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Julia Sweig on Cuba Policy

Interviewee: Julia E. Sweig
Interviewer: Stephanie Hanson
January 24, 2008

Fidel Castro’s long illness leads many to speculate that political change might be on the horizon in Cuba. U.S. policy toward Cuba, including a longstanding economic embargo, has been static for decades. But Julia E. Sweig, director for Latin America studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, says 2009 will offer an opportunity for the United States and Cuba to “get onto better footing.” Though Sweig says the executive branch has lost leverage to Congress on Cuba policy, she says the new president should accept current leader Raul Castro’s offers to talk about bilateral issues, such as security, oil exploration, and drug and human smuggling. If the White House sets a new tone on Cuba policy, Sweig believes Congress will follow suit. She says such changes could have “very important symbolic resonance regionally and even globally.”

Sweig has served as an adviser to Sen. Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Her views on Cuba do not reflect those of any political campaign.


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