US relations with Cuba
The US and Cuba have a long history of political relationship which mostly suffers set back and hostility towards each other. Cuba is an island and just 90 miles away from the shores of USA. Cuba is considered to be a socialist state in the belly of capitalist hegemon, USA. US-Cuba relations had dipped in hostility and antagonism when Fidel Castro overthrew pro-US regime from Cuba and form his government, a dictatorship. During the cold war, the US and Cuba had a hostile relationship which continued to exist during the cold war. During the cold war, Cuba joined a communist block of Soviet Union against capitalism. Soviet union got an ample opportunity to gain influence in the back yard of US which was not acceptable to them and consequently, the situation escalated.
After the Korean War, both the blocks appeared as an opposition to each other in every matter of global importance which led both blocks to the formation of military alliances of NATO and WARSAW Pact. This initiative complicated the security environment of the world and weapons of mass destruction added insult to injury. Both states adopted the policy of expansionism and continued to exercise their influence I aligned states. When Fidel Castro, President of Cuba, sought Soviet assistance against potential threat of US, Soviet union agreed to help Cuba against US and deployed their nuclear weapons in Cuba and situation escalated to an extent that the nuclear weapons were ready to launch against and the world was on the brink of third World War, known as ‘Cuban Missile Crises’.
A brief history and historic event of rivalry are necessary to better understand the relationship between both the states. It implies that socialist Cuba has not enjoyed a warm relationship with the capitalist US. during the cold war, US continued to corner and isolate Cuba in trade and relations with other states but after the demise of Soviet union, political dynamics changed in the world and Fidel Castro looked towards outside to better exist. The US sanctioned Cuba longer than any other state in the world but now the world has changed. Fidel Castro has died and his brother Raul Castro is in power in Cuba. President Barack Obama had a hypothetical policy towards Cuba like be nice to evil and he will be nice back.
During Obama administration, the working relationship has established with Cuba especially in 2015. In 2015, US and Cuba initiated a deep sea research mission which scientists believed that it caused the restoration of bilateral ties between both states. In research mission, the joint team found lion fish, a rare species of Western Hemisphere and some other minerals of commercial importance. It has been observed as a unique phenomenon when any two states restored their relations after such a long time. In May and June, a boat sailed 1400 nautical miles and explored corals reefs around the shores of Cuba. This cooperation was the first event after the meeting of Obama and his Cuban counterpart has reiterated to restore their diplomatic ties.
President Obama and Raul Castro took some extraordinary steps in meetings to strengthen bilateral ties and diplomatic and trade ties were restored in full capacity. Both the states lifted traveling sanctions from either citizen. The US allowed the Americans to transfer funds, visit Cuba for religious, educational and business investments in Cuba to shoulder the shaking economy of Cuba. It is to be noted that Cuban economy was state controlled in the times of Fidel Castro but Raul Castro liberated economy and open doors for Foreign Direct Investment which eased agitation in general public. In 5 years, Cuba observed 20% increase in its tariffs.
In 2016, there was a surprise event observed by the world when President Obama visited Havana, a capital of Cuba, since 1928 when Coolidge visited the island. President Obama lifted trade embargo and urged Cuba to more liberalize its economy and trade and also loosen travel restrictions on Cubans throughout the world.
After rapprochement, newly elected President Trump has said that he would discount the deal with Cuba and would happy to renegotiate. It would affect ongoing policies of Cuba. As Trump has sanctioned traveling on people of many countries and Cuba can be added to the list. A prisoners exchange talks are can be a bone of contention between two states. It is because President Trump announces while visiting g Miami that he would not break diplomatic ties but reconsider the reliefs gave by Obama administration. Trump ordered the Treasury authorities to redefine the regulations within a month and called Obama’s policy “only Repression”. President Trump imposed a condition that the sanctions would not be lifted until Cuba release all political prisoners, hold free and fair elections with the maximum turn out. Being Socialist followers, it would become difficult for Cuba to capitalize all of its institutions and policies to keep ties with the US. it would make economic and social conditions worse in Cuba and some congress men criticize the reversal of policies shortly. It becomes clear that when Republicans gain a majority in Senate, it would become difficult to maintain embargo because Republican lawmakers in both chambers are resisting the approval of roll back bills.
Another development in Cuba would pave the way for a better relationship which is the announcement of Raul Castro to leave his office in 2018. A new political setup in Cuba would be able to mold policies based on liberalization and capitalist principles which would help them to open market for the world. The elections in Cuba would be called Municipal Elections which are likely to change the economic and political fate of Cuba. If Castro family cannot gain a majority in elections, it would be a golden chance for the US to gain influence and imposed desired policies in Cuba as used to happen before Fidel Castro’s martial law. It is publicly acknowledged fact that the democracies can enjoy better working relationships than two different and opposite ideologies under a new world order. The space for dictatorship has been compressed and people are given rights to elect their representatives.