Is Cuba Latin America’s Palestine?

Interesting analogy from the New America Foundation’s Patrick Doherty, ahead of this week’s Organization of American States summit: The Palestine analogy is early, but we have three very good data points on which to base it. First, in December 2008 at a meeting of the Rio Group of Latin American heads of state, one of ...

Interesting analogy from the New America Foundation's Patrick Doherty, ahead of this week's Organization of American States summit:

The Palestine analogy is early, but we have three very good data points on which to base it. First, in December 2008 at a meeting of the Rio Group of Latin American heads of state, one of the only issues the summit was able to agree on was that the incoming Obama administration needs to end its embargo of Cuba.

Second, in Trinidad at the Summit of the Americas, while Cuba was not on the formal agenda, Cuba was the major topic of conversation both at the summit and in the media. As my colleauge Phil Peters points out, Trinidad was really a Cuba summit.

Interesting analogy from the New America Foundation’s Patrick Doherty, ahead of this week’s Organization of American States summit:

The Palestine analogy is early, but we have three very good data points on which to base it. First, in December 2008 at a meeting of the Rio Group of Latin American heads of state, one of the only issues the summit was able to agree on was that the incoming Obama administration needs to end its embargo of Cuba.

Second, in Trinidad at the Summit of the Americas, while Cuba was not on the formal agenda, Cuba was the major topic of conversation both at the summit and in the media. As my colleauge Phil Peters points out, Trinidad was really a Cuba summit.

The third data point is this diplomatic full court press in the run up to the Honduras Ministerial of the Organization of American States, in which multiple sub-groupings of states have submitted a variety of proposals for repealing the act which expelled Cuba from the organization in 1962.

All three point to one clear message: the price of a new relationship with Latin America is ending the dysfunctional legacy of our old ones, in particular, the indiscriminate and disproportionate economic embargo the United States maintains on Cuba. That’s pretty close to the formula that the Arab world has used for at least two decades with Palestine: don’t think we are going to help you move your regional agenda forward until you help us out on getting a Palestinian peace deal done.

Also, in both cases, the Obama adminsitration has to contend with the reaction from domestic interest groups if it plans on a significant policy shift.

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy  Twitter: @joshuakeating

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