USIS Washington 

19 February 1999


(Council on Foreign Relations task force report)  (9200)
By Bernard W. Aronson and William D. Rogers

USIA has obtained permission for republication/translation of the
following text by USIS/press outside the United States. On the title
page, credit authors and carry:
Copyright (c) 1999 by the Council on Foreign Relations (R), Inc. All
Rights Reserved.

(begin text)

By Bernard W. Aronson and William D. Rogers

I.  Introduction

In reviewing U.S. policy toward Cuba, this Task Force is well aware
that we are undertaking one of the most difficult and perhaps
thankless tasks in American foreign policy. Our domestic debate about
Cuba has been polarized and heated for decades, but this report seeks
to build new common ground and consensus with hope and confidence.
What shapes our recommendations is a sense that U.S.-Cuban relations
are entering a new era. We have tried to analyze the nature of this
new era, understand the American national interest vis-a-vis Cuba at
this time, and develop an approach to Cuba policy that avoids the
polarization of the past.

We have not tackled every outstanding issue. Instead, we have elected
to try to break the current logjam, by proposing new steps that we
hope can elicit broad bipartisan consideration. Some will find our
recommendations too conservative; others will argue that our proposals
will strengthen the current Cuban regime. We hope and trust, instead,
that these proposals will promote U.S. interests and values by
hastening the day when a fully democratic Cuba can reassume a
friendly, normal relationship with the United States.

Too often, discussions of U.S. policy toward Cuba start from the
position that the policy over the last four decades has been a
failure. Both opponents and supporters of the embargo sometimes
embrace this conclusion as a starting point and then urge either
jettisoning the embargo because it is counterproductive and a failure
or tightening the embargo to increase its effectiveness.

We believe that U.S. policy toward Cuba throughout the Cold War sought
to achieve many goals, ranging from the overthrow of the current
regime to the containment of the Soviet empire. Not all these goals
were achieved. Cuba remains a highly repressive regime where the basic
human rights and civil liberties of the Cuban people are routinely
denied and repressed. Indeed, in its annual report issued in December
1998, Human Rights Watch said that Cuba has experienced "a
disheartening return to heavy-handed repression." Still, we believe
that U.S. policy toward Cuba, including the embargo, has enjoyed real
though not total success.

The dominant goal of U.S. policy toward Cuba during the Cold War was
to prevent the advance of Cuban-supported communism in this hemisphere
as part of an overall global strategy of containing Soviet communism.
There was a time in this hemisphere when the danger of Cuban-style
communism threatened many nations in Latin America, when many young
people, academics and intellectuals looked to Cuba as a political and
economic model, and when Cuban-supported violent revolutionary groups
waged war on established governments from El Salvador to Uruguay.

That time is gone, and no informed observer believes it will reappear.
Cuban communism is dead as a potent political force in the Western
Hemisphere today. Democracy is ascendant in the Western Hemisphere,
however fragile and incomplete it remains in some nations. Today,
electoral democracy is considered the only legitimate form of
government by the member states of the Organization of American States
(OAS), and they are formally committed to defend it.

A 1998 Defense Intelligence Agency analysis concluded that Cuba no
longer poses a threat to our national security. Cuba's Caribbean
neighbors are normalizing their relations with Cuba not because they
fear Cuban subversion, but in part because they understand that Cuban
ideological imperialism no longer constitutes a regional force. The
emergence of democracy throughout the hemisphere, the loss of Soviet
support, sustained U.S. pressure, and Cuba's own economic woes forced
the Cuban regime to renounce its support of armed revolutionary
groups. Containment has succeeded, and the era when it needed to be
the organizing principle of U.S. foreign policy toward Cuba has ended.

Throughout the Cold War the United States sought either to induce
Fidel Castro to introduce democratic political reforms or to promote
his replacement as head of the Cuban state. We believe support for
democracy should be our central goal toward Cuba. But we believe the
time has come for the United States to move beyond its focus on Fidel
Castro, who at 72 will not be Cuba's leader forever, and to
concentrate on supporting, nurturing, and strengthening the civil
society that is slowly, tentatively, but persistently beginning to
emerge in Cuba today beneath the shell of Cuban communism.

This is not a repudiation of our policy of containment but its natural
evolution. As George F. Kennan wrote, containment was not simply a
strategy to limit the influence of communism in the world. In his 1947
Foreign Affairs article, Kennan argued that communism, as an economic
system, required the continuous conquest of new resources and
populations to survive. Once bottled up, communist systems will decay.
Its poor economic performance and its frustration of the natural human
desire for freedom make communism a doomed system if it cannot expand.
Communism's collapse across Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union
triumphantly vindicated Kennan's views.

The processes of decay that Kennan foresaw for the Soviet Union after
containment are already far advanced in Cuba. The Cuban economy
contracted significantly after Soviet subsidies ended. Cuba has
legalized the dollar, tolerated modest small business development,
however limited, and sought foreign investment in tourism to attract
desperately needed foreign exchange.

The Cuban government's formidable instruments of repression keep open
dissenters marginalized, but the poverty and repression of daily life
for most Cubans, combined with the affluence they see among foreign
tourists and Cubans with access to hard currency, are steadily eating
away at the foundations of Cuba's system. John Paul II's extraordinary
visit to Cuba in January of 1998 revealed a deep spiritual hunger in
Cuba and massive popular support for the Cuban church. The regime has
lost the struggle for the hearts and minds of Cuba's youth, few of
whom long for a future under Cuban-style "socialism." Indeed, we
believe that in both civil society and, increasingly, within
middle-level elements of the Cuban elite, many Cubans understand that
their nation must undergo a profound transformation in order to
survive and succeed in the new globalized economy and in today's
democratic Western Hemisphere.

Cubans on the island also know well that while they remain citizens of
an impoverished nation, struggling to meet the daily necessities of
life more than 40 years after the revolution, Cubans and
Cuban-Americans one hundred miles to the north are realizing great
economic and professional achievements. This peaceful majority of
Cuban-Americans in the United States, by demonstrating that freedom,
capitalism, and respect for human dignity can allow ordinary people to
achieve their full potential, is helping erode the Cuban regime's
domestic credibility.

Almost every person in Cuba knows someone who lives in the United
States. Increased contact between Cubans on the island and their
friends and relations in the United States -- a central goal of U.S.
policy since the 1992 passage of the Cuban Democracy Act -- may have
done more to weaken the Cuban government than any other single factor
since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

While it is by no means clear how fast change will come in Cuba, there
is no doubt that change will come. The regime has two choices. Both
lead to change. On the one hand, it can open up to market forces,
allowing more Cubans to open small businesses and inviting more
foreign investment to build up the economy. This will relieve Cuba's
economic problems to some extent --with or without a change in U.S.
policy -- but at the cost of undermining the ideological basis of the
Cuban system.

The alternative -- to throttle Cuban small business and keep foreign
investment to a minimum -- will not preserve the status quo in Cuba
either. If Cuba refuses to accept further economic reforms, its
economy will continue to decay, and popular dissatisfaction with the
system will increase. Just as Kennan predicted 50 years ago in the
Soviet case, a communist system forced to live on its own resources
faces inevitable change.

U.S. opposition to Cuban-supported revolution and U.S. support for
democracy and development in this hemisphere played a critical role in
frustrating Cuba's ambitions to extend its economic model and
political influence. With this success in hand, the United States can
now turn to the second stage of its long-term policy on Cuba: working
to create the best possible conditions for a peaceful transition in
Cuba and the emergence of a democratic, prosperous, and free Cuba in
the 21st century.

A look at postcommunist Europe shows us that the end of communism can
lead to many different results -- some favorable, others not so. In
countries like Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary, the end of
communism started a process of democratic and economic development. In
contrast, new governments in much of the former Soviet Union are
ineffective and corrupt. Criminal syndicates dominate some of these
new economies, and ordinary people suffered catastrophic declines in
living standards. In Nicaragua, free elections ended Sandinista rule,
but the successor governments have not yet put the country on the path
to prosperity.

Furthermore, there are many different ways in which communist regimes
can change. In the former Czechoslovakia, the "Velvet Revolution" led
to a peaceful transfer of power. In Romania, the former ruler and his
wife died in a bloody internal struggle.

In Poland, civil society developed within the shell of communism,
enabling Solidarity to strike a bargain with the Communist Party that
provided for a limited period of power-sharing prior to truly free and
fair elections. During this transition, the United States-both the
government and many nongovernmental organizations-actively engaged
with and supported Poland's emerging civil society, from the Catholic
Church and human rights groups to the Polish trade union movement.
Simultaneously, while the U.S. government directly supported Poland's
emerging civil society, it also offered the carrot of relaxing
existing sanctions to persuade the military regime to release
political prisoners and open space for free expression of ideas and
political activity.

As a unique society with its own history and social dynamics, Cuba
will find its own solution to the problem posed by its current
government. The United States cannot ordain how Cuba will make this
change, but U.S. policy should create conditions that encourage and
support a rapid, peaceful, democratic transition.

The United States has learned something else about transitions. Some
who formerly served the old regimes, whether through conviction,
opportunism, or necessity, have become credible and constructive
members of the newly emerging democratic governments and societies.
The Polish armed forces -- which enforced martial law against
Solidarity in the early 1980s -- are now a trusted NATO partner.
Throughout Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union,
officials who once served the communist system became valuable,
democratic-minded members of new, free societies. Some former
communist parties reorganized themselves on democratic lines in Italy
as well as in Eastern and Central Europe -- and now play key roles as
center-left parties in constitutional democracies.

This experience allows the United States to approach Cuba today with
more flexibility than in the past. Some who today serve the Cuban
government as officials may well form part of a democratic transition
tomorrow. Indeed, enabling and encouraging supporters of the current
system to embrace a peaceful democratic transition would significantly
advance both U.S. and Cuban interests in the region.

The American national interest would be poorly served if Cuba's
transition leads to widespread chaos, internal violence, divisive
struggles over property rights, increased poverty, and social unrest
on the island. An additional danger for the United States would arise
if chaos and instability led to uncontrolled mass migration into the
United States. Having tens or hundreds of thousands of desperate
Cubans fleeing across the Florida Straits would create both
humanitarian and political emergencies for the United States. Civil
strife in Cuba would also have serious consequences for the United
States, including potential pressures for the United States to
intervene militarily.

On the other hand, the benefits to the United States of a peaceful,
democratic and prosperous Cuba would be substantial. A democratic Cuba
has the potential to be a regional leader in the Caribbean in the
fight against drug trafficking and money laundering. As a trading
partner, Cuba would be a significant market for U.S. agricultural,
industrial, and high-tech goods and services. A reviving tourist
industry in Cuba will create tens of thousands of jobs in the United
States. Working together, the United States, Cuba, and other countries
in the region can protect endangered ecosystems like the Caribbean's
coral reefs, cooperate on air/sea rescues and hurricane prediction,
and develop new plans for regional integration and economic growth.

Finally, the growth of a stable democratic system in Cuba will permit
the resumption of the friendship between Cubans and U.S. citizens, a
friendship that has immeasurably enriched the culture of both
countries. The estrangement between Cuba and the United States is
painful for both countries; a return to close, friendly, and
cooperative relations is something that people of goodwill in both
countries very much want to see.

II.  Task Force Recommendations and Current Policy

With the end of the Cold War, substantial strains on the Cuban
economy, and the end of Cuban support for armed revolutionary
movements in the Western Hemisphere, U.S. policy toward Cuba has
evolved through the 1990s. The 1992 Cuban Democracy Act (CDA) both
strengthened economic sanctions against the Castro regime and
authorized the president to implement a range of measures to promote
exchanges and contacts between Americans and Cubans and take
unspecified measures "to support the Cuban people." Following passage
of the CDA, the administration reached an agreement with Cuba to
restore direct phone service between the two countries, permitted the
opening of news bureaus in Havana and began to ease travel
restrictions for scholars, artists, and others. At the same time, the
CDA tightened the embargo by blocking trade between third-country U.S.
subsidiaries and Cuba. In 1994 and 1995 the United States and Cuba
signed immigration accords under whose terms 20,000 Cuban citizens are
allowed to emigrate to the United States each year, including up to
5,000 Cubans per year who qualify as political refugees. Cubans
attempting to enter the United States irregularly are returned to

In 1996, following the downing by Cuban MIGs of two American planes
and the death of three American citizens and one Cuban legal resident,
the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act (popularly known as
Helms-Burton) passed Congress and was signed into law by the
president. The new law further defined U.S. policy toward Cuba. Title
I seeks to strengthen international sanctions against the Cuban
government through a variety of diplomatic measures. Title II
delineates the conditions under which the president may provide direct
assistance for and otherwise relate to a new or transitional
government in Cuba. (1) Title III further internationalizes the
embargo by exposing foreign investment in nationalized Cuban
properties to the risk of legal challenge in American courts by former
American property owners, including individuals who at the time of
confiscation were Cuban nationals but who have since become U.S.
citizens. A provision of the law allows the president to prevent legal
action in the courts by exercising a waiver of Title III every six
months. Title IV denies entry into the United States to executives
(and their family members) of companies who invest in properties
confiscated from persons who are now U.S. citizens.

In the aftermath of the 1996 attack on U.S. civilian planes, the
administration tightened sanctions against Cuba, including suspending
direct flights from Miami to Havana. The administration continued to
exercise its semi-annual waiver authority, preventing American
citizens from taking legal action pursuant to Title III of

U.S. policy evolved following John Paul II's historic visit to Cuba in
January 1998, as a bipartisan consensus began to emerge in the
Congress and the executive to explore ways to increase the flow of
humanitarian aid to the Cuban people. On March 20, 1998, the
administration restored daily charter flights and renewed the right of
Cuban-Americans to send remittances to family members on the island.
Tensions between the two countries remain, however. In September 1998,
the United States arrested ten Cuban citizens in connection with an
alleged spy ring operating in South Florida. In relation to those
arrests, in December 1998 the United States expelled three diplomats
at the Cuban mission to the United Nations.

In spite of these continuing problems, we favor increasing
people-to-people contact between American and Cuban citizens and with
Cuban civil society and further facilitating the donation and
distribution of humanitarian aid. Building on the provisions of
existing law and policy that opened the doors to these wider contacts,
our recommendations call for substantially stepped-up people-to-people
contact and intensified and decentralized humanitarian relief efforts.
We believe that beneath the surface of Cuban communism a modest
transition has begun, both in the attitudes of many Cubans living on
the island and in emerging church, civic, and small-scale private
sector activities. Clearly, the challenge to U.S. policy is to
encourage and support this inevitable transition.

III.  Framework of Recommendations

While we no longer expect Cuban communism to survive indefinitely or
spread, it should remain a clear objective of U.S. policy neither to
support nor to appear to support the current regime. A broad,
bipartisan consensus in the United States now exists that the U.S.
government should use its influence to support democratic development
throughout the Americas. This recognition is axiomatic in U.S. foreign
policy and remains the cornerstone of U.S. efforts to promote regional
economic integration. The Cuban dictatorship merits no exception to
U.S. policy in the Western Hemisphere. This is the first principle
that guided us in developing our recommendations:

No change in U.S. policy toward Cuba should have the primary effect of
consolidating or legitimizing the status quo on the island. On the
other hand, every aspect of U.S. foreign and economic policy toward
Cuba should be judged by a very pragmatic standard: whether it
contributes to rapid, peaceful, democratic change in Cuba while
safeguarding the vital interests of the United States.

IV.  Summary of Recommendations

Our recommendations come in five baskets. Under "The Cuban-American
Community," we make proposals to increase contacts between
Cuban-Americans and their friends and families on the island. Under
"The Open Door," we propose additional measures to increase contacts
between U.S. and Cuban citizens and to open the windows and doors to
the world that the current Cuban regime has nailed shut. Under
"Humanitarian Aid," the third basket, we offer proposals to assist the
victims of the Cuban regime, including both Cuban-Americans and people
still on the island. Our fourth basket, "The Private Sector," sets
forth criteria for a gradual introduction of U.S. economic activities
in Cuba to support the recommendations in the first three baskets of
proposals. A fifth basket of "National Interest" recommendations makes
specific proposals for addressing particular problems that involve
U.S. national interests. In general, most of these changes can be
initiated unilaterally by the United States and will not require
bilateral negotiations with the Cuban regime. The Task Force proposals
go well beyond current administration policy with respect to
people-to-people contact and humanitarian aid. However, in the case of
the private-sector recommendations, the full implementation of these
proposals requires changes in Cuban policy and law.

Some of us would propose more sweeping changes, such as unilaterally
lifting the embargo and all travel restrictions; others vehemently
oppose this step. We do not dismiss these debates, but we chose in
this report not to engage in them. U.S. policy must build a bipartisan
consensus to be effective. Therefore, we have consciously sought new
common ground.

A. Basket One:  The Cuban-American Community

Cuban-American remittances to friends, families, and churches in Cuba
are estimated by various sources at between $400 million and $800
million annually. However measured, this is the island's largest
single source of hard currency. While it is perfectly normal for
developing countries to receive remittances, in the Cuban political
context the dependence on U.S. dollars sent home by Cuban-Americans is
a humiliating badge of failure. Cuba has become a charity case,
dependent on handouts from those it has persecuted, oppressed, or
driven away by poverty.

Some voices in the United States argue that, by enhancing
hard-currency holdings in Cuba, remittances prop up the current regime
and prolong the island's agony. This argument is not without merit,
but, on balance, we disagree. First, we share a basic moral and
humanitarian concern over easing the suffering of Cuba's people.
Moreover, the success of the Cuban-American community is one of the
most powerful factors in promoting change in Cuba. The transfers of
money, goods, and medical supplies from Cuban-Americans to friends,
family, and religious communities in Cuba are helping create a new
group of Cubans who no longer depend on the state for their means of

Remittances from Cuban-Americans help create small businesses in Cuba
and allow hundreds of thousands of Cubans to improve their lives
independent of government control. Furthermore, Cuban-Americans will
play an important role in the construction of a post-communist Cuba.
Their national and global contacts, understanding of market economies,
and professional skills will give them a vital role as a bridge
between the United States and Cuba when Cuba rejoins the democratic

Cuban-American Community Recommendations

1. End Restrictions on Humanitarian Visits. We recommend an end to all
restrictions on the number of humanitarian visits that Cuban-Americans
are permitted to make each year. The federal government should not be
the judge of how often Cuban-Americans, or any other Americans, need
to visit relatives living abroad.

2. Raise Ceiling on Remittances. Under current regulations, only
Cuban-Americans are permitted to send up to $1,200 per year to family
members on the island. We recommend that the ceiling on annual
remittances be increased to $10,000 per household and that all U.S.
residents with family members living in Cuba should be permitted to
send remittances to their family members at this level on a trial
basis for 18 months. This policy should continue if the executive, in
consultation with Congress, concludes at the trial period's end that
the Cuban regime has not enacted tax or other regulatory policies to
siphon off a significant portion of these funds, and that this policy
furthers the foreign policy interests of the United States.

3. Allow Retirement to Cuba for Cuban-Americans. We recommend that
retired and/or disabled Cuban-Americans be allowed to return to Cuba
if they choose, collecting Social Security and other pension benefits
to which they are entitled in the United States, and be granted
corresponding banking facilities.

4. Promote Family Reunification. Many members of the Cuban-American
community are concerned about the difficulty their family members in
Cuba encounter in getting U.S. visas for family visits. While
commending the efforts of the overworked consular staff in Havana, we
believe it is important that Cuban-Americans receive and be seen to
receive fair and courteous treatment. We recommend that the State
Department and Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) make every
effort in processing requests at the U.S. Interests Section in Havana
to insure that Cuban citizens wishing to visit family members in the
United States face no higher hurdle in obtaining visas than that faced
by family members in other countries wishing to visit relatives in
this country. We recommend that State Department and INS officials
meet regularly with representatives of the Cuban-American community to
discuss ways to expedite the determination of eligibility for family
visits to the United States. Later in this report, we recommend an
expansion of U.S. consular services in Cuba.

5. Restore Direct Mail Service. The 1992 Cuban Democracy Act grants
the president the authority to authorize direct mail service between
the United States and Cuba. We recommend that representatives of the
U.S. and Cuban postal services meet to begin restoring direct mail
service between the two countries.

B. Basket Two: The Open Door

Since the passage of the 1992 Cuban Democracy Act, U.S. law has
recognized that spreading accurate and fair information about the
outside world in Cuba is an important goal of American foreign policy.
The lack of information about events in Cuba has also enabled the
Cuban regime to persecute its own people with little fear that
foreigners will come to their support-or in some cases, even know what
the Cuban government is doing. Whether through Radio Marti, restoring
direct telephone service, or promoting cultural and academic
exchanges, the United States has consistently sought to increase the
access of Cubans to news and information from abroad.

We believe the time has come to significantly upgrade and intensify
these efforts. The Cuban people are hungry for American and world
culture, for contacts with scholars and artists from other countries,
for opportunities to study abroad, for new ideas and fresh
perspectives. U.S. policy should encourage these exchanges and
encounters through every available measure.

Open Door Recommendations

1. Facilitate Targeted Travel. Despite bureaucratic obstacles erected
by both governments, the exchange of ideas remains one of the most
promising areas for genuinely fruitful people-to-people contact. Since
1995, the United States has significantly cut the red tape surrounding
academic exchanges. We commend that trend and urge the further
reduction of restrictions on academic (undergraduate, graduate, and
postgraduate) and other exchanges. We recommend that, following a
one-time application, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)
grant a "permanent specific license" to all Americans with a
demonstrable professional or other serious interest in traveling to
Cuba for the purpose of engaging in academic, scientific,
environmental, health, cultural, athletic, religious, or other
activities. The presumption would be that these applications would
normally and routinely receive approval. (2)

In 1994 the Congress passed a Sense of Congress resolution stating
that "the President should not restrict travel or exchanges for
informational, educational, religious, cultural or humanitarian
purposes or for public performances or exhibitions between the United
States and any other country." At the same time, congressional policy
toward Cuba has increasingly focused on opening opportunities for
meaningful encounters between American and Cuban citizens. Thus, we
recommend that OFAC grant easily renewable multiple-entry special
licenses to travel agencies and nongovernmental organizations for
structured travel programs available to groups and individuals for the
purposes enumerated by Congress. Individual participants in such
travel would visit Cuba under the organizing agency's license.

This recommendation is formulated to facilitate a more open
relationship between Cubans and Americans, not to support a Cuban
tourism industry currently built on a system that prevents foreign
employers from hiring and paying workers fairly and directly and
denies Cuban citizens access to facilities designated exclusively for
foreigners. When and if employers are able to hire and pay their
workers directly, and when the system of "apartheid tourism" ends, we
recommend the United States consider permitting leisure travel.

2. Allow More Private Visits of Certain Cuban Officials to the United
States. The United States currently denies visas for travel to the
United States by Cuban officials who rank at the ministerial level and
by the 500 deputies of the National Assembly of People's Power.
Because of the positions they now hold and may assume in the future,
many such individuals are among those we believe should have the
opportunity to interact with Americans, to experience our system
directly, and to witness the vigor and openness of our own public
policy debate. We recommend that the United States lift its blanket
ban on travel to the United States by deputies of the National
Assembly and Cuban cabinet ministers, exercising a presumption of
approval for applications from these officials for travel to the
United States, except for those identified by the State Department who
are credibly believed to have directly and personally participated in
or ordered grave acts of repression that violate international law or
who represent a legitimate security concern to the United States. In
making this recommendation we seek to encourage nongovernmental and
private contacts such as those sponsored by U.S. academic
institutions. We recognize that this recommendation risks greater
penetration of the United States by Cuban intelligence agencies. We
have confidence in the ability of U.S. national security agencies to
guard against this threat, and we believe that the gains far outweigh
the risks. Nevertheless, this danger must be carefully watched and
adjustments in this policy calibrated accordingly.

3. Facilitate Cultural Collaboration and Performances by Americans in
Cuba and by Cubans in the United States. Since the passage of the 1992
Cuban Democracy Act, there has been a significant increase in the
number of Cuban artists, actors and musicians traveling to the United
States. Unfortunately, fewer U.S. performers have traveled to Cuba.
These exchanges and activities are vital to any strategy to end the
cultural isolation of the Cuban people. Through simplified visa and
license procedures and other mechanisms, the U.S. government should
encourage an increase in these programs. We applaud efforts to date to
support such initiatives and recommend further that the United States
encourage collaboration between American and Cuban artists and allow
transactions for the creation of new cultural and/or artistic
products. Cuban artists performing in the United States today are only
allowed to receive modest per diem payments to cover living expenses.
We recommend that Cuban artists performing in the United States be
allowed to receive freely negotiated fees from their American hosts.
Similarly, American artists performing in Cuba should be eligible to
be paid for their work at reasonable negotiated rates.

4. Protect and Share Intellectual Property. Currently, Cuba
systematically pirates significant amounts of U.S. cultural and
intellectual property, ranging from Hollywood movies broadcast on
Cuban television to computer software used throughout the island. Cuba
refuses to consider paying for this illegal use of intellectual
property, citing the U.S. embargo as an excuse. This creates an
awkward situation for the United States. On the one hand, our interest
in opening Cuba to outside influences leads us to encourage and even
facilitate Cuba's access to U.S. and other foreign films, cultural
materials, and political and economic literature. On the other hand,
the U.S. government cannot condone theft from U.S. citizens and
corporations. Furthermore, we must ensure that Cuba does not become an
international center for the illegal production and redistribution of
pirated intellectual property. We therefore propose that the United
States allow and encourage U.S. companies and artists to guarantee and
protect their trademarks and copyrights and to negotiate permission
for Cuba to use their products. We recommend that the U.S. government
license and approve these transactions and authorize companies to
spend funds obtained through these settlements for filming, recording,
translation, or other legitimate cultural activities in Cuba.
Likewise, we encourage both governments to regularize and comply with
domestic and international trademark and copyright protection regimes.

5. Pioneer "Windows on the World." Successful transitions to
multiparty systems and market and mixed market economies in Eastern
Europe, Spain, Portugal and Latin America may offer constructive
guideposts to help Cuba's transition occur in as benign a manner as
possible. To that end, the United States should pioneer the creation
of a merit-based program for Cubans to study in American universities
and technical training institutes. The program should include sending
professionals with technical expertise to advise Cuba in the
development of institutional mechanisms to support the emergence of
small businesses and private farms as well. In addition, we recommend
that the United States Information Agency (USIA) invite Cuban
government officials (except those excluded as defined in Basket Two,
Number Two) and scholars for its programs that bring foreign citizens
to meet with their peers in and out of government in the United
States. We further recommend that funds be made available from various
public and independent sources, such as the National Endowment for the
Arts, the National Endowment for Humanities, the National Endowment
for Democracy, the Fulbright scholarship program, and from private
foundations for university and other programs to support national,
regional, and bilateral research activities involving Cuba. This
includes support for new acquisitions by Cuban libraries. In addition,
we recommend that the United States encourage and facilitate direct
funding of in-country activities by private foundations so that their
grant-making activities can include direct support to Cuban research
institutions and community organizations. We recommend that the U.S.
government consult with foundation officers and others with expertise
in this field in order to determine a fair and feasible approach. We
note with concern that some academic and other nongovernmental
institutions, citing pressure from the Cuban government, have barred
Cuban-Americans from participating in existing exchange programs.
Discrimination based on ethnicity or place of origin is a violation of
U.S. civil rights laws. All organizations participating in exchanges
or other activities with Cuba should state clearly that in compliance
with U.S. law, they will not discriminate against participants based
on age, race, gender, or national origin.

6. Permit Direct Commercial Flights. We recommend that the OFAC
authorize and license direct commercial flights to Cuba. Current
regulations authorize daily direct charter flights between Miami and
Havana. It is not in the U.S. national interest that non-U.S. carriers
capture the entire market of expanding travel to and from Cuba. We
therefore recommend that American commercial airlines begin to open
routes to Havana and perhaps other Cuban cities not only from Miami
but from other major cities and hubs. We recommend also that the
United States and Cuba negotiate a civil aviation agreement to this

7. Amend Spending Limits. Current regulations limit licensed travelers
to Cuba to spending no more than $100 per day, plus transportation and
expenses for the acquisition of informational materials, including
artwork. We recommend that OFAC impose this limit only on spending in
state-owned enterprises and joint ventures.

8. Expand Diplomatic and Consular Services. The recommendations in
this report will greatly increase demands on the U.S. Interests
Section in Cuba. Current U.S. consular services in Cuba should not be
limited to Havana. We recommend, therefore, that the United States
open a subsection of its Havana consular office in Santiago de Cuba, a
step that will also increase our ability to fill the quota of 5,000
slots available for Cuban political refugees each year. We recommend
that the United States negotiate a reciprocal agreement with Cuba that
will allow each country to expand its consular services to accommodate
increased contact between citizens of both countries.

9. Demand Reciprocity in Limitations on Activities by U.S. and Cuban
Diplomats. At present, an imbalance exists wherein American diplomats
in Havana are denied access to government offices, the courts, the
National Assembly, the University and virtually all official Cuban
facilities other than the Ministry of Foreign Relations. The same is
not the case in Washington, where Cuban diplomats freely walk the
halls of Congress, meet with elected representatives, speak at
universities, and otherwise have access to a fairly wide range of
American governmental and nongovernmental representatives. We
recommend that the United States and Cuba discuss a reciprocal
widening of the areas of permitted activities for diplomats in both

C.  Basket Three: Humanitarian Aid

The 1992 Cuban Democracy Act established regulations addressing the
humanitarian needs of the Cuban population. Since then, the economic
crisis has worsened. This basket of recommendations includes
humanitarian measures that will help relieve the suffering of the
Cuban people today while building the basis for a better relationship
between Cuba and the United States in the future.

Humanitarian Aid Recommendations

1. Institute "Cash and Carry" for Foods and Medicines. We applaud the
intention behind recent efforts in the Congress and the executive
branch to facilitate the increased delivery of humanitarian aid to
Cuba. Recognizing that a consensus is emerging to extend humanitarian
aid to benefit the Cuban people directly, we recommend that the
president accelerate and facilitate this process by eliminating all
licensing with respect to donation and sales of food, medicines, and
medical products to nongovernmental and humanitarian institutions such
as hospitals, which are nominally state-run but are not primarily
instruments of repression, while authorizing all necessary financial
transactions for cash payments on a noncredit basis. We recommend that
the State Department issue a specific list of repressive institutions
(3) that are to be excluded as potential aid recipients or buyers. To
further facilitate donations and sales of food, medicines, and medical
products, we recommend that the United States issue licenses to U.S.
private voluntary and religious organizations, nongovernmental
organizations, and businesses to operate distribution centers in Cuba.

2. Promote People-to-People Aid. We support American engagement with a
wide range of civil institutions, particularly those in the private
sector, e.g., the emerging church-run medical clinics and humanitarian
institutions such as hospitals, which are nominally state-run but are
not primarily instruments of repression. With the support and indeed
the encouragement of the Congress, the administration has
significantly widened the opening for Americans to launch
humanitarian, people-to-people programs in Cuba. We encourage American
local governments and nongovernmental organizations to "adopt" their
Cuban counterparts, whether through church, hospital, school,
environmental, or university programs. The United States should
eliminate the need for licenses for humanitarian donations and
shipments, including material aid and cash, and should grant a general
license for related travel. We recommend that the United States impose
no limit on the amount of material donations under such programs,
while requiring a license for cash donations above $10,000 per year by
any one American institution to its Cuban counterpart -- with the
exception of private foundations, for which we recommend waiving that
limit and permitting the grant-making bodies to use their own
institutional criteria to determine in-country funding limits. In the
same spirit as that which underlies the Basket One recommendation
regarding family remittances, we recommend the United States permit
American families to adopt and send remittances to Cuban families of
up to $10,000 per year.

3. Allow Cuban-Americans to Claim Relatives as Dependents. Currently
American citizens with dependent relatives living in Canada and Mexico
can claim them as dependents for federal income tax purposes if they
meet the other relevant IRS requirements. We recommend an amendment to
U.S. tax laws so that American taxpayers with dependents who are
residents of Cuba can also claim this deduction.

4. Provide Benefits for Families of Prisoners of Conscience. Under
current law, the president may extend humanitarian assistance to
victims of political repression and their families in Cuba. We
recommend that the United States encourage our European and Latin
American allies to join with us to provide support and assistance to
family members who, because of their imprisoned relatives' peaceful
political activities, may find themselves denied access to jobs by
Cuban authorities or who have lost the wages of an imprisoned spouse
or parent. If it is not possible to deliver the funds to affected
families in Cuba today, we recommend that the funds be paid into
interest-bearing accounts in the United States and elsewhere, free of
all tax, to accumulate until such time as the intended recipients can

D.  Basket Four: The Private Sector

Private sector, for-profit business activity in Cuba by U.S.
individuals and corporations raises a number of difficult issues. To
take one example, Cuban labor laws currently require foreign investors
to contract Cuban workers indirectly through the Ministry of Social
Security, a violation of internationally recognized labor rights.
While there are some minor exceptions to the rule, the overall result
of these requirements is that the foreign investor pays several
hundred dollars per month per worker, but the worker receives no more
than a few dollars per month. By allowing the Cuban state to control
which Cubans will have access to coveted jobs with foreign investors,
the system also reinforces the Cuban regime's control over the lives
of the Cuban people.

Until a complete settlement of the claims resulting from
nationalization of private property in Cuba is reached, U.S. investors
in Cuba could conceivably end up buying or profiting from nationalized
property; and find their titles or earnings challenged under
international law by the original owners. Many trademark and other
intellectual property problems involve the two countries. Cuba's
insistence that most foreign investment take the form of joint
ventures in which the Cuban government often retains a controlling
interest is another serious problem, as is the incompatibility of
Cuba's legal and financial arrangements with U.S. trade policy.

In formulating our recommendations about private U.S. business in
Cuba, we once again try to walk a middle way. These recommendations
open a door for Cuba progressively to escape some of the consequences
of the embargo-to the extent that the Cuban government gives Cubans
the right to own and operate their own enterprises, allows foreign
companies to hire Cubans directly, and begins to respect basic
internationally recognized labor rights. The recommendations will make
clear to the Cuban people (as well as to other countries) that the
chief obstacle to Cuba's economic progress is not U.S. policy but the
Cuban government's hostility to private property and independent
business, its control of the economy and investment, its persistent
appropriation of the lion's share of the wages of working Cubans, and
its unwillingness to allow companies to pay fair wages to their
employees or permit them to engage in free collective bargaining.

Private Sector Recommendations

1. Begin Licensing Some American Business Activity. We recommend that
four limited categories of American businesses receive licenses to
operate in Cuba. The first category -- already eligible for licensing
-- can generally be described as newsgathering or the procurement of
informational material. The second category relates to supporting
licensed travel, including transportation to and from Cuba and
services to assist the private sector, such as paladares and bed and
breakfasts, in capturing the business resulting from increased
licensed travel. (An example of this type of business would be guides
and Internet registries that provide information for foreign visitors
about private restaurants, bed and breakfasts, car services, and other
private services available in Cuba.) The third category includes
activities related to distribution of humanitarian aid and sales. In
the fourth category are businesses that will facilitate activities
related to culture, including the production of new cultural
materials, the purchase and sale of artworks and other cultural
materials, and the verification of Cuban adherence to intellectual
property rights agreements. These four categories, in our judgment,
provide such clear benefits that we recommend the U.S. government
begin licensing private businesses to operate in all these fields,
each of which involve primarily activities that support objectives
clearly specified in U.S. law. The U.S. government should routinely
license business operations in Cuba restricted to these four areas and
allow the transactions and support services necessary to conduct them.

2. Condition Additional American Business Activity. Beyond these
limited areas, a number of groups have looked at how to structure U.S
business relations in Cuba without reinforcing the status quo. One of
the best known is a set of guidelines known as the Arcos Principles.
Drawing from these and similar efforts such as the Sullivan Principles
in South Africa and the MacBride Principles in Northern Ireland, we
recommend that American businesses demonstrate that they can satisfy
three core conditions before being licensed to invest in Cuba for
activities beyond the four specified above: the ability to hire and
pay Cuban workers directly and not through a government agency; a
pledge by the company to respect workers' internationally recognized
rights of free association; and a pledge by the company not to
discriminate against Cuban citizens in the provision of goods and
services. (The final condition is designed to counter the practice of
"tourism apartheid" in which certain foreign-owned and operated
facilities do not allow Cuban citizens to use their facilities, even
when they have the money to pay.) We would also encourage U.S.
investors -- and indeed all foreign investors in Cuba -- to provide
reading rooms, classes, Internet access, and other on-site facilities
so that their employees can enjoy wider access to the world. If Cuba
should change its labor laws to make compliance with these principles
easier, it would then become much easier for U.S. companies to invest.
For a specific business license to be approved, however, it is enough
for a particular company to demonstrate that it can satisfy the three
criteria listed above.

If and when Cuban law is changed to facilitate compliance with the
core principles outlined above, or if authorities begin to grant
exemptions and waivers on a routine basis, we would recommend that
Congress and the Executive consider broader application of such
licensing. In all cases, licensing a business to operate under these
provisions would in no way reduce the risk of incurring Helms-Burton
penalties for trafficking in confiscated property.

E.  Basket Five: The National Interest

The National Interest Recommendations

1. Conduct Military-to-Military Confidence Building Measures. Both
Presidents Bush and Clinton have stated that the United States has no
aggressive intentions toward Cuba, and the Pentagon has concluded that
Cuba today poses no significant national security threat to the United
States. We believe, therefore, that it is in our national interest to
promote greater ties and cooperation with the Cuban military. We
believe the more confident the Cuban military is that the United
States will not take military advantage of a political or economic
opening, the more likely it is that elements of the Cuban Armed Forces
will tolerate or support such an opening and the less justifiable it
will be to divert public resources from social needs to maintaining a
defense force far beyond the legitimate needs of the nation. We
believe this process should proceed on a step-by-step basis with many
of the initial contacts through civilian agencies, both governmental
and nongovernmental. We also believe it would be useful for the United
States to encourage an opening of relations between militaries in
other nations that have carried out successful transitions from
communist regimes to democratic societies, such as those in Eastern
Europe and, where appropriate, in Latin America. We also recommend
that the Pentagon and State Department initiate conversations with the
Cuban Armed Forces and others to reduce tensions, promote mutual
confidence-building measures, and lay the basis for the improvement of
relations in the future should Cuba move towards a democratic

2. Probe Areas for Counternarcotics Cooperation. Cuba sits at the
center of a substantial drug trade in the Caribbean Basin. Its
neighbor to the east, Haiti, has recently emerged as a major port for
cocaine transit from South America to the United States. Despite the
outstanding indictments against some Cuban officials for alleged drug
trafficking, the Cuban state has both the geographical and
institutional resources to help America fight the war on drugs if the
Cuban regime chooses to do so. In recent years the United States and
Cuba have cooperated on a limited case-by-case basis in
counternarcotics efforts in the Caribbean Basin. We recommend that the
appropriate U.S. government agencies test Cuba's willingness to take
serious steps to demonstrate its good faith in furthering cooperation
in the counternarcotics arena, while protecting the confidentiality of
U.S. intelligence sources and methods. We note that Cuba still harbors
individuals indicted in the United States on serious drug trafficking
charges. Clearly, limited cooperation in this area will depend on a
demonstrated willingness by the Cuban government to seriously address
this issue.

3. Institute Routine Executive Branch Consultations with Congress and
Others on Cuba Policy. We recommend continued and enhanced bipartisan
consultations by the executive branch with Congress and with a broad
range of leaders representing political, social and economic groups in
the Cuban-American, humanitarian, religious, academic and cultural
communities. As we have seen in U.S. policy toward Central America,
and throughout most of the post-Cold War era, a bipartisan consensus
between Congress and the executive is a precondition for sustaining a
long-term, successful U.S. foreign policy initiative.

4. Form a Working Group on the 21st Century. When people in both the
United States and Cuba talk about the future relationship between the
two countries, they often speak of the "normalization of relations."
In fact, the United States and Cuba have not had 'normal' relations
since the United States intervened to end Spanish rule in 1898. Since
the current Cuban regime came to power in 1959, it has employed a
formidable propaganda machine to cloak Cuban nationalism in a banner
of anti-American rhetoric. Cuban schoolchildren are taught to view the
Cuban revolution as the only legitimate guarantor of national
sovereignty and to regard the United States as a constant threat to
Cuba's independence. However opposed the United States has been and
remains to the present Cuban government, the American people have no
interest in intruding upon Cuba's sovereignty, independence, or
national identity. As Cuba inaugurates its second century of
independence, we recommend that the Council on Foreign Relations or
other similar private institution convene a binational working group
of scholars, policy analysts, and others to begin working out an
agenda for a new relationship between the United States and Cuba in
the 21st century, analyzing a range of complex bilateral and regional
issues, including: the resolution of outstanding property claims; the
status of the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay; the implications
for the Western Hemisphere of the restoration of a Cuban sugar quota;
the impact on the Caribbean economy of resuming normal bilateral trade
relations; Cuban participation in the Caribbean Basin Initiative and
the Free Trade Area of the Americas; prospects for Cuba's reentry into
the Organization of American States (OAS); and the integration of Cuba
into the international financial system.

Follow-On Steps: These proposals represent a beginning of what we hope
will become a growing bipartisan policy toward Cuba. We believe that
responsible officials and interested individuals and groups should
monitor the effect of these recommendations, should they be
implemented, and after a reasonable period of time assess whether
changes, modifications, and additional steps are warranted.

1) The impact of Title II on U.S. policy is disputed. When the
president signed Helms-Burton into law, he stated that, "consistent
with the Constitution, I interpret the act as not derogating the
president's authority to conduct foreign policy." Noting that Title II
"could be read to state the foreign policy of the United States," he
announced that he viewed the Title II provisions as "precatory," or as
a petition by the Congress. Many congressional leaders do not support
this view.

2) Current regulations require all individuals wishing to travel to
Cuba (with the exception of journalists who may travel without
government preclearance under a "general license") to apply for a
"specific license," for which applicants must demonstrate a
preestablished legitimate professional or research interest in Cuba.
Persons traveling under a "general license" to Cuba are not required
to clear their plans with the United States government in advance.
They are, however, required to certify at reentry to the United States
that their travel and activities in Cuba conformed to the purposes for
which the licenses are granted; making false statements is a violation
of federal law.

3) For instance, identifying the Ministry of Interior as an excluded
institution would have the effect of excluding fire departments
throughout the island, which in our view are legitimate potential
recipients of aid or purchasers of food and medicine. On the other
hand, the Ministry of Interior is also responsible for running the
Bureau of Prisons, an agency that international human rights groups
regularly charge with engaging in repressive activities. Thus, in
carrying out this recommendation, the State Department should focus
sanctions as specifically as possible on those agencies that are
actually responsible for repressive activities.


The Council on Foreign Relations, Inc., a nonprofit, nonpartisan
national membership organization founded in 1921, is dedicated to
promoting understanding of international affairs through the free and
civil exchange of ideas. The Council's members are dedicated to the
belief that America's peace and prosperity are firmly linked to that
of the world. From this flows the mission of the Council: to foster
America's understanding of its fellow members of the international
community, near and far, their peoples, cultures, histories, hopes,
quarrels and ambitions; and thus to serve, protect, and advance
America's own global interests through study and debate, private and


The Council on Foreign Relations will sponsor an independent Task
Force when 1) an issue of current and critical importance to U.S.
foreign policy arises, and 2) it seems that a group diverse in
backgrounds and perspectives may, nonetheless, be able to reach a
meaningful consensus on a policy through private and nonpartisan
deliberations. Typically, a Task Force meets between two and five
times over a brief period to ensure the relevance of its work.

Upon reaching a conclusion, a Task Force issues a Report, and the
Council publishes its text and posts it on the Council web site. Task
Force Reports can take three forms: 1) a strong and meaningful policy
consensus, with Task Force members endorsing the general policy thrust
and judgments reached by the group, though not necessarily every
finding and recommendation; 2) a Report stating the various policy
positions, each as sharply and fairly as possible; or 3) a "Chairman's
Report," where task force members who agree with the Chairman's Report
may associate themselves with it, while those who disagree may submit
dissenting statements. Upon reaching a conclusion, Task Forces may
also ask individuals who were not members of the task force to
associate themselves with the task force report to enhance its impact.
All Task Force reports "benchmark" their findings against current
administration policy in order to make explicit areas of agreement and
disagreement. The Task Force is solely responsible for its report. The
Council takes no institutional position.

(end text)