When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

eyes on the U.S.

Diplomacy's Ripest Prize Hangs From Havana To Miami

Polls show most Americans want U.S. ties with Cuba normalized, even as the forces still hold strong among those who prefer the status quo. Time may have come for change.

Don't look back
Don't look back
Daniel Pacheco

The world of politics and diplomacy has its prizes, hanging like ripe fruit and just waiting to be picked — that is, if the thorns around them can be avoided.

Ending the civil war in Colombia is one such prize, which has scratched and cut quite a few political hands along the way. But there is no more prized fruit in the Americas now than the normalization of ties between the United States and Cuba. It remains a blank page of history, waiting to display somebody’s name for posterity.

Cuba — with its 11 million inhabitants — has had more impact on modern history than any other American state except the United States. It was the Soviet Union’s vehicle of influence on practically all the continent’s rebellions in the 20th century. Tense relations with the United States — and flashpoints like the 1962 missile crisis — led the U.S. to impose a crippling embargo and turn Cuba into a pariah state.

The embargo continues some 25 years after the fall of the Iron Curtain, and change remains elusive. U.S. Senator Jeff Flake, a Republican who would end the embargo, recently said the White House called him to explain why nothing could be tried for now with Cuba. He was given one word: Florida.

Yet he observed last week that a poll commissioned by the think tank Atlantic Councilshowed that 57% of U.S. citizens favored a change of policy toward Cuba. In Florida, that number is 63%. Indeed a “silent’ majority of Republicans are said to favor ending the embargo.

Certainly, ending this isolation would be a slap in the face to those who want to paint democracy in strokes of black and white. Radical Republicans in Florida, cowardly bureaucrats in Washington, extremists on the Right and the Left — in Colombia, Havana or Caracas — would then have to watch the collapse of a storyline they use to spread fear.

To the megalomaniac and self-perpetuating leaders, one can only say that the fruit is ripe for picking, and it’s hanging lower than you may think.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

Sources

Indigenous Women Of Ecuador Set Example For Sustainable Agriculture

In southern Ecuador, a women-led agricultural program offers valuable lessons on sustainable farming methods, but also how to end violence.

Photo of women walking in Ecuador

Women walking in Guangaje Ecuador

Camila Albuja

SARAGURO — Here in this corner of southern Ecuador, life seems to be like a mandala — everything is cleverly used in this ancestral system of circular production. But the women of Saraguro had to fight and resist to make their way of life, protecting the local water and the seeds. When weaving, the women share and take care of each other, also weaving a sense of community.

With the wrinkled tips of her fingers, Mercedes Quizhpe, an indigenous woman from the Kichwa Saraguro people, washes one by one the freshly harvested vegetables from her garden. Standing on a small bench, with her hands plunged into the strong torrent of icy water and the bone-chilling early morning breeze, she checks that each one of her vegetables is ready for fair day. Her actions hold a life of historical resistance, one that prioritizes the care of life through the defense of territory and food sovereignty.

Mercedes' way of life is also one that holds many potential lessons for how to do agriculture and tourism better.

In the province of Loja, work begins before sunrise. At 5:00 a.m., the barking of dogs, the guardians of each house, starts. There is that characteristic smell of damp earth from the morning dew. Sheep bah uninterruptedly through the day. With all this life around, the crowing of early-rising roosters doesn't sound so lonely.

Keep reading...Show less

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

The latest