If all goes according to plan, US Secretary of State John Kerry will visit Havana to witness the historic event. That follows President Barack Obama's July 1 announcement that embassies would re-open in each other's capitals after half a century of hostilities.
Thomas Perriello, QDDR Special Representative since his February 2014 appointment by Secretary of State John Kerry, unveiled the study at an event moderated by Barry Pavel, Director of the Atlantic Council's Brent Scrowcroft Center on International Security.
There is much talk of reform, but the reality is less impressive. No one doubts that the country's institutions desperately need restructuring. Even before Russian forces annexed Crimea and invaded the Donbas, the country stood on the brink of bankruptcy. After a painful currency devaluation, it is now the poorest in Europe. It is also the most corrupt. The parliament is controlled by oligarchs, and the police are as crooked as the mafia.
The handover, to be marked by celebrations and a huge "European picnic" in the capital city's Place d'Armes, comes just as debt-ridden Greece prepares for a referendum on its future in the nineteen-member Eurozone—and its possible exit from the EU altogether.
Andrea Montanino, Director of the Atlantic Council's Global Business and Economics Program, hopes it won't come to that. But if it does, he warned June 29, the ensuing economic meltdown could spark a Greek humanitarian crisis that would linger for years.
Guten Morgen. It's a pleasure to be here and see so many familiar faces in the audience. Today's conference in many respects represents the essence of the democratic process. Today we want to discuss a problem that we have been struggling to resolve ever since the "little green men" showed up in February 2014 to invade Crimea: countering Kremlin disinformation. I will offer a few thoughts that I hope will stimulate discussion and lead to some specific ideas about how we can expand our network and work together to keep the information space free; and to ensure that our public has the facts and not propaganda.
All of us are here today because we are champions of free speech – one of the core values of the transatlantic relationship. We are here because the Russian government, and the media that it controls, are trying to prevent the publication of information that doesn't conform to Russia's aims, and are manipulating the presentation of information to cloak Russia's actions. The Kremlin's disinformation campaign goes far beyond controlling its own media. It is aimed at nothing less than presenting a parallel version of reality and disseminating it as if it were news. The Kremlin's goal is to make people question the value of media at all; to reject the idea of an absolute truth; and to persuade the public that "reality" is relative.