Biden’s hawkish Cuba policy won’t bear any fruit for Washington

JOE BIDEN’S aggressive attitude towards Cuba won’t deliver any results in Miami or Havana, a former CIA analyst has said.

While the protests in the island nation may have waned, Biden’s conduct during the chaos indicated a continuation of Trump’s hawkish policy towards the old enemy – and a sharp turn from Barack Obama’s.

At the outset of the demonstrations – which were primarily over food shortages and power outages, as well as what is perceived to be a subpar response from Cuban authorities to the pandemic – Biden labelled the nation a “failed state”.

Late last week the Biden administration added to Washington’s draconian blockade on the island as it slapped sanctions on the Cuban police force and two of its leaders.

But former CIA analyst Fulton Armstrong said that the White House may be taking the wrong approach.

He told Redaction Report: “They’re looking for a Miami strategy to deliver total victory in Cuba, and they think it will win them the hearts and minds of Cuban-Americans.  

“Both results are highly unlikely, but they seem to think they’ll get points for the effort.”

Armstrong has previously told Redaction Report that though there is dissent within the Cuban population, they aren’t seeking regime change, just gradual reform.

READ MORE: Why the Cuban government will ‘muddle through’ domestic chaos as protests wane

What is surprising, perhaps, is Biden’s insistence on running a “Miami policy” – that is, one that appeals to the Cuban-American population in the Floridian city. Made up of exiles and defectors, they are heavily anti-communism and anti-Castro.

When the protests broke out, Biden said: “Cuba is unfortunately a failed state and repressing their citizens.

“There are a number of things that we would consider doing to help the people of Cuba, but it would require a different circumstance or a guarantee that they would not be taken advantage of by the government.

“Communism is a failed system — a universally failed system. And I don’t see socialism as a very useful substitute.”

It was the clearest indication yet that, while Obama sought to strike peace with Havana, Biden is simply picking up where Trump left off.

Armstrong said: “Even before the 7/11 protests, the Biden team’s embrace of the Trump policies – and his distancing from Obama’s (during which he was Vice President) – suggested that, like Trump, he’s running a Miami policy, not a Cuba policy.  

“The Administration has taken its sweet time in seating a permanent Assistant Secretary of State, and it has put the acting assistant secretary in a vulnerable position by nominating her for an ambassadorial position that requires Senate confirmation – giving Senate hard-liners great influence over her.  

“The National Security Council aide on Latin America has little experience on the Cuba issue and is deferring to political voices.”

Fulton Armstrong is a former CIA analyst and White House National Security Council expert on Latin AmericaHe has served at the U.S. Interests Section in Havana and is currently a senior fellow at American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies.


Featured Image: Gage Skidmore @Flickr

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