One handshake can tell it all. The latest meeting between President Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro began with a bungling of a greeting.
The awkward handshake between the two leaders showed the unease that still exists between the two nations and the shaky ground that this new relationship will rest on.
The last remnant of the Cold War still remains, and the future of Cuba and the United States is uncertain.
Moving forward, the Editorial Board believes the U.S. needs to allow Cuba to have an input on how they want their country to be run.
By doing so, the U.S. would improve relations and open trade routes with one of its closest neighbors. The Cubans would be able to improve their international standing and enjoy the global world that is available to them.
The problems facing U.S.-Cuban relations in the upcoming years are prominent. When the two presidents spoke, problems arose that highlight the tension that was seen in the handshake.
During President Obama’s visit, Cuba imprisoned multiple dissidents and President Castro evaded the questions when he was pressed further.
Obama spoke about opening relations and admitted problems that existed from both sides of the aisle.
His speech was received well by the crowd and the visit seemed to have been successful in the eyes of the Cuban people.
While his speech was promising, U.S.-Cuban relations are, in reality, no better than they were before the trip.
Former Cuban President Fidel Castro, in particular, claimed Cuba did not need the help of the U.S. “empire” and the U.S. should not bother with unnecessary gifts to the nation.
Though the words are damning, the actual weight behind them is not. In a 2010 article in the Atlantic, Castro said “The Cuban Model doesn’t even work for us anymore.”
This was clarified to say the state has too much influence in the country’s economics. Since 2010, the country has allowed small businesses to operate and has opened up real estate contracts to foreign investors.
This means the nation is incorporating more western aspects into its economy, and its doing so at its own pace.
Many politicians like Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush have tweeted that a visit to Cuba means little if the people are not given the “freedom and democracy” they deserve.
While our viewpoints may not be the same, Americans are allowed to travel to these nations and goods are allowed to flow.
This is something that the U.S. does not have with Cuba, and something that would be beneficial to America. Not only would we be exposed to a new culture, but we could also buy Cuban goods. This holds the same for Cubans as well. Opening the embargo will help both nations, and it’s time to tear down the last wall from the Cold War.