Distrust may stay after Obama’s Cuba visit

Source:Global Times Published: 2016-3-21 0:48:01

US President Barack Obama started his first state visit to Cuba this Sunday. This is a historic visit that will surely make a lasting impression on US-Cuban history and enrich Obama's legacy in foreign affairs. Eight years ago, when Obama took the highest office in the land, the antagonism between the US and Cuba seemed perpetual. But as his term comes to an end, not only have the two countries thawed their long-standing tensions, but the Cubans have rolled out the red carpet for a sitting US president. This dramatic change bears historic significance for all of the Americas.

With Obama's visit, Cuba and the US are embracing full contact. But Washington has an asymmetrical advantage in terms of political influence over Cuba, and it could be a new threat to bilateral ties. Cuba will probably face a lot of tests after it opens to the US: It is near the US, much smaller in size, and will have to deal with a great number of Cuban dissidents living in the US.

Although faced with many challenges, Havana has shown extraordinary courage and determination in opening up to the Western world and initiating domestic reform.

The posture Washington assumes to Havana in the future will be essential to Cuba and their bilateral relations. In the US, there are still political cliques trying to overturn the Cuban government. If the White House turns a blind eye to or even submits to them, Obama's legacy will be abandoned by his successor, and Washington will resume its hawkish attitude toward Havana.

As for Cuba, it has to meet a new challenge to strike a balance between how to improve Cuban-US cooperation and how to prevent Washington's possible attempt to foment a "color revolution."

Given its geographic situation, it is a miracle that in the past 50 years, Cuba has survived US sanctions and military threats.

Havana's wisdom can ensure the country's political stability amid more interactions with the US.

Cuba should take the initiative and nail down a few norms with the US. Since Havana is no longer a thorn in Washington's eye, the US should accept a friendly but independent Cuba. If both sides are engaged in conflicts some time, Havana should stick to its principles and defend its legitimate interests based on reason.

The US has wiggle room to compromise, as it used to do when dealing with Latin American leftists like Hugo Chavez.

Economic growth does not necessarily offer solutions to political conundrums. But state issues can only be resolved while the country is improving and embracing the world. There is not a second road. We wish Cuba a safe journey on this road.

Posted in: Editorial

blog comments powered by Disqus