While most of America seems awfully and overly excited about Hillary Clinton’s appointment as Obama’s Secretary of State, I think there is more to be nervous about. In particular, the implications Clinton’s new role will have on our relations with Cuba is as uncertain as what Washington’s relations have been with Cuba for the past forty years. While Obama has been open to ending the embargo that exists between the two countries and even shutting down Gitmo, Clinton has opposed change to this longstanding policy and has sided with Bush and McCain on how we should proceed with regard to Cuba and Castro’s communist regime.
The recent flurry of news coming from Cuba tells us that change will come, as Obama prophesied during his Presidential campaign. Despite a ban on American tourism in Cuba, the cigar country is doing far better than its Caribbean neighbors with regard to visitors – especially visitors from Russia and Canada.Then there’s the sudden “confessions” coming from the detained 9/11 prisoners at Gitmo, hoping for a final, martyr-like curtain call. And, of course, as I had mentioned in another article, there are rumors of a Castro-Obama peace talk that could end a near half-century standstill between the two countries with regard to tourism and trade.
Finally, where and how Clinton will fit into this picture come January is a perplexing question. My guess is that Clinton, despite her disagreements with Obama on Cuba, will follow her boss’s lead and try to usher in change, as Obama certainly expressed a need for in an op-ed article that he wrote in the Miami Herald back in August.
Cuba is an increasingly interesting place in the world right now. Fidel Castro has fought a long battle with America, and he pretty much single-handedly fended of the most powerful nation for nearly fifty years. I imagine, if and when Cuba’s doors open – which could be as soon as next year, that Castro’s country will be a much different place. Whether that is for better or for worse will be a fascinating thing to witness.