Last year during my PubD Latin America class, we focused heavily on the Public Diplomacy efforts of Cuba. For a country with such limited resources, Cuba has successfully used its “Human Capital” (i.e. Doctors and Teachers) to export abroad as a means of establishing better relations and obtaining goods and services.
In 1990, Cuba had 1 developmental aid worker abroad for every 228 of its inhabitants contrasted with the United States having 1 developmental international aid worker for every 35,760 inhabitants. To put it bluntly, the country has had an economic stagnation and an average salary of around $20 an month, YET, has still managed to survive. Public diplomacy can explain a great deal of this, which I cover in my paper here.
The other day, the Cuban Government abducted and beat up two dissident bloggers. While the Cuban Gov’t has been silent on this issue, the Int’l community has rallied against this crackdown on human rights and free speech. For a country that wants change on the 47 Yr. old US embargo, this is an incredibly damaging incident for Cuban PD, especially given the concessions the Obama administration has already made. In light of the criticisms the USG has already made about human rights conditions in Cuba, this almost insures that US/Cuban relations will move along sluggishly.