How did 9/11 affect Cuba?
March 22, 2011 9:54 AM   Subscribe

How did 9/11 affect Cuba specifically? How would the past ten years of Cuban history be different if 9/11 hadn't happened?

I'm assuming the biggest effect was a further chill in US-Cuba relations, putting off the possibility of lifting the economic embargo even farther.

And holding terror suspects in Guantanamo Bay can't have helped either.

What else?
posted by El Curioso to Law & Government (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm no expert at all. But I don't think it's true that 9/11 had any negative effect on US-Cuba relations. Fidel expressed shock at the events of 9/11 and sympathy for the victims. But there are variations in the pace of the thawing of relations depending on whether Republicans or Democrats have power in the White House and in Congress.
posted by Paquda at 10:19 AM on March 22, 2011

It had no effect either for better or for worse. Our poor relationship with Cuba is more driven by the Cuban community in the US than any other actions happening elsewhere around the globe. US-Cuban relations have been stuck in their own bizarre time-warp for a very long time.
posted by JJ86 at 11:46 AM on March 22, 2011

Well, notwithstanding the fact that yes, Cuba is in a time warp because of the longevity of the Castro regime, and the US lack of capability or will to dislodge him, there were attributable effects of 9/11 to US-Cuba relations.

Bush had begun his administration making much of his friendship with Mexican President Vicente Fox and allegedly hoped the US would "look South" more than it had, but whether or not that was true, it was a strategy completely scotched by 9/11. Mexico left the Rio Treaty of mutual defense of the Americas, unable to stomach an alliance with a newly imperialist US, and Bush chose Guantanamo Bay as the terror war's concentration camp. As Bush articulated a strategic framework in which to place its desire for taking down Saddam Hussein, he created the "Axis of Evil", and although Cuba was not one of the original three countries he listed, he (or at least John Bolton) did include it in a longer list. The US stepped up efforts to figure out how to get rid of Castro, with a commission charged with reviewing the relationship. Eventually Bush proposed an $80 million fund for pro-democracy activities.

I don't think this was a really significant effect, as the commission idea might have happened anyway, but if Bush imagined that his few words of baseball Spanish would make him a bridge-builder, he didn't follow through for whatever reason. The only real catalyst for practical change was Raul taking over for Fidel.
posted by dhartung at 12:00 PM on March 22, 2011

While I agree that Cuba is in a time warp, the time warp I referred to is just as much if not more the one the US is stuck in with regards to its dealings with Cuba. We are stuck in a 1950s anti-communist mindset which in all respects is worse than the economic timewarp of Cuba. Consider that our similar relations with Vietnam during the same time period resulted in a war and amended relations all the while that Vietnam remains communist.

Bush's efforts to get rid of Castro are nothing compared to the efforts in the early 1960s. We haven't had a replay of anything on the scale of the Bay of Pigs invasion since 1961. Guantanamo Bay Naval Base prisons (Guantanamo Bay is a Cuban city different than the US naval base) haven't really affected relations. They exist, the Cuban government protests, the embargo still exists, trade between US-Cuba still exists and has actually increased since 9/11.

If anything had an effect on US-Cuban relations it has been Hugo Chavez.
posted by JJ86 at 5:40 AM on March 23, 2011

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