Saturday, November 29, 2014

Why The New York Times wants America to open up to Cuba - CNN

Why The New York Times wants America to open up to Cuba - CNN
Posted By By Madalena Araujo, CNN) | Saturday, November 29, 2014 06:49:06 PM

IT IS time for the Obama Administration to improve the long-strained
relations with Cuba, Ernesto Londoño, a member of the New York Times'
editorial board, told CNN's Christiane Amanpour in an interview that
aired Thursday.

"I think we've entered a new era and I think the months ahead represent
an opportunity for the Obama Administration to take a pretty bold move
and to move this relationship in a direction that I think the president
himself has long wanted to take it."

The New York Times, arguably America's most important newspaper, has
taken a very public stand calling for the end of the decades-old
economic blockade of Cuba.

"I think reforms in Cuba and the political landscape in the United
States offer the right conditions for this relationship to move on a
healthier trajectory, for the two countries, for instance, to think
about resuming formal diplomatic relations."

Londoño joined Amanpour from the Cuban capital Havana, following a
series of editorials Cuba-focussed editorial in the paper. The more than
50-year embargo was a Cold War measure implemented by the U.S. in 1960
when Fidel Castro, a friend of the then-Soviet Union, came to power.

Londoño said the paper had always seen the policy, which restricts
travel and bans trade, "as a failed policy."

"The purpose of the policy we've pursued for 50 years, the purpose has
been to try to undermine and bring about democratic change in Cuba
through punitive measures. We have five decades of evidence that that
policy does not work."

So how would the U.S. benefit from changing its attitude towards Cuba
apart from, if ultimately successful, bringing about democratic change?

"There's a number of things," Londoño said. "Perhaps most importantly
the United States has found itself diplomatically very isolated in the
hemisphere. Cuba keeps coming up in any number of issues that they want
to engage on with countries such as Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, Central

"Every time there's a diplomatic forum, every time there's a regional
effort underway, a lot of these - a lot of these countries are telling
the United States we disagree vehemently with your policy in Cuba and
Cuba becomes the thorn that stymies many things the U.S. would like to
try to do."

The journalist told Amanpour that "the Cuban government has undertaken a
number of really significant economic reforms. There is a small and
limited private sector that is cropping up."

"And for the first time in a very long time, it's given Cubans an
opportunity to start building livelihoods that are somewhat separate
from the state, where the state does not have absolute control over
their livelihoods."

Londoño, who is in Cuba for the first time in ten years writing and
researching the editorials, said he also notices a "far less vitriolic
rhetoric from the Cuban government, from the Cuban state media toward
the United States."

"We've stopped seeing the kind of demonstrations in front of the U.S.
diplomatic mission here. So I think they've sent an unmistakable signal
that they want to turn a new page." (By Madalena Araujo, CNN)


Source: Why The New York Times wants America to open up to Cuba - CNN -
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