A Good Moment for an Opening

The reprisal of diplomatic relationships between the United States and Cuba comes at a good time. This is an ideal opportunity for the U.S. foreign policy to close the Cuba chapter in the discarded Cold War book.

The fact that President Barack Obama does not face reelection has had a liberating effect in taking difficult decisions —as leaders are expected to do— without fearing the kinds of electoral repercussions often intimidating for politicians.

This is also a good time to establish an official U.S. presence in Cuba in order to closely follow the political developments. The brothers Castro’s old age and some measures taken by Raúl suggest significant transition times.

While the future will be guided by Cubans in the island, the U.S. can’t stay out of the process. For example, this is the opportunity to regain markets, given the European economical vulnerability.

On the other hand, we don’t agree that this opening represents a weakness in U.S. foreign policy. The arrogance and confrontational style of the George W. Bush administration caused much more damage to the U.S.’ image abroad.

The Obama administration’s pragmatic strategy has more possibilities of success in influencing reforms in Cuba than the continuation of the embargo. The United States has a long history of relationships with authoritarian regimes. There’s no reason why Cuba, with their own circumstances, should be an exception.

Finally, this is only the beginning of the relationship for the U.S. and Cuba. The beginning of a rocky road that will have its steps forwards and backwards, after a relation marked by mistrust.

It’s better to lead and take risks with this opening than to clinging onto a past that didn’t go anywhere. If this is not the time, when is?

Republicans will have another excuse to throw a tantrum, as with Obamacare and the executive action on immigration. They will show arrogant indignation, without offering any real options