Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

U.S. and Cuba normalize diplomatic relations after 54 years

President Obama and Raul Castro, president of Cuba, have settled diplomatic resistances between Cuba and the US at 54 years, which Professor of Political Science Mariano Magalhaes says is about time.
“The U.S. is finally recognizing the relationship needed fixing and getting rid of the Cold War attitude towards Cuba that had only negative impacts,” Magalhaes said.
According to CNN, Obama called for an end to an “outdated approach” to U.S.- Cuban relations on Wednesday that “for decades, has failed to advance our interest.”
The normalization of U.S.-Cuban relationships began with the release of American Alan Gross, who was jailed in Cuba for five years, and the release of three Cuban prisoners from the U.S.
Then Obama had a phone call with Castro for about an hour. Both leaders agreed to normalize relationships between Cuba and the U.S.
While Magalhaes was optimistic about the event, he said there wasn’t much of an impact on the US.
“It was just a token event that was more symbolic with no economic impact,” said Magalhaes.
The economic impact may come later on. Obama is hoping to discuss lifting the embargo on Cuba with Congress in the future. Only Congress can get rid of the embargo because it is a part of U.S. legislation.
Professor of Political Science Xiaowen Zhang remains hopeful that the U.S. may lift the embargo.
“The embargo is difficult to change, but the latest poll in Miami, FL indicated a majority of Cuban Americans wanted to lift the embargo,” Zhang said.
Another reason Zhang is hopeful the embargo will be lifted is because Cuban Americans have many votes for a state with a high number of electoral votes. Politicians will be looking to change their opinions to appease the Cuban American population.
As for how this affects people locally,  Magalhaes said the improved relationship will have a micro-impact versus a macro-impact.
“There will be more exports from Illinois and Iowa farmers for crops,” Magalhaes said.
As of now, Obama has lifted travel restrictions, as well as restrictions on some money, medicine and food trade with Cuba.
There will be some opposition to the changed relations with Cuba. According to a New York Times article, Marco Rubio, Florida’s Republican Senator, said “All this act will do is empower the Castro regime” and “Republicans will use all of the tools at their disposal to block Mr. Obama’s policy.”

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U.S. and Cuba normalize diplomatic relations after 54 years