After decades of bickering and antagonisms, relations are finally thawing between the two ideological rivals
The start of the Cuban national anthem implores Cubans to ‘Run to battle’. However, now there seems to be more of a focus on peace in Cuba. In an article, Fidel Castro, ex-President of Cuba, has stated that he desires peace in the world following a meeting with Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill. However, it is on another front that international relations are being improved for Cuba. The development in Cuba’s relationship with the USA has seen some progress last month.
It has been agreed that commercial flights will be resumed between the two nations. Commercial flights have been suspended between the USA and Cuba for more than half a century. These flight lines are being reopened later this year and there are hopes that there will be up to 110 flights a day. This result comes after an agreement between US Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and Cuban Minister of Transport Adel Rodriguez, who both seem optimistic about the move. This move supports a statement in 2014 that Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro would aim to improve the relationship between the USA and Cuba.
Tensions between Cuba and the USA have been high since 1989, when Cuba became a colony of the USA. Even when Cuba maintained independence in 1902, America kept the right to intervene in Cuban affairs. However, following the start of the Batista regime, the US abandoned its right to intervene in Cuba’s internal affairs and trade with Cuba was encouraged in the US.
Relations between the US and Cuba began to deteriorate again when Fidel Castro forcibly overthrew Batista in 1959. This saw the beginning of economic sanctions against Cuba and an ongoing hostility between the US and Castro.
However, relations between the US and Cuba began to look more promising in 2006 when Raul Castro took his place as acting head of state while his brother, Fidel Castro, underwent surgery. Raul Castro, who became the President of Cuba in 2008, indicated that he might agree to improve relations with the US. Following this slight thawing of affairs, President Obama removed restrictions on family travel and remittances to Cuba, conveying the beginning of an increase in communications.
However, tensions were reignited when Alan Gross was arrested in December 2009 and sentenced in 2011 to 15 years in prison for ‘acts against the integrity of the state’. In 2013, he wrote to Barack Obama, asking for support. At this point, there were fears that Gross would not survive for much longer in the Cuban prison. Obama took on this challenge and the US freed three Cuban intelligence officers from prison, in exchange for the freedom of Alan Gross. It was hours after Gross’ release that the White House announced its plans to improve relations between Cuba and the USA.
Tensions between the USA and Cuba have not yet been fully resolved though. The process of improving relations that have been tense for more than a century is a slow one. This is particularly difficult in this situation, due to the fact that Cuba is Communist while the USA is Capitalist, so the values of the two states are at odds. However, progress is being made. Reports suggest that President Obama will visit Cuba as part of his trip to Latin America in the coming weeks. Therefore, there is hope that this measure of releasing the trade embargo is a step towards achieving more positive relations between the two nations.