Confrontation, a Strategy?
Although external foreign policy stems from the internal, the conflicting relations between Cuba and the United States reversed this relationship. In 1959 the Cuban government described itself as follows: Between the two ideologies or political and economic positions that are being discussed in the world, we have a proprietary position. However, the measures taken, as it affects American interests, generated the shift to totalitarianism, and one of the results was the elimination of civil society and the violation of human rights. In this context, member countries of the European Union (EU) that maintained bilateral relations with Cuba, decided in 1996 to adopt a Common Position in order to encourage democratization and respect for fundamental freedoms, which was reflected in public recognition of the Cuban opposition.
This recognition increased tensions until 2003, when Cuba asked to join the Cotonou agreements, a set of cooperative relations between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific countries — which involve the commitment to promote and protect fundamental freedoms and human rights. However, in the same year, because of the imprisonment of 75 peaceful opponents and the shooting of three youths who tried to capture a boat to flee the country, the EU Council reaffirmed the validity of the Common Position. Finally, from October 2008, when Cuba managed to resume cooperation without conditions, the Spanish government proposed to repeal it, but in January 2010, although Spain held the EU presidency, Cuba was denied entry by Spanish MEP Luis Yanez and the following month political prisoner Orlando Zapata died after a prolonged hunger strike, two events have undermined the Spanish proposal.
The confrontation with the U.S. and Europe united Latin America in the rejection of the agreement of the OAS, which conditioned the readmission of Cuba on the acceptance of the 2001 Inter-American Democratic Charter, which requires respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, plus the failure to ratify human rights conventions signed since 2008. From this, one can infer the existence of a strategy to disengage from any commitments that would undermine the Cuban government with regards to restoring civil society, respect for human rights and democratization; instead, Cuba has chosen to build bridges with institutions like the ALBA, where apparently no such requirements.
Despite government resistance, the relevance of civil liberties requires, eventually, a change in internal politics and external relations to an approach based on dialogue as a guiding principle and ongoing strategy. Then we will start by releasing all political prisoners, ratification of human rights covenants, attaching the legislation to these covenants and opening a national debate on issues that affect us, so that Cubans can participate as subjects in the destiny of their nation. It is simply a timing issue.