A flotilla of boats from Miami tied to the so-called Democracy Movement of exiled Cuban activists set off fireworks yesterday in waters just beyond Cuba's territorial boundary. It was a provocative and aggressive act that should not be tolerated without comment by the U.S. Department of State.
Cuban-American relations present problems and opportunities to American policy makers and their Cuban counterparts. Since the 1959 Cuban Revolution, we have maintained a 'special' (read especially bad) relationship with Cuba, its people and its government. Viewed for decades through a Cold War prism, it's well past time for a new, more mature and less bombastic, antagonistic relationship to exist.
Neither government has the courage nor the maturity to build such a relationship. The U.S. government bows to the political demands of a large and overly powerful Cuban exile lobby in Florida and elsewhere that will never allow a 'normal' relationship with Castro's Cuba. The Cuban government for its own political and demagogic purposes benefits from having a large and imperialistic enemy 90 miles to the north.
Washington, D.C. should make clear it does not support unproductive and aggressive acts like that conducted by the flotilla. And Cuba's regime should halt its encouragement of those who harass opponents of the government and beat and intimidate Cuban and international media.
As much as possible, both nations ought to pursue the normalization of relations, without conditions. Lacking the maturity to do so, it increasingly appears that the only way for such a relationship to grow and develop is for both governments to get out of the way so that people -- individuals, families and organizations -- can move forward in healing this 50-plus-year rift. It's time.