U.S. Relations With Cuba

By Bradley Short


Since the Cold War, the United States has had a bitter relationship with Cuba, but on July 20, 2015, Barack Obama worked on a plan that immediately began conversations with Cuba to restore diplomatic relations. Later, he announced that the US planned to reopen their embassy in Havana, Cuba as well as re-establish travel and trade that was banned by the Kennedy administration many decades ago.

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According to History Channel, from 1926-2016 (Fidel Castro’s life) “He survived an estimated 638 attempts on his life - and that's just from the CIA”. Many efforts have been done in the past to assassinate Fidel Castro, and things have been looking up since the Castro regime has been out of power. Lots of progress has been made, such as diplomatic meetings, easing travel restrictions, restoring ties and normalizing relations. Since then, Donald Trump has reversed some of the actions that were taken by the Obama administration and has suggested that the US will continue to roll back ties with the communist country in the near future.

In early 2016, President Obama did something unheard of. He took a trip to Havana, Cuba, and was the first U.S. sitting president to visit Cuba since President Calvin Coolidge, who visited the island in 1928. After this, Obama strongly urged both countries to continue making reforms, with Cuba changing its government, and the United States lifting trade embargo. In 2017, when Obama’s term was near its end, he implemented the “wet foot, dry foot” policy. This policy allows Cubans that fled their country during Fidel Castro’s time to pursue residency a year later. Since then, Donald Trump has canceled this policy.

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For many years, it seemed impossible for all Americans to visit the most populated city in the Caribbean. However, In 2016, the US government and the Cuban government both granted permission for cruise ships to sail directly to Cuba on a case-by-case basis. Banning travel to Cuba would greatly affect industries and according to CNN, “Restricting travel to Cuba will likely impact earnings for the US airlines and cruise ship companies that began service to Cuba in 2016 and go against a rising anti-travel sanctions sentiment.”

With the new travel restrictions set by Donald Trump in November, it is near impossible to do business in Cuba, and Thepointguys.com says that “American citizens will be banned from doing business, including tourism-oriented business, with entities with links to Cuba’s military. You can expect to see restrictions on business dealings from everything from hotels to tourist agencies, rum makers, stores and more”.

The only way that a “people-to-people” visit will be allowed, is only if it falls under one of the twelve categories. According to Thepointsguy.com, these categories include: “family visits; official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations; journalistic activity; professional research and professional meetings; educational activities; religious activities; public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions”. As long as an American can verify that they are visiting for one of these reasons, they are allowed to head to the island.

The relationship of the United States with Puerto Rico is declining and has to get firm boundaries; so what’s to happen in the future? That question is greatly unknown and is in the hands and jurisdiction of the US government as well as Puerto Rico’s.