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Cuba Policy: Time for a Change? (Not So Fast!)

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" -- and he's also expected to sit in on the president's daily national-security briefing, as well as certain Cabinet meetings, as his busy schedule permits. Walt?"

"Thanks, Marcia -- that's going to be one very plugged-in pooch. More of our exclusive coverage of that new White House puppy coming up at the top of the hour, and of course, you'll want to catch tonight's prime-time special, 'Bo on the Go,' at 9 Eastern, 8 Central. Some great insights there, I'm sure. Kyra?"

"Thanks, Walt. Well, the White House isn't the only building in Washington where big changes are taking place these days. Our own intrepid Lara has burrowed her way into a rarely viewed corner of the Nation's Capital, where she's standing by with a gentleman who may be less than thrilled with some of the latest diplomatic announcements from the White House. Lara?"

"That's right, Kyra. It took two elevators, a final flight of stairs, and a long walk down a darkened hallway, but we've finally made it through the door of the State Department's Division of Antiquated Policies. It's an unmarked door, naturally, and behind it sits one of official Washington's least-known operations. I'm here with the director of the division, Mr. -- "

"I'd rather you keep that confidential. You never know who might be watching."

"Actually, we're hoping there are lots of people watching -- that's the whole idea!"

"Well, that's your whole idea. My whole idea may be a little bit different."

"I see. You and your colleagues haven't had much of a public profile these past few years, and -- "

"We really prefer it that way."

"Got it. Which is why we're so grateful you were willing to let us make this visit and bring our cameras along. Now, I understand that literally for decades, this has been the lead office for U.S. policy toward Cuba."

"Absolutely. And we're very proud of the progress we've made in preventing any progress from being made."

"No diplomatic dealings, a trade embargo, strict limits on visits by Americans -- "


"Basically trying to isolate Cuba from the rest of the world, with the goal of toppling the Castro regime."


"That must be pretty frustrating."

"Not at all. We think we've been very successful in our efforts."

"Excuse me, but I'm not sure how you can say that. Fidel Castro came to power in 1959, and -- "

" -- in 1959, he was a young and energetic man of 32. And now, 50 years later, he's a feeble old man of 82."

"And that was your doing?"

"Do you have a better explanation?"

"And the fact that they're still running things? That Raul -- his brother, Raul -- is still in charge?"

"He's no spring chicken either."

"But how does it -- you realize, of course, that we've been talking to China for years and years. We're talking to the Syrians. We've even begun talking to the Iranians!"

"That's right. We used to have a much bigger portfolio here at DoAP, but ignoring countries the United States doesn't like just seems to have fallen out of favor lately -- I can't tell you why."

"Because it doesn't work?"

"So we're concentrating on Cuba. We're still the lead office on Cuba, of course, and we're still keeping things locked up good and tight down there."

"Then you haven't heard?"

"Heard what?"


Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist. You can write to him at