Fidel Castro’s death has been followed by varying reactions, from mourning to celebration. Our country’s relationship with Cuba has been reevaluated, and our troubled history with Castro must be examined. Here is a brief overview of Cuban-American relations throughout the past decades.
Our shared history is rife with mistrust. Tensions began between our two countries in 1960, hitting its climax in 1962 during The Cuban Missile Crisis.
In 1996, President Bill Clinton passed an act declaring that U.S. embargoes would only be lifted with the removal of Castro and progress toward free press and free elections.
In 2009, the limitations on Cuba began to lift; President Obama has made repairing the U.S.-Cuban relationship a large part of his eight years in The White House.
In a statement made following Castro’s death, Obama extended a hand of friendship to the Cuban people.
He said, “In the days ahead, [the Cuban people] will recall the past and also look to the future. As they do, the Cuban people must know that they have a friend and partner in the United States of America.”
Pew polls report that Americans support deepening our ties with Cuba and support seems to be increasing in the past few years.
Latin Americans’ views are even more positive.
With the recent lift of trade embargoes this year, the U.S.-Cuba relationship has begun to change. American tourists have been flocking to the recently off-limits country (even the Kardashians).
With Castro’s death, onlookers hope for greater opportunities to improve the relationship between our two countries. However, some observers, including Sen. Marco Rubio, worry that by loosening embargoes and allowing inflows of money into Cuba, this could further strengthen a Communist regime now led by Castro’s brother, Raul.
President-Elect Trump and his running mate, Mike Pence have condemned Castro as a “brutal dictator” and a “tyrant.” In the past Trump has criticized the reopening of diplomatic ties with Cuba. It is unclear whether Trump will reverse Obama’s actions or continue to work with the country, leaving the future of Cuban-American relations up in the air.
All visualizations in this piece are courtesy of Graphiq.com.