Building a Common, Multilateral Policy Toward Cuba

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A Cuba Study Group whitepaper recommending a common, multilateral approach toward Cuba policy. In it, the Group outlines the benefits of a multilateral policy approach toward Cuba and ways in which nations can finding common ground while preserving their sovereignty and national interests. 


Many of the reasons as to why such a common policy is desirable were articulated at the beginning of this white paper. However, it is important to note that such a policy would actually result in the best interest of all parties involved.

There is little doubt that the small island-nation of Cuba has had an enormously disproportionate impact in hemispheric and transatlantic affairs. How the Cuban dilemma is ultimately resolved will have equally important consequences in the region and beyond. A chaotic post-Castro future would constitute a security nightmare for neighboring countries, especially the U.S. Furthermore, such outcome could condemn the future of Cuba to a fate of poverty, inequality and instability.

Conversely, a new Cuba that emerges through non-violent processes of change could indeed preserve social achievements while establishing a wealth-creating economy, providing attractive investment opportunities and serve as a model of economic development for the region.

The collective failure to develop a common policy at such a critical juncture could result in an excessively intrusive U.S. role, which might delay changes or seriously damage the legitimacy of future Cuban governments. Such outcomes would be highly detrimental to all parties, including Cuba and the United States.

If it is true that the U.S.’ policy of isolation and economic sanctions have failed to produce desired changes in Cuba, it is also true that according to the same standard, European and Latin American policies of full or constructive engagement have been equal failures.

It is fruitless to gauge the effectiveness of a Cuba policy by the actions or inactions of the Cuban regime, because no other nation, but Cuba itself, has the power to cause change. Ultimately, Cuba will change from within. The success of a Cuba policy ought to be assessed on how it helps to shape that future outcome.

Policies that eliminate abuses by the regime, that empower the Cuban people, that build a civil society and that better prepare the Cuban people for change and reconciliation, will ultimately prove to have been the most effective. Thus, a common policy today should be structured to achieve those objectives while making it easier for future Cuban leaders to opt for alternatives of constructive change.