Generally, the term “transition” is associated with democracy, but in practice this isn’t always the case. Case in point: the recent appointment of Miguel Díaz-Canel as the “elected” president of Cuba.
The Cuban government’s ideologically-driven operating principle has always been that only the state can define and promote minority interests. The independent LGBTI+ marches in May demonstrated the government’s fear of its citizens’ growing sense of autonomy.
On May 11, Cuba’s LGBTQI community took to the streets of Havana for the island’s annual gay pride parade, despite the government’s ban. But, in responding to protestors with its usual counteroffensive, the state was met with a sort of tropical Stonewall.
Washington can no longer take the Caribbean for granted. That means more than just impotently warning partners south of the hemisphere about China and Russia. Instead it will require more effective diplomacy and economic statecraft.
In recent years, Vladimir Putin’s Russia has become increasingly strategically interested in Latin America. Despite clear geopolitical goals, the Kremlin’s relationship with the region has been marked by pragmatic realpolitik.