Icy U.S.–Cuba Relations Thawing at Last?

Cuban dissident Angel Figueredo (right) and his wife, Haydee Gallardo (left), a member of the Ladies in White group, in Havana after their release from prison

In a surprising diplomatic move, President Barack Obama announced in December that he would pursue a path toward normalizing relations with Cuba. The Cold War ended a quarter century ago, but relations between the United States and its tropical island neighbor/enemy to the south have remained frozen. A trade embargo enacted in 1960 is still in place, as are various sanctions against Cuba’s communist government for human rights violations. Obama aims to change all that.

A simultaneous announcement was made in Havana by Cuban president Raul Castro, and as part of the deal to improve relations, the two governments revealed an agreement to swap prisoners held on espionage charges. An American held in a Cuban jail was freed, as were a handful of Cuban spies in U.S. prisons. In addition, Cuba released more than fifty dissidents from Cuban jails, whom the United States claimed were political prisoners. The U.S. Treasury Department announced it will ease financial restrictions on Cuba and on Cubans no longer living in Cuba.

Obama acknowledged that the restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba cannot be fully accomplished without the action of Congress. Senator Mario Rubio, a Florida Republican and himself a Cuban American, is one vocal opponent. Those opposed to lifting the embargo recall that Cuba’s revolutionary government confiscated, without compensation, the personal property of American companies. So far, Obama’s opening toward Cuba has been criticized for involving concessions mostly on the U.S. side.

A majority of Americans have supported the reestablishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba; however, there is a sharp divide politically, with Democrats much more likely than Republicans to endorse a change in policy. In the past, the nation’s 1.8 million Cuban Americans have blocked normalization of relations so long as the Castros remain in power. Although considerable differences of opinion exist among Cuban Americans, the younger generation tends to view more favorably the pursuit of improved relations.

Image credit: © YAMIL LAGE/AFP/Getty Images

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  1. Junie E. 1A says:

    Dear President Obama, normalizing relations with Cuba couldn’t be more better and now becoming allies. Knowing that Americans were held in a Cuban jail was freed, and having a handful of Cuban spies in the U.S. prisons. In which Cuba released more than fifty dissidents from Cuban jails, whom the United States claimed were political prisoners.

    Swaping Cuba and The United States prisoners to where their orginally from was a great way to show that you and Cuba were very serious on putting aside your problems. With that being said this was a perect example of a Moral Diplomacy.

    Sincerely, Junie E.

  2. Keshone R1A says:

    Dear President Obama,

    I Think isis is trying to help us or probaly take over the world and we need to stop them from bombing us.

    And then the cuba people were bombing the isis people.

  3. Eric B. says:

    Dear president obama, I see that you are making better connection with cuba witch is a form of moral diplomacy.
    A majority of Americans have supported the reestablishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba witch is another form of moral diplomacy. Cubas communist government for human rights violations witch involves dollar diplomacy.

  4. matrwon m p1a says:

    Dear President Obama I see that ypu are trying to get a better relations with Cuba. In tha pass i see that the U.S. uesd dallor diplomcay and moral diplomcay. The U.S. did not agree with their government.
    Keep doing what you doing i agree with you. The dallor diplomacy when you paided
    cuba and moral with the U.S. set some of the cubas free.

  5. christopher g says:

    dear president Obama i believe that you are doing the right thing with trying to restore diplomacy with Cuba.it can help restore the trade we had with them.

  6. dontaep3 says:

    Dear President Obama,
    Its good that your trying to renew the differences we are having with Cuba which is a form of moral diplomacy. I agree with that type of diplomacy because doing what is right may not feel good but it will help others in the end. You should continue what you are doing because we should be trying to form alias with other countries not another war.
    A student in Mrs.Love class

  7. hunterc3 says:

    dear president obama i see you are trying to make peace with cuba.the type of dyplomacy being used is moral diplomacy it is that because you are trying to do the right thing. i do agree with this type of diplomacy. i think you shoulkd stick to that type of diplomacy.

  8. Robyn R-3 says:

    Dear President Obama, I see you are interested in bettering the relations between The Unites States and Cuba. The Diplomacy that is being used i believe is moral diplomacy because both countries are doing the right thing by releasing prisoners and forgetting about the past i agree that, that is the correct way to go i would advise you to keep doing what your doing to improve relations

  9. jr b3 says:

    dear president obama you making a better connection is an act of moral diplomacy now amereicans and cubans can be happy

  10. Jenniefer R3 says:

    Dear President Obama,normalizing relations with Cuba is a really great thing to do. After the war US and Cuba had become frozen from each other. Coming to agreement on swapping prisones from each country was a good start. The diplomacy that goes with this article is the Moral Diplomacy because they want to do the right thing that is good for their people and having a better relation with each other.

  11. TylerC.3rd says:

    Dear President Obama, i am writing to you regarding a recent article that centered on the rehashing of a heated topic: whether or not the U.S should begin a new relationship with Cuba.While we have much to offer for country that still practices an obsolete method of government i question what more than can offer us. besides tourism, a midpoint for porting while trading with other nations? A huge problem already has been settled between the 2 governments, with the releasing of prisoners for each country. However i must take the other side on this heated debate and say: “we don’t need this’

  12. Justin says:

    Dear President Obama, Hi.