"We remain convinced the people of Cuba would be best served by genuine democracy, where people are free to choose their leaders"- John Kerry.
Washington is less interested in democracy for Cuba than in the geopolitical and trade benefits that would accrue if it were to draw it away from Chinese and Russian interest in Cuba's offshore oil reserves. For the US has shown no sign it has ever accepted the verdict of democracy in Venezuela.
Having colluded with Saudi Arabia to drive down oil prices, so as to kick start a sluggish global economy and as a means of destabilising oil producing states such as Venezuela, Obama has been able to help trigger off economic collapse in Caracas while offering the prospect Cuba could buy oil on the open market.
By severing the previously close alignment between Cuba and Venezuela, Washington would be able to revive its ability to exert hemispheric influence over Central and South America once more. This has become more important as concerns over Chinese influence in the region have grown.
China has aligned with Daniel Ortega's leftist government in Nicaragua and backed a $50 billion project to build a “grand inter-oceanic canal” that would rival the Panama Canal and give China a strategic toehold in Central America. Destroying Venezuela's economy would weaken its ability to subsidise Nicaragua and Cuba
More annoyingly for Washington is that in 2014 and 2015 China provided multi-billion-dollar loans to Venezuela to shore up its economy and so thwarting moves to generate political upheaval and so help push through an overthrow of the Maduro government just as it was able to in Ukraine in March 2014.
By reintegrating Cuba back into the regional economy, the Obama administration hopes to buy goodwill and offset criticism of its support for the 2014 Caracas protests which were slammed by Maduro as a 'slow motion coup'attempt and greeted with hostility by other Latin American states.
By easing crude oil exports to Mexico, Obama can get US domestic Big OIl producers onside and fetch high prices for heavy oil. Washington also wants to gain a dominant stake in tapping oil reserves in the Gulf of Mexico and hold out future moves into Cuba's offshore fields once the US helps mediate in disputes over who owns them
These energy interests and the geopolitical contest for influence with China is far more the reason for the interest in bringing Cuba out from its isolation as the strategy of destroying Venezuela's democratically elected governmentbears benefits for the US. It is far from clear the US is that friendly to Cuban dissidents.
In fact, the 2009 Wikileak made clear that old style dissidents who protested about arbitrary imprisonment and the lack of democracy and human rights such as Oswaldo Paya were more of an irritant for being 'out of touch' with young Cubans wanting consumerism rather than putting principles first.
The US much prefers its internet age savvy designer dissidents promoted by covert funding and the NED. Examples are frauds like Yoani Sanchez who is more interested in creating a new rich strata of citizens receptive to US influence and economic neoliberalism while pretending to care about fellow Cubans.
One reason Oswaldo Paya was treated with contempt in Washington was that he opposed 'a neoliberal programme.For this, we are under attack by the powerful groups in Miami. When people say what is going to happen in Cuba after Fidel, we say – hold on, there are 11 million people in Cuba, not only Fidel Castro."