Cuba's New Emerging Market Strategy: Has the United States Made Itself Irrelevant?
Over the last decade Cuba has diversified its international economic relations, building its trade and investment ties with China, Brazil, Russia, and Venezuela while also maintaining relations with Canada, Mexico, and Europe.
From the slashing of something like a million jobs from the state payroll to announced plans to allow for the sale and purchase of real estate, Cuba has struggled to enact reforms that would improve productivity and adapt the island’s economy to the major opportunities as well as challenges posed by globalization.
In the United States, meanwhile, the political divisions over how to respond to changes within Cuba remain as deep as ever. The Obama administration has taken small steps to loosen travel restrictions and enhance remittances; but even these modest changes have evoked a furious reaction in Congress.
What are the diplomatic and economic motivations behind each of these new economic partnerships? Critically, can a south-south emerging market strategy offer a new vision for the Cuban economy and pull it out of its low-investment, low-growth trap? And what does Cuba's south-south strategy mean for US policies toward Cuba?