of Fidel over the past year had caused the Cuban population to begin contemplating a different future, but everyone has difficulty imagining what that future will look like, Garcia said. Cuba, in the past forty years, had a system built on a single charismatic figure, and that is not sustainable. Raul Castro is not his brother and seems more inclined to take a committee approach to leadership that is pragmatic, at least on economic issues. Garcia was doubtful Cuba can replicate the "China model" with economic opening but continued centralized political control. "China is a civilization, Cuba is not... they do not have the patience, resources or organization" to emulate China's approach," he opined. Moreover, Cuba today lacks an "economic vocation," and has not been able to place its tourism industry, its medical capacity or its bare handful of other productive sectors into a strategy for productivity or increased self reliance. Brazil wants to help, and is offering to provide both assistance and markets for Cuba, but the Cubans have to define a direction for themselves, Garcia said.
Naturally, it's concerning that Brazil's government is still trying to help Castro incorporate the "China model" of economic opening/political control -- despite knowing it is unfeasible in Cuba.
We can almost expect that from Brazil's government, which stood complicitly with Castro during the tragic death of Cuban political prisoner, Orlando Zapata Tamayo.
But why is the Obama Administration helping Castro do the same with its recent policy announcement?
The Cuban people deserve nothing less than the same political freedoms as every other country in the Western Hemisphere (perhaps with the exception of Venezuela, of course).
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