The Renovation of Cuban Foreign Policy: Key Players for the Reform

INCIPE, Estudios de Política Exterior, and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung organized a breakfast conference titled The Renovation of Cuban Foreign Policy: Key Players for the Reform which took place on September 24th. Ambassador, Professor, and Cuban Analyst, Carloz Alzugaray presented on the topic.

Alzugaray, who is touring many European cities such as Madrid, Brussels, and Berlin, considers Cuban Foreign Policy to be at its best, especially in relation to other Latin American countries. A clear example was the meeting in January, “The Second CELAC (community of Latin American and Caribbean States) Summit, which was held by Cuban President Raul Castro in Havana.

The most important challenge facing Cuba is its economic situation. The EEUU have placed a financial and commercial embargo on Cuba which complicates the situation. Cuba needs to confront it´s circumstances and change its geopolitical position in order to update its current model and function at full capacity. In order for this process to be successful, Cuba would need to diversify its economic strategy, lessening its dependence on Venezuela. In this case China and Russia are great potential allies, especially because the government of Raúl Castro has already been solidifying relations and signing trade agreements. We must also highlight the solidified relations that have been made by Cuba with Algeria and Angola.

With respect to relations with the European Union, there are two current thoughts. The first identifies Spain as a potential ally, which would best position Spain on the island. The second identifies Spain as an uncertain ally, identifying their interests as the same as the United States. In June 2008, the Council of Ministers proposed to re-launch dialogue between the EU and Cuba, which would include all potential areas of cooperation including in the political sector, human rights, economics, science, and culture. In this context of progressively normalizing relations, since October 2008, many meetings have been organized to discuss at the highest level the common interests between Cuba and the EU.

During the meeting other questions of interest outlined were the role of Cuban opposition, its visibility abroad, its relations with the United States, the position of Cuba in regards to the Middle East, and how to solve the problem of unifying the currency with the least consequences.

Aranzazu Álvarez
Manager of Institutional Relations

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