President Barack Obama Supporting Improved US-Cuban Relations

The United States and Cuba have had strained relations ever since Fidel Castro came into power in 1959.  As early as 1960, the US broke off diplomatic relations with Havana and imposed a strict trade embargo in order to battle Castro’s communist reforms.  Since then, a series of disastrous events has further affected the relationship between the two countries.  Throughout the early 1960’s, for example, a number of events continued to deteriorate the nations’ rapport.  These include the Bay of Pigs incident of 1961, Operation Mongoose, which included the CIA drawing up plans to have Castro assassinated between the years of 1961 and 1963, and the infamous Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.  Throughout the years, relations between the two nations have waxed and waned but in general the relationship has remained tense.  A more in-depth analysis of the interactions between the United States and Cuba can be seen in a timeline

( format created by the BBC.

Fidel and Raul Castro

In February 2008, Fidel officially resigned from his post after transferring his political powers to his brother Raul due to health issues.  Many people wondered if this change of leaders would improve relations between the United States and Cuba, but as of now the tension between the countries hasn’t seemed to have relaxed much since the Cuban communist revolution in the 1950’s.  Currently, the United States’ official policy towards Cuba centers around two strategies:  economic embargo and diplomatic isolation.  Under the George W. Bush administration, the embargo was strictly enforced and travel restrictions were very high.  Now, under Barack Obama’s government, travel restrictions have been lifted as of April 13th, 2009, and although the embargo still remains intact, as of 2000 the Congress has elected to allow agricultural exports from the US to Cuba.  Although Obama is much more lenient on Cuban restrictions, Cuban politicians and citizens are much less optimistic about the formation of a positive and progressive relationship between the countries.  According to the Miami Herald (, US President Barack Obama is hopeful for the future of US relations with Cuba, but nothing can be done until Cuba is willing to negotiate specific political points as well as respect human rights.  It seems unlikely relations will improve while the Castro brothers are still in power, as they have been known to publicly criticize and insult the United States and President Obama in particular, but the United States hopes to one day repair the relationship between the two nations.