The Cuban leader just threw down some major hurdles before normalization of relations between the U.S. and Cuba can be realized.

According to The Guardian, Castro wants an end to the economic blockade and anti-Castro propaganda broadcasts. That seems reasonable. But he also wants Guantanamo back, as well as “just compensation to our people for the human and economic damage that they’re suffered.”

It seems extremely unlikely that the U.S. will give Cuba a single dollar. Perhaps compensation can be interpreted as trade benefits or some other device, but it still sounds like a long shot. And then there’s Gitmo, which the U.S. gained as a result of the Spanish-American War shortly before the turn of the 20th Century. It’s only fair to return this colonial possession to Cuba, and the treaty governing its lease may even be legally voidable, but we have serious doubts the U.S. will give it up anytime soon.

This all begs the question: Is the Castro regime opening negotiations from a tough starting point, hoping to settle somewhere in the middle, or are Cuba’s leaders perhaps interested in scuttling or delaying negotiations indefinitely?

According to Raul Castro, “if these problems aren’t resolved, this diplomatic rapprochement wouldn’t make any sense.”

His demands, while entirely reasonable, are highly unrealistic. In the meantime, why not open embassies?

— Posted by Peter Z. Scheer


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