Marifeli Perez-Stable discusses the leakage by El País of Obama's message to Raul Castro, warning that if the administration doesn't "break the tired two-step" of Cuban-American relations soon, it may be too late.
The Obama administration may be going down a dead end. In an Oct. 13 meeting with Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Obama said: ``Tell Raúl that if he doesn't take steps, I won't be able to go further.'' A few days later the Spanish foreign minister met with Raúl Castro. We don't know if he delivered the message.
What's wrong with Obama sending Raúl a message? Nothing, but this one was leaked to El País, Spain's premier newspaper, so any chance that Havana might have responded vanished into thin air. In any case, the administration shouldn't give the Cuban government so much power over U.S. policy.
Since the Cold War ended, the Cuban Democracy (1992) and Helms-Burton (1996) acts have conditioned normalization of relations to Havana's progress on human rights and democratization.