Cuban Council of Ministers Divided Over Peace Negotiations

BY YENA SEO, THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

Following a blockade by the United States Navy that caused immediate damage to the Cuban economy and resulted in millions of citizens going hungry, the Cuban Council of Ministers sought to take quick and effective action against the United States’ embargo. However, the council came short in its efforts, with much disagreement among the ministers on the proper course of action.

The United States positioned ships at the border of Cuba’s territorial waters in retaliation to Cuba’s renewed alliance with Russia. These American ships are now preventing merchant ships from traveling in and out of Cuba, resulting in a massive shortage of food supplies and causing damage to the Cuban shipping business.

Several ministers argued that the most effective solution against the blockade would be to reach out to the international community to put pressure on the United States.

“We should use international organizations to put pressure on the United States such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank,” Minister of Industry Salvador Pardo Cruz said.

Some ministers disagreed, stating that the best course of action was to take a more tangible approach. Ricardo Cabrisas Ruiz, the Vice Chairman, recommended that the Coast Guard send teams and ships to see how many ships the United States had positioned along the border and to determine whether the threat was significant.

The Council of Ministers was split evenly on continuing to arrange peace talks between Russia and the United States. The original recommendation was to host the peace negotiations in Colombia. With increasingly growing tensions between the parties, however, ideas about bringing other actors into the talks were presented.

“A peace talk is the only good idea,” Minister of Finance and Prices Linda Rodriguez asserted. “We should reach out to the Vatican and the Pope, and have talks between Obama, Putin, and the Pope in Colombia.”

Several ministers echoed Rodriguez’s sentiment of bringing in more parties to the peace talks. Bruno Parrilla, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, recommended reaching out to the Organization of American States. Others, however, raised opinions on alternative and additional solutions to the peace negotiations.

“We need to be prepared on what to do in case the peace talk fails, and we need to ask for more supplies,” Ramiro Valdes, Council Vice President, expressed. “We need to ask for more planes, guns and mines, and it is important that we have a directive ready to go after the peace talk occurs.”

Although many ministers were in agreement that Cuba should continue to side with Russia, other ministers were more hesitant, particularly given the new establishment of a Russian military base in Cuba.

“I agree that the end goal is not to combine our ideologies with the United States,” Cruz said. “But we have to accept the reality that Russia has also betrayed us.”

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Cuban Council of Ministers debate over whether to continue engaging in peace talks with Russia and the United States.

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