In this moment of negotiation with the United States political creativity is being imposed by the Cuban side. To that end prudence and moderation are needed, but at the same time firmness and clarity for the objectives at hand.
Resumed trade and open contact with the Cuban people will empower them to be confident and effective in claiming their right to participate in a Cuba where liberty and honesty can exist, freed from the repressive power of the state.
Americans, who increasingly oppose costly conflict, may come to recognize that the U.S. would be better off with a Cuba and an Iran (without nuclear weapons) as functioning members of the international community.
Let's face it: Cuba has already changed. The moment has come to cease thinking of Cuba as a primitive country frozen in time and to treat its people with the respect they have paid such a high price to attain.
Diplomatic recognition of another country and its government is nothing more than an acknowledgement of its de-facto existence as a nation state, not tantamount to approval of its political system or its policies.
The question now is whether members of Congress will stand up to those who would have them double down on resource denial, which amounts to little more than a costly myth, or if it too will decide instead to empower the Cuban people.
After closing the detention facility, we should explore the possibilities for collective use of Naval Station Guantanamo in addressing the real problems in this hemisphere: poverty, natural disasters, development and narcotics.
Long shot, sure it is; but the risk is worth the gamble; and the results could once again help make cooperation for the future of the Western Hemisphere a hallmark of U.S. leadership and serious progress.
By responding to the call of the international community and public opinion in his own country to restore relations with Cuba, President Obama has probably made the most emblematic decision of his two presidential terms and repaired a fault that dates from another time.