Letter to President: Foreign Relations With Cuba

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There have been economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation of Cuba, by successive United States governments. There have been initial attempts to have better relations between the two countries, initially through a prisoners swap, which led to some experts pointing out that there are more prospects to the economy of Cuba, and the U.S. relations for Latin America. But the problem for the US trade embargo, which will require Congress to approve is not something to be realized any time soon.

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The United States and Cuba Relationship

The tumultuous United States and Cuba relationship, which originated from the period of the Cold War, started in 1959 when Fidel Castro and a group of revolutionaries, seized power from Fulgencio Batista, in Havana. Although Fidel Castro had some challenges with his ideology of communism, the United States recognized his government. The problem started when Castro's government increased trade with the Soviet Union and made properties that were owned by the United States be owned by the nation. This made the United States have high economic retaliation. The first was to ban all sugar imports to Cuba, which was followed by a full economic embargo. These included strict travel restrictions. In 1961, the United States severed ties with Cuba and started an operation to overthrow Castros regime.

United States Federal Government Engagement With Cuba

There are efforts that have been put forth to have this problem brought to a stop. With your descending to power, Mr. President, you promised to have more engagement with the Cuban government. This was evident when, in 2009, you reversed some restrictions that had been imposed by George Bush, like remittances and travel. It was also during this time that some telecommunication companies were allowed to provide satellite and cellular services to Cuba. Also, U.S citizens were allowed to send remittances to people who were not family members in Cuba. U.S citizens were also allowed to travel to Cuba for educational or religious purposes. There were some challenges and obstacles that appeared to hinder this development. Cuba arrested Alan Gross, who was a subcontractor for USAID on allegations that he was working to destabilize the Cuban Government. In the real sense, he was organizing Internet access for the Jews in the U.S. This happened in 2009. At the same time, there was strife by Raul Castro to release five Cuban intelligence officers who had been arrested in Miami in 1998. They had hitherto become national heroes in Cuba. They were convicted in 2001.

Why Was Cuba Ever Considered a State Sponsor of Terrorism?

Another obstacle that seemed to hinder reconciliation was the designation of Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism. This first came up in 1982 because of Fidel Castro's training of rebels in Central America. It was in 1992; Fidel Castro announced that they were no longer offering support to insurgents abroad. In 2013, the country stated that there was no evidence that they offered weapons or training to terrorist groups. The continued allegations of Cuba being part of the state sponsors of terrorism led to hindrance to talks and negotiations about diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Human Rights Violation in Cuba

There is also the concern of Human Rights in Cuba, which has been a concern for the United States. In the Human Rights report that was done in 2014, one thing that came up is that Cuba continued to repress and oppress individuals who continued to rise against any injustice that the government did. Anyone who criticizes the government will be depressed in Cuba. Some of the methods that are used in this process include detentions, travel bans, beatings, or imposing exiles for these individuals. It’s an obvious violation of human rights. In 2015, there were detentions of more than 8500 political activists alone.

How Did the United States Maintain Political Control Over Cuba?

There is also the obstacle of domestic politics in the United States. The whole issue has been complicated by the influence that Cuba Americans during the electioneering. With this process, the U.S. domestic policy was changed by Cuba America because of the perception they had in the process. Both Democrats and Republicans fear losing this voting block just because of different views. The Miami Exile Group which has been instrumental in the entire fight for democratic space in the U.S has been seen to be at the forefront to acquire more democratic space in Cuba. This agreement came after long talks between the leadership of the two countries. There was also an agreement between the two countries to ease remittances and travel bans that had been put and sanctioned earlier. Cuba also agreed that they would release 53 prisoners that had been considered by the United States as political dissidents.

There was also the effort that was made by you, Mr. President, regarding the whole issue. This was on December 17, 2014, when you agreed with Raul Castro and that there were bans of all travel restrictions to the U.S and of Cuba. There was a prisoners swap where the Cuba Five was released (though others had been released sometime earlier).


One way that can be used to solve the issue at hand is that there should be a commitment from the two sides. There should be an assurance that the two countries will not go back to the sanctions and the travel bans they had before. There should be a common trade block that will ensure that the two countries are involved in this whole process. I suggest that the process will be achieved with the use of other bodies like the United Nations and looking for a common body for the two countries. There should be strife to have approval from Congress. This will bring the legislative amendments that will have the impact that is needed in the paper.

Works Cited

Keating, Joshua. "Why Does Cuba Want to Re-establish Relations With the US?." Slate. December 17, 2014, accessed June 11 (2015).

Lee, Brianna. "US-Cuba Relations." Council of Foreign Relations (2014).

Renwick, Danielle, and Brianna Lee. "US-Cuba Relations." Council on Foreign Relations (2015).

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