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Sun Jan 27, 2013, 02:56 AM

Could Kerry, Hagel drive reboot in US-Cuba ties?

Could Kerry, Hagel drive reboot in US-Cuba ties?
By PAUL HAVEN, Associated Press | January 26, 2013 | Updated: January 26, 2013 1:53pm

HAVANA (AP) The nominee for U.S. Secretary of State, Sen. John Kerry, once held up millions of dollars in funding for secretive U.S. democracy-building programs in Cuba. Defense Secretary hopeful Chuck Hagel has called the U.S. embargo against the communist-run island "nonsensical" and anachronistic.

Both men are now poised to occupy two of the most important positions in President Barack Obama's Cabinet, leading observers on both sides of the Florida Straits to say the time could be ripe for a reboot in relations between the longtime Cold War enemies despite major obstacles still in the way.

Kerry's confirmation hearing was held last Thursday, with Hagel's likely to begin next Thursday. In a day marked by platitudes and praise from his longtime colleagues, the Massachusetts Democrat up for top U.S. diplomat sidestepped two questions on Cuba without giving any hint of his opinion on bilateral relations.

Yet Kerry's record has showed some openness to relaxing the tough U.S. stance on Cuba.

"I think having a secretary of state and secretary of defense who understand and are willing to speak publicly that isolation is counterproductive is a very good start," said Tomas Bilbao, executive director of the nonpartisan Cuba Study Group, which advocates using engagement to spur democratic change. "I'm optimistic about the opportunity."


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Reply Could Kerry, Hagel drive reboot in US-Cuba ties? (Original post)
Judi Lynn Jan 2013 OP
Warpy Jan 2013 #1
karynnj Jan 2013 #2

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 03:17 AM

1. I don't think you'll see that reboot until Fidel Castro dies.

Once he's gone, the whole anti Cuban edifice will crumble overnight.

Everybody knows the anti Cuban legislation and embargo are stupid things that are totally counterproductive, but no one is willing to let go of them until Castro finally dies.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 09:00 AM

2. What was clear is that Menendez will be an opponent to doing anything

I was going to say that I hope that Kerry would be able to get Menendez to see the positives for Cuba. However, I don't think Menendez actually cares what betters life in Cuba. The part of his base that he wants to keep happy is the RW anti-Castro "refugees" who have profited by the repressive policy for 50 years. (I put refugees in quotes as most of these people likely were born here and the rest should have assimilated in 50 years!)

The Republican opponent will be Rubio.

I think if Obama agrees with Kerry and Hagel, they might be lucky in their opponents. Menedez is not a particularly compelling speaker or leader. (I never saw any real excitement for him when I was a NJ resident - even among Hispanics.) I think Rubio has been over hyped and is all about politics, but he will be the more dangerous of the two. One positive signal was that tea party Senator from Arizona, Flake, brought up the issue saying we should open our policy. ( You can see the sensitivity as Menendez went into full scold mode to blast Flake for his (admittedly silly) joke of having Cuba have to endure spring break.

It would be hard to get a better team than Obama/Kerry/Hagel to get a change.

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