Transitions in Havana and Transitions in Miami


The Cold War continues to rage in one last place in the world — and that is between the United States and Cuba. It makes no sense for a democratic American government to unconstitutionally inhibit the travel of its own citizens to Cuba — when it has embraced China and Vietnam and is on the way to normalizing relations with North Korea.
One of the protectors of the status quo and a failed American embargo of Cuba is Lincoln Diaz-Balart, one of two Diaz-Balart brothers currently serving as members of the Florida Congressional delegation.
Lincoln and his brother are nephews by former marriage of Fidel Castro — and any scant investigation of the battle lines in the US-Cuba standoff will show the situation to be something of a nasty, Kentucky-style family spat.
But things are changing. Some of the elders who served on the board or as senior staff of the hawkish Cuban American National Foundation have defected from the pro-embargo Miami cartel against Cuba. Younger generation Cuban-Americans have also departed from the strident position of some of their elders.
And now there is news that Lincoln Diaz-Balart is underperforming in his fundraising and that the popular former Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez is gaining some ground in unseating Lincoln, who has too frequently harmed American national interests by not using his influence and networks to change the course of US-Cuba relations rather than promoting a feud that serves only the interests of a small group.
I’m glad to see Raul Martinez putting pressure on him — and this blog plans to watch this race closely as it may be the first time in a long time that a popular Democrat with more enlightened views on where to take US-Cuba relations might unseat one of the most recalcitrant embargo promoters in Congress.

— Steve Clemons


5 comments on “Transitions in Havana and Transitions in Miami

  1. Steve Clemons says:

    Tlittle — I respect how you see it, but from my point of view, South Korea decided long ago to take relations with North Korea a different direction — and it has in part compelled us to be more supportive of pragmatic dealmaking there than we would have otherwise been. So, yes, there are vestiges of the Cold War on the Korean peninsula, but it is not raging. It is thawing and ending.
    Steve Clemons


  2. Mr.Murder says:

    President Clinton successfully managed the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in order to fuel a boom and also limit valleys in the transitional economy.
    Every .01 difference in oil prices takes a billion a day out of economy.
    The ability to open new markets with Cuba and Venezuela will be what allows us to address the subprime crisis by smoothing over basis factors for economic growth and efficiency.


  3. Mr.Murder says:

    Clinton still needs to meet ground on Obama’s assertion of talking with all countries, included those we perceive to be antagonists. It’s my opinion that rivals like Chavez and Castro can be acclimated to help us expand the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
    This then gives us new ways of using diplomatic levers abroad. Cuba can work with us to help Taiwan in time. Such a strategic shift could notify China that we’re regionally engaged and applying the brakes to their expansion. They need to be met with containment policy to new levels. This policy has worked before and will do so again. The ability to continue market share in products Cuba could compete with here in America by redirecting eastward would cede some opposition from engagement, especially in the tobacco lobby, etc.


  4. TLittle says:

    I would argue that the Cold War still continues to rage on between North and South Korea. I understand you are talking about US-Cuba Relations here, but any nation that goes from centuries of unification to partition because of Cold War power politics in roughly three years is a victim of the Cold War. Not to mention that they two Koreas only have a cease fire agreement in place, not a formal peace treaty.
    Sorry for the history lesson, but please let us not forget about this important arena. US -Cuba relations are not the “one last place in the world” where the Cold War rages on.


  5. TokyoTom says:

    Steve, good of you to keep spotlighting this. Too much of politics is about the broader public interest being sacrificed for narrower and more personal gain.
    Another element not to be forgotten is how politicians love to have a foreign whipping boy through which they can beat their chests and declaim their “patriotism”. This is an old dynamic that has not only kept the Cuba embargo in place – and wrongly trampled Americans’ rights to travel – but has also been a pre-eminent factor in our foreign policy during the past seven years.
    Our deep tribal roots and predilections leave us always vulnerable to manipulation for private gain in the name of protecting us from “enemies”. Walt Kelly was so right when he had Pogo say, “We have met the enemy and he is us”.


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