And without Embargo...
What was, in the end, the idea after 1959? Socialism or capitalism? There is no empirical or theoretical basis for thinking that Cuba would have both things at once: Stalinist socialism and economic relations with the US. This is an issue that warrants more than one analysis.
But there is quite a bit of political “diversionism” by the Cuban government in its struggle against the US embargo. That is, in its dual meaning, of both "entertaining" and "distracting." It entertains those who assist it in its endeavor of ideological-political entertainment inside and outside Cuba , and it distracts those who would exhibit the Cartesian tendency to doubt its interest in the embargo being lifted; if one insists so much on a point, then it must be true that he really desires it.
I do not doubt it. I outright deny it. Why is the fragmentation and weakening of the embargo implemented by the Obama Administration not taken advantage of, while at the same time the regime calls for lifting the whole thing, at one fell swoop? Wouldn't it be better to debilitate it with the coup de grace that would follow if the Cuban government actually exploited the opportunities given it to connect Cuban companies with those American ones already willing to invest at any cost, even under conditions of modern slavery? Encouraging fellow capitalists in the United States would be among the most decisive political instruments to pressure those who have decision-making authorities but refuse to lift the embargo. And yet, due to the lethargy and vacillation of the Cuban government, Obama's executive orders may be overturned by the two-fold forces of idleness and those who reject them.
Slowly but surely in an autocracy, and in a frenetic rush in a democracy?
Examined seriously, what is in the interest of the Cuban government is to maintain the political tension generated by the embargo, to sustain the duration of the conflict, and with the intensity necessary allowing for the internal reordering of the elite at a time of changes to structures and paradigms, of historical mutation and generational succession. All three together.
Embracing Obama's offers would accelerate Cuba's economic opening to the world, at a time when the Cuban government is not yet confident that it can control the entire process. If the agency Bloomberg has accurately portrayed the scope of the ruling elite's power, patrimonial control should never be confused with control over the whole process of economic management, and at every level. We should not overlook the fact that opening up to the US economy means a shift from a mercantilist state model to an open one in Cuba, whose economic structures and dimensions favor small and medium-sized enterprises rather than monopolies. This entails certain risks for the island’s elite, who are impeding the strategy, advanced by the US executive, to put an end to the embargo in two ways: fait accompli and cooperation between the two states.
Conscious that the US Congress, controlled by the Republicans, will never remove the embargo, the Cuban government doubles down and ratchets up its plaintive rhetoric to regain its strategic advantage as a victim in its historical dispute in the US, even as the latter seeks to tone it down, as Cuba strives to aggravate a political issue that it knows will not be seriously debated in the short term. And it does so for four reasons: the US Congress will not grant historic victories to Obama, a lame duck president, though one very active indeed; the US election process is now in full swing, such that everything at a standstill will remain that way; the laws there are respected; and there has been no internal turnaround in Cuba as a result of the cumulative process of strategic decisions mobilizing political and economic decision-makers in the US.
The international community will continue to cling to its wishful thinking regarding Cuba, until further notice, but politics and economies are shaped by facts.
The problem is that its arsenal of excuses is the Cuban government's largest and most valuable political asset. How they are administrated over time and in different scenarios is a capacity honed by a regime whose economic and social management have been structurally flawed. And in many other areas. The embargo is a pretext that is running out of steam, but needs to be handled with finesse, guile and stalling tactics, as it is key to the regime's model for control over Cuban society and politics. It is a variable that made it possible to re-establish and revitalize a state model that seemed to be done for in 1991.
However, there is no post-Castroism. The embargo ensures its readaptation. It is as simple as that. This is one of the reasons that I favor its unilateral elimination. Now. The sooner, the better for Cuba.