In This Review

The appearance of this collection of essays in the prestigious Cuban quarterly Temas is itself a small signal that Havana is ready for modest steps toward rapprochement with Washington. The common message of the Cuban, U.S., and Canadian contributors is that both the United States and Cuba bear some responsibility for the decades of tensions and that although neither society is prepared for sudden full normalization, there is much room for mutually advantageous cooperation. Indeed, despite the hostile atmosphere, the two contending states' bureaucracies are already working together on a range of specific matters. The brilliant essay by Temas editor Rafael Hernández, although rooted in a historically informed pessimism, nevertheless proposes enhanced bilateral interactions that, he asserts, need not compromise Cuba's national sovereignty (read: the hegemony of the Cuban Communist Party), a theme echoed by the former senior diplomat Carlos Alzugaray Treto in another essay. Similarly, the economist Jorge Mario Sánchez Egozcue outlines an enticing agenda for future exchanges in the biotechnology, telecommunications, and energy sectors. Hal Klepak, a Canadian, persuasively argues that Washington's and Havana's security establishments -- seeking regional stability -- are agents driving bilateral détente. Harvard's Jorge Domínguez ponders the potential implications for Cuba's internal evolution. (An English translation of the collection, titled Debating U.S.-Cuban Relations, is now available.)