Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

A Middle East-Like Revolution in Cuba? Don’t Hold Your Breath

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on March 1, 2011

by Christopher Sabatini for The Huffington Post, February 28th, 2011.

The people-power revolutions that ousted the decades-old autocratic governments of Ben Ali in Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, and continue to rock the rest of the Middle East have prompted Cuba-watchers yet again — to wonder when the last redoubt of Cold War dictatorship in the hemisphere is next. It isn’t, and we have U.S. policy partly to blame.

For the last two decades, from Eastern Europe to Egypt, none of the countries that have experienced a people’s revolution have been under a U.S. embargo. Though it is about to be the target of focused sanctions as a result of its bloody response to the protestors (and deservedly so) before the current uprising, even Libya saw its sanctions ended in 2004 by the George W. Bush administration.  In the case of Libya — and in the past — targeted sanctions tied to a specific act by the government can provoke a course correction or even collapse. Over the long-term, though, sanctions actually seal a country off from the rest of the world and allow a government to dig in.

The inverse relationship between isolation and people’s revolution is no coincidence. Contact with the outside world builds capacity and ideas insidious to even the most tyrannical regime.   Whether it was the 1989 Velvet Revolution in then-Czechoslovakia, the end of communist rule in Poland (two years after U.S. sanctions were ended after the crackdown on Solidarity) or the broad coalition that ended the 30 year-reign of Mubarak last week, the symbols, motivations and means of these peaceful transitions owe much to the sort of contacts that the 52-year U.S. embargo on Cuba has cut off. (continue reading… )

 

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