Cuba sticks to gradualism in opening up to world

GMT 06:23 2015 Wednesday ,18 March

Arab Today, arab today Cuba sticks to gradualism in opening up to world

Cuban head of delegation Josefina Vidal
Mexico City - XINHUA

The home-court detente with the United States on Monday and Tuesday has once again accentuated Cuba's ingrained gradualism, which has been the hallmark of the island country's diplomacy and economic development for years in its pursuit of security and political correctness.
As expected, the latest round of talks on normalizing bilateral ties in Havana produced no declarable progress, though it has been the third time that Roberta Jacobson, assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the U.S. State Department, stepped on the island to meet with Josefina Vidal, director of the U.S. division at Cuba's Foreign Ministry, to defuse the enmity accumulated over 50 years.
The prolonged process might crush U.S. President Barrack Obama' s plan to chair the upcoming Summit of Americas in Panama with U.S. -Cuban ties restored and embassies reopened.
This outcome exemplified the difficulty in breaking the diplomatic stalemate as well as the deep-rooted caution on the part of Havana to avoid any distraction or deviation from its core values.
Seeking to navigate the negotiations and gain an upper hand, Cuba has managed a meticulous roadmap to pacify its socialist allies as well as some strategic Western shareholders.
On Monday, Cuban Foreign Affairs Minister Bruno Rodriguez met with his counterpart from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Ri Su Yong, underscoring the "excellent" state of bilateral ties and improved "friendship" and "brotherhood".
In early March, risking derailing its talks with the U.S., Cuba threw its weight behind Venezuela with "unconditional support", after the U.S. authorized sanctions against seven Venezuelan officials and labeled this traditional partner of Cuba a "security threat".
Against all this backdrop, the European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini is to visit Cuba late March to initiate talks on normalizing ties, the first visit by a top EU official.
In May, French President Francois Hollande is expected to land in Havana to help settle Cuba's debt issues with the Paris Club, in a show of political support for the Cuban government.
Caution and steadiness have long been the key features of Cuba' s social and economic progress. The well-known slogan of "No prisa, no pausa," or "No hurry, no pause" in English, was just a case in point, as it was widely quoted in Cuba.
As the talks with the U.S. went on, Cuba launched its first known free and public internet service at a Havana cultural center that quietly began offering Wi-Fi service in limited locality.
Almost at the same time, a direct phone link between Cuba and the U.S. was established, the first contract sealed between Cuban and U.S. companies since the decision to restore ties last December.
In mid-March, U.S. web leader Google sent a delegation to meet students at the University of Information Science (UCI) to tout the latest information technology to the would-be clients of the slowly opening country, where just 3.4 percent of the households were connected to the internet.
Gradualism or prudent progress has been rooted in the Cuba's political tradition in dealing with significant and thorny issues.
In January 2012 Cuban President Raul Castro told visiting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that a series of unprecedented economic policies were being implemented "as they should be", but "without haste" in order to avoid mistakes.
At its Sixth Congress in April 2011, the ruling Communist Party of Cuba decided to reform the island country's stagnating economy while Raul Castro's leadership was formally established.
During the 14 years from the Fifth Congress to the Sixth, Cuba had enjoyed social and political stability, with the foothold of the ruling Communist Party consolidated while the economy lagged far behind.

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