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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
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
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
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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