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“If I’m fortunate enough to become the next president, it is my expectation that Fidel Castro will finally be taken off this planet,” Mitt Romney told to a group of Cuban exiled and political leaders in Miami on January. With this short sentence he showed the world that he is not willing to conceive of Cuba as a friend, as long as Raul and Fidel Castro are still alive.
It seems that Mitt Romney dreams of a free Cuba and is willing to make his dream come true. He also wants to be everything Obama isn’t, so in the Cuba issue he would follow the same plan. If Obama, at the beginning of his presidency, adopted an appeasement strategy, Romney in his campaign assured he would harden the sanctions against Cuba if he is elected president. His plans are clear: the embargo would come to an end when Cuba is free, and free means with the Castro’s out of sight. It is clear that he wants the Cuban community’s support for presidential election.
But in these hard economic times, this strategy may not attract as many Cuban voters as he expects. Cubans are decisive in a crucial state like Florida. Most politicians try to gain their support by criticizing Castro, because most of their ancestors escaped the island when the Castro regime started in 1959. But in this period of crisis, most Cuban voters just think about the economy as their priority. Maybe in a time of prosperity, the priority of the Cuban voters will be the position of the presidential candidate over their country, but not in these hard times.
But Mitt Romney has bigger plans than the Cuban community support. He wants the entire Latin community support; he reassured citizens that he is interested in Latin American issues and clearly expressed the route that he will follow, referring to the relations with the different Latin American governments, if he is elected president. Romney believes that Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela and declared enemy of the United States, and Fidel Castro are serious threats for the United States.
That leaves the country members of ALBA (The Bolivian Alliance for the People of Our America), an alliance proposed by Chavez as an alternative to the FTA (Free Trade Area of the Americas, proposed by the United States) without hope of having good relations with the United States in the nearby future.
But Romney may not be the biggest threat toward Chavez. His real enemy is his sickness.Although president Chavez real health condition is a mystery; the fact is, he hasn’t been present in Venezuela during the last months, and it is very difficult to run a country and win an election just by Twitter. Chavez’s health will be a crucial issue during the next months because it will condition the relationship between the United States and Latin America. Also, if Venezuela falls, it is almost certain that Cuba would fall, because Venezuela is the country’s stronger economic supporter.
The future of the United States and Latin America is a mystery. We still have many questions without an answer, like if Romney would be elected president or if Chavez’ health would make him able to compete in the October elections against Henrique Capriles. All these answers are crucial and would determine the future of the continent.
Image Courtesy of Gage Skidmore