Bringing Cuba Back Into The Family of the Americas

WITH the cold war's end, Cuba's isolation from the inter-American community is anachronistic. It is also unnecessary, damaging, and, perhaps, dangerous. Our recommendations - to the governments of Cuba, Latin America and the Caribbean, Canada, and the United States - are aimed at building a future in which Cuba is committed to democratic practices and enjoys normal relations in the hemisphere and beyond.

To the government of Cuba:

* The Cuban people must decide on their own internal economic and political arrangements. But Cuba cannot participate fully in the inter-American community while it perpetuates repression and rejects democracy. We urge that the government of Cuba release all prisoners of conscience and permit free and fair elections, monitored by internationally accredited observers.

To the governments of Latin America, the Caribbean, and Canada:

* These governments should strengthen cultural, artistic, and scholarly ties with Cuba and help to open the island to new ideas. They should also press directly for democratic freedoms and respect for human rights in Cuba.

* We also urge the Caribbean and Latin American governments to deal constructively with the Cuban government in international organizations. The Organization of American States should reinstate Cuba to active membership when it commits itself to the democratic principles of the OAS Charter.

To the US government:

* The president and other senior US officials should continue to make clear that the US has no intention of invading Cuba, and vigorously condemn violent actions by exile groups.

* The US government should actively promote the free flow of information and ideas to the Cuban people by exempting from its embargo all transactions that foster communications between the Cuban people and people from the US and other countries, including tourism. Beyond communications and travel, the US government should only ease its embargo in response to positive steps taken by the Cuban government. Washington can best encourage such steps by working cooperatively with other governments of the hemisp here - and allowing them to take the lead in some areas.

* In its policy, the US should give greater weight to humanitarian concerns by making it easier for charitable groups to deliver food and medicine to the Cuban people and for Cuban-Americans to assist relatives and friends in Cuba.

* US broadcasting to Cuba must be responsible. Radio Marti should be a source of objective news, not propaganda. TV Marti, which violates international conventions, should be canceled.

* The United States should not allow its Cuba policy to hamper relations with other governments. We oppose legislation to prohibit all trade with Cuba by subsidiaries of US firms in other countries.

* The above recommendations are excerpted from "Cuba in the Americas: Reciprocal Challenges," October 1992, published by the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington.

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