Engage Cuba: the delicate dance of change and reform

Talk Media News

By: Victoria Jones

Talk Media News’ Victoria Jones in Havana talks with Michael Maisel of Engage Cuba, which advocates for meaningful change on the island.
 
They discuss the travel ban and the trade embargo, as well as what his organization sees as the delicate dance between the two countries.
 
Maisel says Cuba won’t necessarily announce new policies to reciprocate whenever the U.S. does, but will go at its own pace. He says that even though Cuban foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez gave a fiery speech last week assailing U.S. Cuban policy, Cuba is still inching towards reforms. Maisel stresses that Cuba is a sovereign nation and needs to decide its own pace of change. He says the character of the country will be decided by the Cuban people and that it won’t be “Americanized.”
 
Regarding lack of freedoms, Maisel says media coverage has tended to be black and white. If you go deeper into Cuban society, he says, there are degrees of dissidence that are tolerated, and along with other reforms, we will see tolerance of dissidents not seen before because there’s this new opening taking place. Next month’s Communist Party Congress will see forms of private entrepreneurship widened, Maisel says, and maybe other degrees of political expression widened, as at the last congress in 2011.