Cuba is on the list of countries that support terrorists, yet the two countries cooperate on a variety of security issues, mainly immigration. Rafters caught at sea are routinely taken back to the island.
The most important change, of course, is that the Castro brothers have given up power or announced they will. Fidel ceded to Raúl, and Raúl has appointed his successor, Miguel Díaz Canel. There is a lot wrong with this equation. Modern, progressive leaders trust their people to make these decisions. Modern, progressive people demand their right to make those decisions.
And here’s where my pessimism seeps in.
From the good old days of flawed capitalism the country moved on to an exalted state of ruthless communism only to arrive to the more familiar territory of banana republics — but without the bananas — where a rudderless oligarchy controls a mostly impoverished population and blames the United States for its failures.
When Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez was in New York almost three months ago she spoke a great deal about walking through the doors that the government had opened a crack. This past week, Domínguez used the same analogy. Can he, meaning Raúl Castro, push this door wider and open the windows as well?
No one knows. But the fact that smart people who study Cuba carefully are asking the question is important. It means there is hope. It means the fate of the nation remains in flux, and flux is better than stasis. In metallurgy, “flux” is a purifying agent. That’s exactly what the island needs: a cleaning agent to make sense of these muddled, confusing signs, with some arrows pointing to the future and others straight to the past.