Foreign Policy Blogs

Cuba and the U.S.

NYC says 'si' to Cuba

NYC says 'si' to Cuba

According to US Census data, Miami is home to the largest Cuban community outside of the island nation; the New York metropolitan area is in second place, with a population of over 141,000 Cubans. So New York City’s embrace of Cuban culture is no surprise, but the city’s ability to put on the upcoming “¡Sí […]

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Notes on the State of the Union

Notes on the State of the Union

The President’s annual State of the Union Address traditionally focuses largely on domestic issues, and this year’s was no exception. But every speech the Executive gives is carefully crafted to touch upon a wide range of issues and, to some extent, to gracefully address contentious issues that are the source of party divisions. Although Cuba […]

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Not very far in the right direction

Not very far in the right direction

I had the privilege on Friday of attending a Pacific Council on International Policy luncheon discussion with US Deputy Secretary of State James B. Steinberg, a thoughtful and intelligent State Department appointee who holds the position of Hillary Clinton’s top deputy. In the discussion a guest asked the Deputy Secretary an interesting question: why did […]

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Communication is a two-way street

Communication is a two-way street

Even as Washington refrains from commenting substantively on recent developments in Cuba, Fidel Castro continues to provide timely reflections on occurrences in the United States (not to mention internationally), underscoring his persisting importance as a public figure. The juxtaposition is striking: the open, transparent, democratic administration of the United States sneakily avoids the topic of […]

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Cuba Year in Review

Cuba Year in Review

Overview 2010 was a year of ups and downs on the island, and in the US-Cuba relationship. Cuba watchers held their breath when US and Cuban officials met for discussions on migration and direct mail service, and when the two countries cooperated in the Haiti disaster relief effort. We began the year in a rush of optimistic […]

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What will happen next April (and what will not)

What will happen next April (and what will not)

Cuban President Raúl Castro has called the sixth-ever Communist Party congress—the first in thirteen years—to be held this coming April 2011 (when it will coincide with the anniversary of the battle of the Bay of Pigs, a complementary source of Cuban patriotism). So what can we expect from this congress? And what should we not […]

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Things that should make everyone happy

Things that should make everyone happy

The greatest challenge to affecting change in current U.S. policies toward Cuba, of course, is the fractious political environment and correspondingly disparate views (both in the public and within government) on what should be done. Nearly everyone seems to agree on a key point about Cuba policy: the embargo and related travel ban have not […]

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Midterms and a changing face of Congress

Midterms and a changing face of Congress

The November 2 midterm elections resulted in a new balance of power in Congress, most notably in the House of Representatives—now a Republican majority house. Domestic implications aside, the shift in power will have a significant effect on foreign policy initiatives, not least of which (for our purposes) is Cuba policy. First of all, the […]

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Back to work – me and you

Back to work – me and you

After a considerable hiatus, I’m pleased to re-welcome you to the Cuba blog. We have lots of catching up to do, so let’s hop right to it. If you’re wondering what’s happened between Washington and Havana in the meantime, catch up with Anya Landau French on the Havana Note: Obama Fumbles on Cuba. You guessed […]

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Hopey changey stuff

Hopey changey stuff

There’s a lot going on lately, and a fair number of calls to the Obama administration to take note and react to all of it. Nothing from Washington yet. First, the Cuban Labor Federation came right out and announced that 1 million public sector jobs were set to be eliminated, half of these by next […]

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Return, regret, reinvent

Return, regret, reinvent

In recent days and weeks Fidel Castro has reappeared everywhere in Cuba—on television, on the radio, in the news—but he has made it, too, into international exchanges again. Ever the clever statesman, he is proving once more that he knows what to say and when to say it to participate in the most relevant international […]

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On Socialism: A Personal Note

On Socialism: A Personal Note

A few weeks ago, on an any-day sort of day, my grandmother came home to her Los Angeles bungalow and sorted her mail, tossing junk and sorting bills, when she came upon a statement from her bank. The notice she pulled from the envelope indicated that the balance of her 401k, a fund to which […]

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Rumor of the day

Rumor of the day

Whispers abound, as do headlines: Obama may ease US travel to Cuba even if Congress won’t act. The separate powers of the Executive and Congress prevent President Obama from acting solo on a number of issues, but educational travel to Cuba is not one of them. The Executive does not need congressional approval to ease […]

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When Fidel does not applaud

When Fidel does not applaud

So Fidel did, in the end, appear and speak before the Cuban National Assembly—just in a separate meeting from that of his brother Raúl (though the current President Castro joined this meeting as well to hear Fidel speak). In his 12-minute speech on Saturday, Fidel repeated his recent warnings that tensions between the United States […]

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Castro and Castro: who's in charge?

Castro and Castro: who's in charge?

The Washington Post yesterday and a few other sources pointed out that, interestingly, Fidel Castro has not appeared publicly alongside his brother Raúl since he stepped down from the presidency four years ago. And so the seed was planted, and everything begins to look like evidence. Raúl’s recent agreements to release Cuban prisoners and Fidel’s […]

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