Two paths are presented today before the new administration of the United States regarding the Latin American island: one of aggressions and their resulting failures, which is well known, and one of cooperation, a path less travelled but more promising.
President Joe Biden has some model for the former path as he was Vice President of the government that chose to re-establish relations (Barack Obama’s administration, 2009-2017) and under which, from 2015 until the first days of 2017, 22 agreements and memoranda of understanding were signed.
From the reopening of permanent diplomatic missions to aspects related to health and climate, among others, the documents signed respond to matters of common interest.
Among these agreements are memoranda of cooperation for the conservation and management of Marine Protected Areas, in the field of environmental protection and in areas that allow for the improvement of maritime navigation safety.
They also establish cooperation and exchange programmes for sharing data on seismic records and geological information, in addition to opening greater possibilities for joint research on meteorology and climate.
They also laid the groundwork for preparation and response to possible contamination caused by spills of hydrocarbons and other harmful and potentially dangerous substances in the Gulf of Mexico and the Straits of Florida.
Since his arrival in the White House, Donald Trump’s administration insisted that the reestablishment of relations had only been beneficial for the Caribbean nation, but the elements mentioned above are of mutual benefit.
The same goes for those agreements and memoranda intended to guarantee the direct transportation of mail, procedures for the safety of travellers and commerce, to ensure plant and animal health, or on aeronautical and maritime search and rescue.
The establishment of regular flights between the United States and the largest island in the Antilles was a step forward not only for Cubans, but also for American citizens who had one less obstacle in exercising their right to travel.
None of this was taken into account by Trump when he suspended the charters from the United States and ordered that the regular routes only arrive in Havana.
He chose the path of punishment and thereby sidestepped the interests of his people, as demonstrated by US congressmen and producers on 16th January, when in a virtual forum they again expressed their desire for more agreements to be implemented such as the memorandum for the cooperation in agriculture and other related fields.
He chose the path that denies its citizens the possibility of accessing the knowledge and biopharmaceutical products created in Cuba, even in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and after the approval of resolutions in around 15 North American cities that urged his government to establish cooperation in this area.
There are also memoranda of understanding between the Cuban Ministry of Public Health and the United States Department of Health and Human Services that would allow such collaboration, both in the context of Covid-19 and for diseases such as cancer or diabetic foot ulcers, but the choice made by the former administration did not make it possible.
The list could go on, because the path of open cooperation included vital aspects such as confronting the illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, or elements linked to migration.
There is enormous potential to build bridges from respect, instead of the more than 240 coercive measures implemented by the Trump administration, which also failed to destroy the Cuban Revolution and, on the other hand, did earn Washington international discredit.
The world community rejected the inclusion of Cuba in the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism and supports the nomination of its doctors to the Nobel Peace Prize, instead of giving credit to the smear campaigns promoted from the White House. (PL)