Cuba: Lessons from the Past
With longtime Cuban leader Fidel Castro ailing and fading from the political arena, President George W. Bush recently outlined a series of measures to bring democracy to Cuba. Yet, how did former Presidents Clinton, Bush, Reagan and Carter deal with the Cuban government during the height of the Cold War and after? Did these Republican and Democratic administrations engage Fidel Castro? And how did those decisions affect current U.S. policy toward Cuba?
On November 14, the Brookings Institution hosted five former Chiefs of Mission of the United States Interests Section in Havana for a discussion on the U.S.-Cuba relationship. They provided their insights into the personalities and styles of Cuba’s past and present leadership and their relationships with Cuba’s opposition.
Brookings Visiting Fellow Vicki Huddleston, who served as Chief of Mission from 1999 to 2002, moderated the discussion.
Senior Fellow and Director, Cuba Program, Center for International Policy; Chief of Mission of USINT, 1979-1982
Research Associate, Fairbank Center for East Asian Research at Harvard University; Chief of Mission of USINT, 1987-1990
Former U.S. Ambassador to Honduras; Chief of Mission of USINT, 1982-1985
Former U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador; Chief of Mission of USINT, 1990-1993
“The 21st century has revalued these small geographies. That’s what the 21st century demands,” Katz said, noting that these days, “[w]e aren’t innovating in isolated business parks” in the suburbs.