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U.S.–Cuban Relations

The Cold War is over. It has been over for almost two decades. In fact, the United States is already at peace with her most hated and feared enemy since after the Second World War – Russia and her former East European satellites. Relations with China (formerly referred to as Red China or Communist China), has been normalized as well, with American industrialists now enjoying the fruits of their investments in that country. Considering these developments, there is no better time than today for the United States to extend her hand in peace to her last remaining socialist adversary.

Yes, there is an urgent need for the United States to normalize her relations with Cuba. For years now, many Americans have been struggling with this question: If the United States can co-exist with her former socialist and communist enemies in Europe and Asia for the sake of world peace and prosperity, why is Cuba being left behind? Indeed, for the inquisitive, the motives of the United States are very troubling. The only logical conclusion one could arrive at is hatred – hatred on the part of our country’s leaders towards Cuba, in general, and perhaps, Fidel Castro, particular.

The reason, however, for such hatred, is not known to the average American. It gets more baffling and outright illogical if one considers the past relationship which existed between the United States and Russia (or the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) in the past. Immediately after the Second World War, the United States had already been locked in a bitter struggle with the USSR for world supremacy in an era known as the Cold War. That era had proved very costly to the United States who had to stay one step ahead of the Soviet Union in the nuclear arms race.

Many times during that period in history, their one-on-one competition even brought the world to the brink of a Third World War which could have annihilated the human race. The USSR even pointed thousands of long range missiles in the direction of the United States during those dangerous moments in history. Yet, when the leaders of the two countries realized that their rivalry could cause the end of the world, they accepted the bitter fact that the cold war should be ended and relations between them should be normalized (Fletcher, 2004). The experience of the United States with China followed the same route.

It could be recalled that China was a very active supporter of North Vietnam in that country’s war against the United States, acting as a very strong source of logistics and moral support. Thousands of young Americans perished in that war – killed by the Vietnamese Army which was strongly supported by China. Yet when China opened her doors and extended her hand in friendship, the United States never hesitated for one second. Peace was concluded and economic cooperation established (Fletcher, 2004). However, Cuba could not be accorded the same treatment.

Cuba could never be a friend of America. One is left wondering why? The American leaders tried explaining that the reason was because Fidel Castro denied Cubans their basic rights. But was it not that Castro came to power after he ousted Batista from power? And was it not that Batista was well-known as a corrupt and oppressive leader? After the ouster of Batista, Castro ruled Cuba for almost 50 years. During all those years, the United States government was into all sorts of covert operations aimed supposedly at helping the Cuban people get rid of Castro.

Remember the Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961? It was only one of many. Economic blockade was also resorted to and is in place to date (Fletcher, 2004). Unfortunately, nothing succeeded. Castro held on to power, transferring the reins of government to his younger brother when he became already too sick to govern. To a casual observer, events could be interpreted as U. S. intervention in Cuban affairs. In other words, Cuba may even qualify as the oppressed party – a country that is being prevented from determining her own destiny! So how could we talk about rights here?

Looking at the problem from a different perspective, Russia and China had not done anything substantial for the United States to warrant a better treatment. Russia is even one of the strongest economic competitors of the United States. China, on the other hand, is only helping a handful of American industrialists get rich exploiting her vast human resources. One only has to read the newspapers and watch the news on television to be aware of this. Cuba, however, is another matter. The millions of Cuban-Americans now living in the country have been contributing significantly to the economy of the United States.

As of 1997, Cuban-Americans were operating more than 125,000 businesses in the country whose gross receipts totaled more than $26 billion, providing employment to more than 30,000 workers. By 2000, their population reached 1,241,685 distributed in 474,258 households whose median income was $30,084. This would mean that as of 2000, Cuban-Americans were contributing about $14 billion to the U. S. economy (Diaz-Briquets and Perez-Lopez, 2003). Now, these Cuban-Americans have never turned their back on their families back home and, by necessity, their country.

As a matter fact, they have always wanted to send money back to their families in Cuba. The Bush administration even implemented a measure which “made it more difficult to send funds to their family members back home, and more difficult for them to travel to Cuba to visit relatives” (Fletcher, 2004). This is a clear indication that Cuban-Americans have always wanted to reconnect with their native land. Why, then, could the United States government not make it any easier for them by normalizing relations with their native land?

They who have contributed as much as $14 billion to the U. S. economy as of 2000? The rest of the world has already done so – 185 countries are already trading with Cuba. In fact, the United Nations General Assembly has already passed a resolution “urging the United States to end the trade embargo” (Brice, 2009). What more do we need? Clearly, the rest of the world is waiting on us to cooperate and make this world a much better place.

References

Brice, A. (2009). Panel urges Obama to normalize ties with Cuba. CNN Politics. com.Retrieved March 15, 2009, from http://usgovinfo. about. com/blcthistory. htm Diaz-Briquets, S. and Perez-Lopez, J. (2003). THE ROLE OF THE CUBAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY IN THE CUBAN TRANSITION. Institute for Cuban and Cuban_ American Studies, University of Miami. Retrieved March 15, 2009, from http://ctp. iccas. miami. edu/Research_Studies/DiazBriquetsPerezLopezCubanAmericansCorrected. pdf Fletcher, B. (2004). We should normalize relations with Cuba. Retrieved March 15, 2009, from http://www. finalcall. com/artman/publish/article_1463. shtml

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