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President Obama Seeks To Normalize Relations with Cuba

Cubans around the world were recently rocked by the news

that the USA is considering turning over a new leaf in their relationship with

Cuba. Long on the receiving end of America’s wrath, Cuba has been the

unfortunate recipient of a trade embargo that, experts claim, has stifled the

Cuban economy and created a third world country. Since the 60’s, when the

embargo was introduced, thousands of Cubans have left, seeking a better life

abroad.

Now, though, President Obama has signalled that this may all

be to end. In an historic speech recently – given conjointly by Obama and the

Cuban president Raul Castro – the two leaders spoke of their hope of closer

diplomatic and economic ties in the future.

The relationship between Cuba and the USA has been an uneasy

one for some decades now. After the Castro brothers, together with Che Guevara,

overthrew US-supported dictator Fulgencio Batista and took control of the

country tensions have mounted. These were only worsened by the Cuban missile

crisis of the early 1960’s where it seemed that all-out war was becoming

increasingly likely.

In response to these actions the USA, together with some of

her allies, began a series of embargoes that served to ban trade between the

two nations. While the US with all her clout has prospered in the meantime

having traded around the world, Cuba has barely moved on the decades since.

Cuba is still officially classed as a Communist regime

though over the last few years, with Fidel Castro handing power to his brother

Raul, there have been some significant differences. The alleged human rights

violations of past have been swept aside as Cubans are increasingly allowed to

start businesses and become entrepreneurs.

This uncomfortable juxtaposition between Communism and

Capitalism so far appears to be working. Standards of living are improving, as

are the meagre incomes of the average Cubans. Perhaps as a result of these

changes it now seems that America is keen to forget about the past and renew

relations.

While many Cubans around the world are thrilled with the

news, it is hardly a done deal just yet. Obama will still need to gain approval

from the House of Representatives, many of whom are still very vocally

anti-Cuba. Whether he will succeed in his mission remains to be seen.

Whatever the eventual outcome it does seem like a positive

move, and a vote of confidence in Raul’s leadership that the most powerful man

in the world has publicly welcomed them back into the fold. If Obama’s goals gain

approval it could usher in a new era for Cuba and an improved quality of life

for their people. Cubans would also be free to travel, enabling them to easily

meet up with family and friends abroad.

Lastly, from the USA’s perspective, improved relations with

Cuba will help to build rapport with many of the Latin American nations who

still side with Cuba, creating an uncomfortable environment for the Americans.

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