Surprise and delight prevailed in Havana following yesterday’s simultaneous announcement by both governments of the resumption of full diplomatic relations. Our man/woman (no by-line) from Le Figaro was there, as reported by the French newssite L’actualité.com.
Further, those in the US now raging against Obama’s move are at least right in one respect: Raúl Castro’s government really wanted this:
The Revolution moves no one to dreams anymore on the Communist island. Even if the regime of Raúl Castro is not in danger, or even hard-pressed (contrary to the repeated proclamations from the Cubans in Miami), the Cuban president had been preparing for this opening to the US for a long time.
Actually, the American authorities might have been pursuing exactly the wrong strategy for all these decades:
As an old Cuban Communist Party cadre, Mirta, confided recently: “How could the American authorities have followed such a stupid policy for fifty years? If they had raised the embargo, normalized relations with Cuba, the regime would have crumbled all by itself.”
Note well that, in fact, the embargo is not raised: that’s something only Congress can do. In any case, according to this piece American culture has long ruled on Havana’s streets anyway, with “caps, glasses [meaning sun- ?] and gadgets” bearing some variation of the Stars & Stripes representing highest style. One has to wonder, though, exactly what sort of “gadgets” the Figaro reporter witnessed there, considering Cuba’s well-known reputation for being a virtual open-air museum of lovingly cared-for fifties-vintage American cars. PalmPilots, maybe? Transistor radios?