Even before his official nomination, the
"Obama was very clever in setting out his alternative policy, as he brought up two issues that are key to the Cuban-American community (economic and travel sanctions) and declared his willingness to sit down and talk with officials in
In Morales’s opinion, the proposal marks a step forward, as it "takes the situation to a fresh starting point by eliminating unpopular restrictions set by the George W. Bush administration and raising the possibility of opening official talks, something which until now was unheard of." However, on this last point, Obama has made a mistake that "puts
"As president, I would be willing to lead that diplomacy at a time and place of my choosing, but only when we have an opportunity to advance the interests of the
Morales finds this approach "rather arrogant." "He went as far as to say that the groups that represent Cuban emigrés should be included in these talks, and the way he expressed himself was as if he should be the one to determine when the talks would take place, what issues would be on the agenda and who would participate," he said.
Morales, a researcher at the
He pointed out that Cuban President Raúl Castro has said on more than one occasion that
With regard to defining a possible agenda for such talks, Morales said that "the key factor is that the parties cannot come to the negotiating table with preconditions." "If that is achieved, the rest is just drawing up a smart list of issues mutually agreed on, ranging from the most simple matters to the most complex," he said.
In Morales’s view, the embargo imposed in the early 1960s, which Obama says he will not lift, is a "political problem" that could be left out of the debate if both countries decide not to discuss it.
In that case, the two nations could begin to regularise economic relations on the basis of the already existing trade flow, which is limited to food imports by
The talks, he says, could then address ways to expand current trade to include other products, the possibility of exporting Cuban goods to the
In spite of the restrictions in place, since 2001 the
Morales believes Obama has a firm chance of prevailing over his opponent, Republican Party candidate John McCain, in the Nov. 4 elections. "I’d like to see him win. I think that with Obama in office, the possibilities for change would be richer," the analyst told IPS.
However, he says it would be "easier" for a Republican to dismantle the current U.S. Cuba policy than for a Democrat.
"Republicans are very pragmatic, more consistent from an ideological point of view. Such decisions would be questioned far less if they came from someone in their ranks than from a Democrat," he said.
Morales views the nomination of an Afro-American as presidential candidate as an unprecedented decision. "I believe that racism and intolerance have declined in the last 30 or 40 years, but not to the point of disappearing entirely. We still have to see if people in the
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