Seeds: Tensions between the United States and Cuba can be traced all the way back to 1898, when the island was ceded to the US by Spain at the conclusion of the Spanish-American War. From that point on, Cuba was an independent nation. However, despite this newfound independence, the US managed to control Cuban affairs with the Platt Amendment. In subsequent years, the US discontinued the Platt Amendment, Fidel Castro rose to power, along with his communist regime, and the US imposed a trade embargo on the country in order to weaken the new ideologically different power.
Core: While the trade embargo between the US and Cuba still stands, diplomatic ties between the two countries have been restored and embassies reopened. Today, President Obama, who has repeatedly called for an end to the embargo, arrived in Havana, making him the first sitting President to visit the country in almost 90 years.
Skin: The world is paying close attention to President Obama’s trip, with almost every major news source speculating about what the visit will mean for US and Cuba relations.
Leaves: The President’s trip to Cuba marks the end of an era. If relations between the US and Cuba continue to grow, the end of the embargo could occur within a few years if the proposition can pass through Congress. Despite the UN’s nearly unanimous call to terminate the embargo, the future of relationship between the two countries remains unclear. While the President believes that an end to the embargo will help improve the lives of the Cuban people and aid the spread of democracy in Latin America, conservatives remain wary of Cuba’s communist government.
Food For Thought: Do you think that the relationship between the United States and Cuba will continue to warm? Do you think that President Obama is making the right decision in repairing the ties between the United States and Cuba?