Cuba represents signal-sending, low-hanging geopolitical fruit with economic implications for recession-bludgeoned Florida. And yet the Obama Administration hasn’t done much more than undo some George W. Bush Administration restrictions regarding travel and remittances. In fact, the State Department, implausibly enough, recently re-upped Cuba’s status as a state sponsor of terrorism.
As a result, many continue to speculate about the Obama Administration’s conservative, incremental approach to Cuba. Is “normalization” even in the mix? The best-case rationale for the go-slow policy is that the Administration doesn’t need yet another distraction diverting attention away from its core priorities. It doesn’t need to hand Rush, Glenn, Sean & Co. ammo about “kissing up to a dictator” and backing off support for democratic reforms.
Here’s another take. The Administration, notably Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, senses that the Cuban regime is near collapse. According to Domingo Amuchastegui, a former Cuban intelligence officer who has been living in Miami since the mid-1990s, “The Obama Administration isn’t really interested in petty, back-and-forth discussions with fading Cuban leaders who have little hope of rescuing the economy and saving the revolution. …This is the real ‘new policy,’” Amuchastegui told the monthly Cuba News, “which some experts are already characterizing as ‘keeping the status quo.’”