Cuba’s transition will be shaped more by internal factors than external actors


In the wake of the new EU-Cuba deal, European Parliamentarians have urged Havana to respect human rights and Brussels confirms that the mutual deal could be cancelled if the Communist regime does not adhere to basic human rights standards. The EU claims its main objective has mostly been to try to facilitate Cuba’s democratic transition and integration in the international order.

The EU-Cuba deal was criticized as a betrayal of Cuba’s people by Frank Calzon of the Center for a Free Cuba.

Cuba’s direction in any case will be shaped more by its own transition — Raul Castro will step down as president in February — than any measures that external actors take, argues Mark Feierstein, a senior advisor at the Albright Stonebridge Group and formerly senior director for Western Hemisphere Affairs on the National Security Council.

“If economic and political reform advance under a new leader in Cuba, that would give added impetus to the process of normalizing relations,” he writes for The Hill.

A leading authority on Cuba’s transition prospects is at the center of a drama at the University of Miami’s Institute of Cuban and Cuban-American Studies. Jaime Suchlicki, its outgoing director, says he is resigning because of differences with the university authorities.

Several members of ICCAS said that among the reasons for Suchlicki’s departure and the alleged closure of the institute were plans for strengthening relations with Cuban universities through programs similar to those established by other U.S. universities, many of them lured by the thaw in relations with Cuba promoted by former President Barack Obama…. Although ICCAS has been critical of the Cuban government, one of its researchers, Pedro Roig, said the center has focused on producing investigations “in the most balanced way possible,” The Miami Herald reports.

“I believe the University of Miami should continue the work of supporting dissidents in Cuba and Cuban studies,” Suchlicki said.

Born in Havana in 1939, Suchlicki fought in his youth clandestinely against Fulgencio Batista, eventually being forced into exile in the US in 1958 to the US. In January 1959, the month in which Fidel Castro’s rebels took power, he returned to Cuba, “believing that the revolution would be magnificent, but within a few months I saw that it was a big scam and I conspired again, in that case against Castro,” he wrote.

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