The small island of Cuba has been in complete isolation from the United States for a period of over fifty years. Since President Eisenhower established a tight trade embargo that severed all diplomatic ties with Cuba in 1960, the United States has remained separate from any and all things Cuban. Another reminder of the monumental and dynamically changing times of our generation, a plane touched down in Cuba just weeks ago transporting President Obama and his family to a land formerly forsaken by the government of the United States.
Back in the early 1960s, when the United States plunged deep into the conflict of the Cold War, Fidel Castro ruled the country of Cuba. An oppressive regime to say the least, Fidel Castro’s Communist government limited freedom of speech and press while nationalizing some of the country’s biggest corporations. Discourse between the United States and Cuba continued through the election of President Kennedy in 1960. When Kennedy only strengthened the trade barrier between the two countries, Cuba lost over one trillion dollars due to its dependence on American imports. Reaching the precipice of nuclear war, Cuba and America fostered a resentment to last the next fifty-six years.
Currently, as the island of Cuba opens up to American economy, the nation delivers a potential for brand new connections to be established to prosperous American corporations. The current Cuban government of Raúl Castro eagerly awaits new investments and foreign trade. Since Obama and Castro agreed to initiate a friendly diplomatic relationship in 2014, businesses and many free trading Republicans have visited Havana, Cuba in anticipation of growing connection. Cuba offers the American economy a new channel of expansion. The nation has strong literacy rates as well as a population of consumers who wish to experience the newest American innovations. Still, these leaders have very different end goals of their agreement in mind.
Obama hopes that the implementation of American economy, travel, and Internet will aid the Cuban people in finding a larger voice to fight for more freedom and democratic rights. While the President looks to free an oppressed citizenry, the Cuban ruler simply aims to use America and the monetary influx to keep his regime in place. By staunching the flames of the animosity, Obama stifled justification for Cuba’s poverty and immoral government. As Cuba previously argued, their isolation from other countries served as the reason of necessity for their historically communist regime. The President identified this role of the embargo and effectively destroyed its potential to justify an unjust country. He forced Castro to answer for the results of his vicious policies and the harm done unto the spirit of his country.
Obama eloquently stated his democratic belief in the civil rights of all humans in a speech he gave to the Cuban people during his visit. He holds sacred the right of all to be able to criticize national government. American democracy is far from perfect, yet Obama made it clear that democracy serves the soul and will of the people to improve the countries in which they live. He further highlighted the vitality of democratic opportunity to be the most accurate and fair means to truly express ideas of liberation and fairness. By implementing democratic policy, Cuba can embrace the change now years overdue.
Obama’s words in Cuba offer a refreshing reminder about our country’s values amidst the upcoming election in November. Despite the notorious divisiveness of American politics, the American people can all join behind our president in his praise of the tool of democracy to express new ideas. Our president delivered us a much needed dose of honesty and perspective, prompting us to embrace America not for its possibility to become a nation of perfection but for its ability to offer a voice and medium of expression to its people.