The following is an extract from a forthcoming report by the Brookings “U.S. Policy Toward a Cuba in Transition” project . The roadmap was released on February 26 at a Brookings event in Miami, FL.
Under the auspices of the Brookings Institution’s project “U.S. Policy toward a Cuba in Transition,” nineteen distinguished academics, opinion leaders, and diplomats committed themselves to seeking ways to improve our policy so that it would better serve the interests of our country, the Cuban people, and the Hemisphere. Together, over the past eighteen months, we have carried out simulations and discussions on the complex realities of the United States and Cuba. Although we all come from different backgrounds and political orientations, we arrived at the same conclusion.
The goal of U.S. policy toward Cuba should be to support the emergence of a Cuban state where the Cuban people determine the political and economic future of their country through democratic means. A great lesson of democracy is that it cannot be imposed; it must come from within. Our policy should encompass the political, economic and diplomatic tools that are needed to help the Cuban people find the political space that is essential to engage in and direct the politics of their country.
My biggest concern is that Washington is signaling to Russia that it’s OK to meddle in the politics of sovereign nations which are your neighbors. Meddling is going on from Paris to Ukraine, from east to west and north to south, within Europe and at its borders, and always with the intent of undermining the credibility and effectiveness of democratic institutions. And it is being either denied or downplayed.