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					  council on hemispheric affairs | | vol. 29, no. 10 | june 5, 2009

            Washington Report on the Hemisphere
                             The Biweekly Source for Western Hemispheric News, Analysis, and Opinion

    Announcing COHA’s Forthcoming Series on                                                                           IN THIS ISSUE
          U.S.-Cuba Bilateral Relations
   In the initial months of the Obama presi-           from their relatives living in the U.S., a much      U.S.-Cuba Series                            1
dency, there has been unprecedented move-              welcome measure for a nation in which the
ment in U.S.-Cuba relations. The nascent               majority of the population lives barely above        El Salvador                                 1
administration has taken steps to dilute the           the destitute poverty line.
strength of the 50-year old embargo against
                                                       Obama’s Opening to Cuba Somewhat                     Tom Shannon                                 3
Cuba through several initiatives. President
Obama recently lifted restrictions preventing                                                               Country Briefs                              8
Cuban-Americans from traveling to the island             Nevertheless, these conciliatory gestures
by issuing an executive memorandum to the              emanating from Washington have failed to            of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,
Secretaries of State, Treasury and Commerce.           bring about the change many Americans and           namely Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN), as well
Family members of Cuban nationals now                  their Latin American counterparts have vocif-       as scores of other legislators, businessmen, agri-
have the liberty of visiting their relatives. In a     erously called for over the last decade in mount-   cultural conglomerates and legions of public
supplementary measure, the administration              ing numbers. COHA has long maintained the           notables. This sterile policy has entirely failed
also loosened the stipulations governing the           position that the U.S. embargo on Cuba is an        in its efforts to bring freedom and democracy to
flow of remittances from Cuban-Americans to            outdated policy that is now also being similarly    the island. Rather, U.S. policy has served to per-
island relatives. Cubans can now receive cash          denounced by ranking republican members
                                                                                                           Cuba Series continues on page 2

                                        Change on the Horizon,
                             but Path for Funes and FMLN as Rough as Ever
   On June 1, Mauricio Funes was inaugurated           tions.” Yet campaign promises can be broken         struggle” in order to bring democracy to El
as president of El Salvador, and will now be con-      as easily as they are made, and it is not assured   Salvador. For the first time in recent memory,
fronted with many of the same grievances that          that these democratic changes will indeed be        Salvadorans will now possess that opportunity.
have perpetually plagued the embattled Cen-            feasible if ARENA is unwilling to compromise.       Yet, Funes may not have to choose the radical
tral American country. His situation, however,                                                             path, especially as the FMLN became more
                                                       An Evolving Political Body
is unique, as he is the first left-leaning president                                                       moderate soon after the political party took
                                                          Funes is a moderate politician who will be
in El Salvador’s tumultuous post-war history.                                                              on its present form at the end of the country’s
                                                       serving in a country that has become increas-
Even though he represents the leftist party                                                                bloody civil war in 1992. The party took their
                                                       ingly polarized with every election. This unique
Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacio-                                                           defeat in the 2004 election as a call for political
                                                       situation has distinguished him from any recent
nal (FMLN), Funes sees himself as a moderate                                                               reform, and has since become somewhat less
                                                       Salvadoran politician and may help him to bet-
in his political views and has high aims for his                                                           radical. While the party is still far from middle
                                                       ter implement his program, as he will likely win
administration. However, the opposition party,                                                             of the road, there is ample reason to believe
                                                       support from both sides of the political spec-
Alianza Republicana Nacionalista (ARENA)                                                                   that it can still be effectively represented by the
                                                       trum. However, Kevin Casas-Zamora, a senior
will heavily scrutinize the expected policy                                                                centrist Funes. He has a chance to demonstrate
                                                       fellow of The Brookings Institution notes
changes and is unlikely to meekly succumb to                                                               that the FMLN has “evolved” from the Marx-
                                                       that in cases when the opposition is strongly
the proposed mitigations. His success in actu-                                                             ist guerrilla movement it was 17 years ago, to
                                                       opposed to FMLN policies, Funes may decide
Description: Celso Amorim, the Brazilian Foreign Minister, vehemently castigated U.S. Cuba policy when he publicly stated that maintaining the U.S. embargo in place in order to generate leverage on Havana is an ineligible argument that carries no intellectual credibility. [...] lifting the embargo would help to improve the quality of life for Cubans by opening the country to trade and foreign investment; this would also facilitate bilateral trade opportunities with the U.S., an invaluable market for any exporting nation.
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