The Caribbean Thaw

Over the past few years significant progress has been made in reforming relations between the United States and their longtime enemy, Cuba. The process began when president Obama approved secret talks with Cuba in both the Vatican and Canada. The proceedings were hosted by the Canadians and facilitated by Pope Francis himself.
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Finally in December of 2014 president Obama and president Raúl Castro of Cuba announced the beginning of the normalization process of US Cuban relations. The resulting thaw led to loosening of trade and travel restrictions, the opening of Cuban banks to the United States and even new embassies.
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During talks while normalizing relations President Raúl Castro stated that “destroying a bridge can be an easy and quick undertaking, however its solid reconstruction can prove a lengthy and challenging endeavor.” (NYTimes) Both leaders were frank in their assertions that relations would not change overnight. Many issues remain between the two countries, mostly concerning democracy and human rights under the Castro regime.
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A major disagreement from the Cuban side remain the existence of the United States Guantanamo Bay naval base and prison. Since Fidel Castro came to power the United States has continued to pay Cuba a check for renting the area where the Guantanamo Bay base is located every year. Under the Castro regime only one of these checks was ever cashed under the Castros.
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Both President Obama and Castro have stated that their intent in normalizing relations is to improve the wellbeing of both Cubans and Americans. Unfortunately there is opposition to the normalization in both countries.
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The current US president has so far failed to issue any information on the future of Cuban relations under his administration. While president elect trump tweeted that he would not continue President Obama’s work to restore mutually beneficial relations.

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