Editorial: Castro's Wall Remains Intact
In an unexpected turn of events, the governments of the United States and Cuba announced on Wednesday the reestablishment of diplomatic relations. With the mediation of the Vatican and Canada, Barack Obama and Raul Castro agreed on a controversial exchange of prisoners and the reopening of embassies in both capitals. Through a speech and a written statement, Obama detailed the scope of US measures. From his dingy office and dressed in military uniform, Castro limited his address to the issue of the prisoner exchange and his hackneyed political argument.
In this regard, as long as Castro's plan to take on Obama's proposals is not on the table, if it event exists, the optimism shown by foreign governments, the international press, the Catholic Church, and Cubans inside and outside of the island seems exaggerated.
For over half a century, the Cuban regime has declared itself a "besieged square" to justify its crimes, jailing of political opponents, and complete absence of freedom of association, speech, and the press. Since the core of the Castro regime has never promised to reform the political system after the end of this alleged "siege", it is logical to question how restoring diplomatic relations could contribute to the normalization of Cuba.
The success of the economic measures announced by Barack Obama mainly depends on the will of the regime. It seems unlikely that those who prevent by law the prosperity of small entrepreneurs and hold a monopoly on the productive forces of the island would allow the "empowerment" outlined in the new US policy. There is nothing more to expect from Raul Castro, not even a glass of milk. Beyond the realpolitik wielded or the pragmatic of abhorrent international alliances established, the solution only lies in the attitude of Cubans towards change.