- By Joshua Keating
Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy
I don’t quite understand the point of this:
U.S. President Barack Obama asked Spain to pass Cuba a message on the need for democratic reform when he met Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero earlier this month, according to a U.S. official….
"When (Obama) learned that Foreign Minister Moratinos was about to go to Havana, he suggested that Moratinos urge the Castro regime to take steps to reform and improve human rights," the U.S. official said on Sunday, speaking on condition of anonymity….
The U.S. request to deliver a message to Cuba was first reported by Spain’s El Pais newspaper, which said Obama talked of a potential turning point in the relationship with Havana, but said it was important for Cuba take some steps.
"Have (Moratinos) tell the Cuban authorities we understand that change can’t happen overnight, but down the road, when we look back at this time, it should be clear that now is when those changes began," Obama told Zapatero, according to diplomatic sources quoted by El Pais.
I have a feeling that after half a century, the Castro brothers probably realize that the U.S. doesn’t much like the way they run their country and don’t need the Spanish foreign minister to tell them. And if Obama has something new to say to the Cuban regime, why can’t he say it himself, if not through his own envoy than through a letter.
It sends a pretty strange message that the administration is unwilling to have any direct contact with the Cuban regime, even just to admonish them, but seems to have no problem with other countries doing it.