United States / Cuba Relations Stuck in Cold War Times
HAVANA, CUBA – Cuba appears to be reaching out to the United States. It might appear to have started with a handshake between President Obama and President Castro, but there is still lots of diplomatic work needed to bring the small island nation closer in trade relations with the United States.
It is possible that those icy relations could be set to thaw, bringing the true end to the ‘Cold War’.
President Raul Castro states, “If we really want to make progress in bilateral relations, we have to learn to respect each other’s differences and get used to living peacefully with them. Otherwise, no. We are ready for another 55 years like this.”
President Castro made the comments at the Cuban legislature’s closing session of 2013.
Raul Castro, who is eighty-two, made world headlines the efforts to reach out and share a handshake with American President Barack Obama at the funeral of South Africa’s Nelson Mandela.
Cuba and USA Still Under 1962 Sanctions
The USA and Cuba do not have full bilateral relations.
Sanctions from Washington on Cuba have been imposed since 1962 when then United States President John Fitzgerald Kennedy enacted them.
The process of normalizing relations between Cuba and the US would take a legislative change in the United States Congress. Right now the existing law would require the Castro government to be replaces.
“We do not ask the United States to change its political and social system, nor do we agree to negotiate over ours,” stated President Castro. Cuba is always ready to talk as long as its independence and self-determination are not undermined”.
President Castro says “Cuba will approve a new foreign investment law in March without elaborating on specific changes. The country’s National Assembly will be convened in March for a special session to handle this issue and others.”
Economic Reform A Path to Open Relations?
Cuba remains diplomatically isolated by the United States. The Cuban nation’s Soviet-style economic organisation and President Castro’s failure to make economic reforms like China has made have resulted in Cuba’s economy continuing to struggle.
It is only through oil revenues from Venezuela that Cuba has remained afloat.
The country can not cannot open the normal access to international lines of credit like other countries.
Cuba under President Raul Castro has been forced to cut back on bureaucratic bloat. The Cuban Government has also expanded the number of sectors of the economy which self-employed people can work.
Cuba remains, it appears however, hopeful that thawing the 51 year freeze with the United States is possible.