Clinton and Castro: Pragmatism or Paralysis
Both Cuba and the United States are undergoing periods of transition. Internally, Cuba is coming to terms with the fact that, in order to salvage the accomplishments of socialism in the absence of Soviet subsidies, the island needs greater economic efficiency. Specifically, in order to finance the programmes that have led to the island’s excellent child mortality rate, life expectancy and educational achievement, Cuba needs an economy which produces wealth at a far greater pace than previously. Externally, Cuba needs new, different trade partners and mechanisms. However, entrenched interests and structures related to both the internal and external relationships are threatened by the contemplated adjustments, and resist the reforms. To the outside observer, this situation presents an ambivalent, inconsistent policy course. Naturally, rational economic and political actors interacting with Cuba hesitate to move forward vigorously: they hedge.
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