President Obama’s surprise announcement in December of his intention to reestablish formal diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba has stirred vigorous debate.
Supporters justify the move by arguing that 50-plus years of diplomatic stalemate and sanctions have failed to bring freedom to the Cuban people. They believe it was past time for a new policy that would give Cubans greater exposure to the United States and lead to more liberalization on the island. Such a policy would also advance American interests in the Western Hemisphere more broadly given the unpopularity of U.S. sanctions against the Castro regime.
Opponents of the change argue that the Castro dictatorship has been handed a victory -- formal recognition by the United States -- in exchange for very little. Democratic opponents of the regime did not benefit, while the regime’s stranglehold on human freedom persists and the U.S. has relinquished key leverage for political change on the island.
On February 26, the McCain Institute will continue its Debate and Decision Series as leading experts tackle the question: A New U.S.-Cuba Policy: Did Cuba Win?