10 January 2015

There is a long standing saying in Cuba that asks what are the best and the worst things that can happen to Cuba. The answer to both is the end of the embargo, because such a scenario will be good for allowing Cuba to prosper but terrible if it brings an unstoppable onslaught of US style capitalism and consumerism.

The embargo has by no means ended with the recent announcement of the restoration of diplomatic relations between the two countries. However, many progressives outside of Cuba are prematurely worrying about an “inevitable overwhelming” of the Cuban economy. I think such psychic energy could be better spent elsewhere, certainly in continuing to work for the overturn of Helms – Burton legislation that codifies the embargo.

Let us not forget that Cuba has stood up to the wrath of the US for over 50 years, and in so doing has developed a highly sophisticated set of policies to protect its national interest. Such strategic thinking will not disappear overnight. In fact, Cuba is probably one of the most qualified nations in the world to defend itself against undesired foreign intervention. Therefore one should be optimistic about what new openings may bring.

Of course, everything stated above depends upon the spirit of the Cuban people. Certainly, Cubans would like a better standard of living with regard to material possessions. However, to date they have been extraordinarily supportive of a society that is committed to the overall health, education, and well being of all its citizens. I don’t think that attitude will change anytime soon.

Eric Leenson, President
Responsible Enterprise *SOL*utions and *SOL*idarity in the Americas

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