The relationship between the Unites States of America and Cuba has been one that has not been easily understood, nor have they been able to reach common ground, however civil they seem to act in the public eye. Dating as far back as the 1959’s, Fidel Castro and his group successfully revolted against President Fulgencio Baptista and established a revolutionary social state, this feud has been evolving for decades. It was seen in 1961 that President Kennedy sent brigades into Cuba in an attempt to overthrow the governing body, at the time was Fidel Castro, which subsequently led to the United States banishing all trade and travel with the Caribbean island, but restrictions followed.
Although the war progressed, the Immigration Reform Act was signed between America and Cuba which resulted in ground breaking improvements and persons were permitted to travel to and from the two countries. Following this were events such as the Helms-Burton Bill, arresting of the Cuban Five and the Elian Gonzalez incident, which etched historical marks in the Cuba-United States relations timeline to this day.
You can’t hold the future of Cuba hostage to what happened in the past.” – President Obama, quoting a Cuban resident.
More positive decisions arise, however, decades later, as 2008 marked the year that President Obama lifted the travel restrictions and remittances on Cuba. This gave all nationals of America and Cuba the unrestricted ability to travel freely for religious, recreational and educational purposes as well as send unlimited funds to family and friends between the two countries.
Amidst the Community of Latin America and Caribbean States (CELAC) two day summit in January of 2014, there was an announcement which made reference to the restoration of ties between the United States and Cuba, which was a notion which had been strategically planned since December 2014. In December of that same year, these comments were confirmed and the both countries moved to restore diplomatic ties by swapping their respective prisoners. Cuba returned Mr. Alan Gross, the United States’ subcontractor, to America and America returned the remaining three of the Cuban five to Cuba.
“We want to develop a friendship between our two nations that is based on the equality of rights and the people’s free will,” – President Castro said in the letter, read on state-run TV.
It didn’t stop there for the relations between Cuba and America, as in May 2015, the United States removed Cuba from the Terrorism List, stating that they were no longer a threat to the country. On June 2015, President Obama announced that the American embassy in Cuba will be reopened and the Cuban embassy be reopened in America, as they were closed for over fifty years since the dispute between past presidents.
“Americans and Cubans alike are ready to move forward. I believe it’s time for Congress to do the same,” – President Barack Obama
Following the announcement of the restoration, it was received well by the public, as the majority of Americans supported the reopening of the embassies and severing the feud between America and Cuba. The Council on Foreign Relations reported that based on a poll, 63 percent of Americans were in support restoring diplomatic relations and sixty six percent wished that the trade embargo was terminated. The same Council found that in a poll conducted by Bendixen & Amandi International, a United States firm, revealed that ninety seven percent of Cubans were in support of the US/Cuba restoration of ties.
“Obama will continue to use executive authority to open US-Cuba ties around trade, investment, banking, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, and travel… There is a possibility that this will create a political dynamic that would ultimately shift opinion inside Congress to eventually repeal, or no longer enforce, Helms-Burton.” – Julia Seig, a Cuba and Brazil scholar at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs
It is proposed that the diplomatic ties are re-established on July 20, 2015, and the embassies will reopen officially.
By Alexandra Daley