By OH & SS
Seeds: 90 miles off the tip of Key West, Florida, sits Cuba, an island famous for its cigars and mojitos. The pride and the patria of our very own OH, Cuba saw the overthrow of Batista’s regime, and the charismatic communist dictator Fidel Castro took over in 1959. The US immediately opposed Castro, fearing his leftist ideologies. While Castro’s regime improved public health care, the education system, and issues of racism, it suppressed the citizens’ economic and political freedoms entirely and left the economy in ruins.
Core: US-Cuban relations grew tense after the US embargo was imposed in 1960, banning trade between the two countries and immensely injuring Cuba’s already ailing economy. This was only one of the factors that pushed Castro and the Cuban government to side with the Soviets during the Cold War. Fidel Castro’s regime had lasted for almost over five decades, but came to a close after he confirmed his official resignation in 2008, effectively ceding power to his brother, Raúl Castro, who is now the current President of Cuba.
Skin: Fidel Castro and the political condition of Cuba was recently brought into discussion with the death of Fidel Castro’s brother, Ramón Castro, and more recently, the death of Fidel Castro himself. President Obama’s plans to shut down the Guantánamo Bay detention center, and the recently restored diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba.
Leaves: When Raúl Castro leaves office in 2018, his Vice President, Miguel Diaz-Canel, will take over in his stead. Diaz-Canel famously yearns for a Cuba with more internet access, making some Cubans hopeful for greater freedoms in the future. President Obama has made some significant improvements in US-Cuba relations recently, as he visited the country in March, and lifted some travel restrictions. However, today he announced that he is ending the "wet foot, dry foot" policy wherein all Cubans who enter the US, regardless of their visa status, may remain in the country.
Food for Thought: Do you think Diaz-Canel will bring a more democratic Cuba? Do you think Obama’s plans to restore relations with Cuba are wise? How involved do you think the US should be in other countries political situations, especially when that country is under a dictator? Is it the US’s job to help the people who are oppressed in this country? Or should we stay out all together? Tell us what you think.
Think we missed something? Tell us in the comments.