For more than five decades the United States has maintained comprehensive economic sanctions against Cuba, a remarkably enduring policy that a legion of thought leaders now agree hasn’t produced the desired results and is only making it harder to help the Cuban people move forward. The latest voice to join that chorus is former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who reveals in her new memoirs that she recommended to President Obama that he “take another look at” the 52 year old Cuban embargo.

Clinton’s narrative highlights the key flaw in our rigid approach. Her book offers a good example of what it takes to make progress in diplomacy. Heading into the 2009 Summit of the Americas, Clinton was confronted by a coalition led by Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela, which fought to pass a resolution in the Organization of American States to allow Cuba to actively participate in the organization, from which it had been suspended since 1962.

While it would have violated the organization’s principles of limiting membership to representative democracies, the resolution looked likely to pass, potentially disrupting the upcoming summit and handing the United States a significant political defeat. An unyielding U.S. position was doomed to fail, and the secretary recognized as much, so she found a third way. Through good old-fashioned diplomacy, she gained enough allies to alter the resolution so that it would allow the suspension of Cuban participation to be lifted, but only when it met a number of democracy-related criteria – to be negotiated – and Cuba would have to petition to regain its seat. The compromise quickly gained wide backing, allowing other nations to vote for lifting the suspension, but without ignoring the restrictions on political freedom on the island. The government in Havana rebuffed it almost immediately...


Recent Articles

Date Title
7/28/14 Cuba Celebrates 61st Anniversary Of Castro's Revolution With Call For Unity
AP, Fox News Latino
7/23/14 Chinese president backs Cuba's economic reforms
7/22/14 Cuba, the United States and Human Trafficking
Salim Lamrani, The Huffington Post
7/22/14 No Protests on the Streets of Cuba
Yoani Sanchez, The Huffington Post
7/18/14 Inspector general probing US ‘Cuban Twitter’ plan
AP
7/18/14 U.S. hijacker of jet to Cuba in 1984 is sentenced to 20 years in Miami federal court
Jay Weaver, The Miami Herald
7/16/14 Current Record
7/16/14 Putin in Havana, America at the Movies
Sarah Stephens, The Huffington Post
7/16/14 Cuba Agrees to Return Lourdes Intelligence Center to Russia
RIA Novosti
7/15/14 US slams Cuba dissident arrests as 'intimidation tactic'
AFP
7/14/14 Clash intensifies over travel to Cuba
William E. Gibson, Sun Sentinel
7/14/14 Putin hails Cuba's "strategic" importance for Russia
EFE
7/11/14 US, Cuba hold migration talks in Washington
AP, Miami Herald
7/8/14 Sen. Robert Menendez seeks probe of alleged Cuban plot to smear him
Carol D. Leonnig and Manuel Roig-Franzia, The Washington Post
7/8/14 Cuba prosecutes Canadian after he denounced corruption - company
Daniel Trotta, Reuters
7/8/14 U.S. in sanctions talks with Commerzbank and Deutsche-source
Thomas Atkins and Alexander Hübner, Reuters
7/8/14 Audit finds low morale at Office of Cuba Broadcasting
Michael Doyle, The Miami Herald
7/7/14 Democrats' Florida push calls for US shift on Cuba
Michael Mishak, The Miami Herald
7/7/14 Raul Castro: Economic changes must be gradual
AP, Washington Post
7/7/14 Cuba mulls economy, graft in parliament session
AP, The Washington Post
7/2/14 Two South Florida women detained in Havana
Juan Tamayo, El Nuevo Herald
7/2/14 Google exec says Cuban internet is old and censored
Juan Tamayo, El Nuevo Herald