Cutting the Shackles of the Past: A Back-Channel Success
This concluding chapter shows how Obama succeeded where others have failed for over a half century to normalize relations with Cuba. Like his predecessors, Obama conducted his back-channel diplomacy with Cuba in extreme secrecy and utilized third-country interlocutors. But unlike his predecessors, Obama took immediate, unilateral steps to normalize relations—without the preconditions his predecessors had demanded of the Cuban government, and without the incremental quid-pro-quo approach that had repeatedly failed in the past. Many political developments, both from within U.S. and Cuban borders, would usher in more favorable conditions for reconciliation. Of all the political elements that made a breakthrough possible, however, one factor trumped the rest: Obama’s own determination to change the policy.
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