The Barack Obama Presidency: Cuba
The joint US–Cuba announcement of 2014 was a surprise to most, but had been a long time coming. Obama’s philosophy was clear from the start of the process: He was willing to take the first step. And the focus of this eminently political step would be primarily economic. For Raul Castro and most Cubans, it was a historic step because it rewarded Havana what it long had wanted from the North: respect. That was due to the person of Barack Obama. However, whereas many observers looked at the historic nature of the improvement in ties, both Obama and Castro had the future very much in mind. Looking ahead, Cuba needs to get its legislation right in order to encourage foreign investment, while for the US the two outstanding issues are lifting the trade embargo and returning the Guantanamo Naval Base. But Obama laid a solid basis for future ties.