The old American cars on the streets of Havana may be popular with tourists. But for many Cubans, they were a necessity they have to put up with, which was a symbolic reminder of half a century of the U.S. hostility. Now that’s about to change with the historic agreement for the two countries to re-establish diplomatic relations. CCTV America’s Michael Voss reported from Havana.
New US-Cuba relations would benefit both sidesThe old American cars on the streets of Havana may be popular with tourists. But for many Cubans, they were a necessity they have to put up with, which was a symbolic reminder of half a century of the U.S. hostility. Now that's about to change with the historic agreement for the two countries to re-establish diplomatic relations. CCTV America's Michael Voss reported from Havana.
The United States launched a trade embargo against Cuba in 1960 after Fidel Castro started nationalizing U.S. business interests on the island without compensation. The following year it broke of all diplomatic relations.
Then after the failed Washington backed Bay of Pigs invasion, Fidel moved Cuba firmly into the Soviet camp, turning Cuba into the only communist country in the western Hemisphere.
He also allowed the Soviets to place nuclear missiles on the island, a move which brought the world to the brink of nuclear war.
Fidel Castro’s younger brother Raul took over in 2006, after the elder leader fell ill. He’s led the country in a series of economic reforms since then.
Over the last year, the Obama administration has been using the Vatican, the pope and the Canadian government as interlocutors and hosts for secret talks with the Cubans to arrive at a point in which the past would be the past and much more normal routines of the future would go forward.
Cuba’s new private sector should benefit from more investment from relatives in the U.S. , as larger remittances will be allowed.
Improved relations with the U.S. could also have a much broader economic impact by making it less risky for foreign investors from other countries to do business in Cuba.
All sorts of companies from around the world have expressed interest in investing in a tax free special development zone being built around the new container port at Mariel. So far no-one has yet signed up though there may now be an added incentive to get a foothold in Cuba before the big U.S. corporations arrive.
Restoring diplomatic relations doesn’t mean that all their differences will be resolved. Cuba has made it clear that it intends to remain a socialist country, while the U.S. will keep pressing on issues of human rights and democracy. At least now, for the first time in half a century, they can discuss their differences face to face in a civilized manner.