Max Lunievicz: Grade 7
After more than 50 years of hostile relations between Cuba and the United States, in December, 2014, President Obama proposed changing the relationship between the two nations.
Following the Cuban Revolution in 1959, when the dictator Fidel Castro came to power, the relations between Cuba and the United States deteriorated. Citizens quickly started to emigrate from Cuba to the United States, which agreed to harbor them. The United States passed laws to help Cubans stay here once they arrived on land. These policies continue to this day.
In addition, Cuba became allies with the Soviet Union in 1961. The Soviet Union placed missiles on the island, in a prime position for an attack on the United States. With the United States and Cuba on the brink of war, the relations between the countries were increasingly worsening. All trade and diplomatic relations died out between the countries, and travel was also restricted between Cuba and the United States.
The first priority of the current talks between the two countries, according to news reports, is to re-establish embassies in each other’s countries for the first time since 1961. Other changes have already begun; many trade and travel restrictions have been lifted. Cuba and the United States are both interested in increasing the ease of travel between the countries and allowing more Cuban citizens to access the Internet. Although both sides are committed to the process, there have already been significant disagreements over human rights and emigration issues.