Cuba Doesn’t Deserve Normal Diplomatic Relations

Monday, October 13, 2014
By renowned Cuban author and intellectual, Carlos Alberto Montaner, in The New York Times:

Cuba Doesn’t Deserve Normal Diplomatic Relations

The United States should not normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba for several reasons.

First, the Cuban government has been officially declared “a state sponsor of terrorism" by the State Department. It's inconceivable to oppose the terrorists in the Middle East while treating them normally in the United States' neighborhood.

There's also a bipartisan consensus in Washington against the Castro regime. All three Cuban-American senators and four Cuban-American representatives, Democrats and Republican, agree that sanctions should be maintained. They are the best interpreters of the opinion of the almost three million Cubans and descendants of Cubans living in the United States.

Cuba systematically engages in undermining the interests of the United States. It is an ally of Iran, North Korea (to whom it furnishes war matériel), Russia, Syria, the FARC terrorists in Colombia and Venezuela. The F.B.I. recently warned that Cuban intelligence is trying to recruit people in the academic world as agents of influence. It once infiltrated them into the Pentagon and the State Department; today, they are in prison.

The Cuba dictatorship continues to violate human rights and shows no intention to make amends. The small economic changes it has made are directed at strengthening the regime. Why reward that behavior? During the entire 20th century, the U.S. was (rightfully) reproached for maintaining normal relations with right-wing dictatorships. For the first time, the U.S. maintains a morally consistent position in Latin America and should not sacrifice it.

A reversal of policy would be a cruel blow against the Cuban democrats and dissidents who view the United States as their only dependable ally in the world. Normalizing relations would be the proof needed by the Stalinists in the Cuban government to demonstrate that they don't have to make any political changes to be accepted. Not to mention a premature reconciliation without substantial changes would also be a harsh blow to the reformists in the Cuban government who are pressuring toward a democratic opening.