USA*Engage calls for “new playbook” for Cuba policy in the post-Fidel era

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Today, USA*Engage director Jake Colvin released the following statement in response to the announcement that Raul Castro has been nominated to be the new president of Cuba

“For nearly 50 years, the U.S. has been too hung up on Fidel Castro to allow for any realistic assessment of our policies.  Now that Fidel is no longer at the helm, it is time to get over the Cold War and get serious about an approach to Cuba that aligns our policies with our interests. 

“Our Cold War strategy of isolating Cuba has failed to evolve and is at odds with America’s political and economic engagement of countries like Vietnam and China.  Americans are incredible ambassadors of freedom and opportunity to the world.  U.S. policies should facilitate contact with the Cuban people instead of prohibiting it at every turn.

“Unilateral sanctions rarely achieve their objectives.  In the case of Cuba, sanctions have flat out failed for close to 50 years.  They divert resources from fighting terrorism, hurt American businesses, and separate the American and Cuban people.  Cuba is a natural market for American companies, and the business community wants to see change.

“While Washington is officially resigned to take a wait-and-see approach, today’s announcement should prompt a dispassionate look at how to treat Cuba in the post-Fidel era.  Instead of maintaining this outdated Cold War facade, the president and his potential successors should give serious thought to a new playbook for Cuba policy.”

USA*Engage (www.usaengage.org) is a business coalition working to promote the benefits of U.S. engagement abroad. Organized under the National Foreign Trade Council (www.nftc.org), USA*Engage leads a campaign to inform policy-makers, opinion-leaders, and the public about the counterproductive nature of unilateral sanctions, the importance of exports and overseas investment for American competitiveness and jobs, and the role of American companies in promoting human rights and democracy world wide.