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6.05 Cold War Assignment Honors
Transcript of 6.05 Cold War Assignment Honors
Relationship between the U.S. and Cuba in the 1960s
When Fidel Castro came to power in 1959, relations between the two countries quickly devolved into bitter arguments, political grandstanding and the occasional international crisis. And while Cuba lies less than 100 miles (160 km) off the coast of Florida, the two nations have had no diplomatic relations since 1961 and use Switzerland as a mediator whenever they need to talk.Castro wanted to end U.S. economic domination of Cuba. He nationalized the island's sugar plantations and factories. He passed laws limiting the size of landholdings and outlawing the foreign ownership of property. He also set up a Soviet-style system in which farmers became employees of the state. By the end of 1959, he had purged the army of his critics and taken control of the media. Refugees fled the island for the United States. Some had been supporters of Batista, while others were members of Cuba's educated and professional class. They saw no future for themselves in a communist Cuba. They established Cuban-American communities in places like Miami and Tampa, Florida and Union City, New Jersey. Castro initially denied being a communist. However, he opened relations with the Soviet Union and welcomed Soviet military advisers. In February 1960, he agreed to buy oil from the U.S.S.R. When U.S.-owned oil refineries in Cuba refused to process it, Castro seized them. The United States retaliated by cutting imports of Cuban sugar. President Eisenhower broke diplomatic relations with Cuba shortly before he left office in 1961. Historically, this was a final step before declaring war.
Current relationship between the U.S. and Cuba
President Barack Obama announced that he would lift remittance and travel restrictions for those with family still in Cuba and that he would ease, but not remove, the 47-year-old embargo on the island nation. Obama also agreed to let telecommunications companies to pursue business. The last decade has seen the U.S. tighten and then relax restrictions depending on the political climate. A 2001 agreement to sell food to Cuba in the aftermath of Hurricane Michelle has so far remained in place; the United States is now Cuba's main supplier of food, with sales reaching $710 million in 2008. President Obama's announcement this week that he would lift remittance and travel restrictions for those with family still in Cuba marked a small but significant change in the U.S.'s position toward the island. Obama also agreed to let telecommunications companies — long barred under the embargo — to pursue business in the country, which still has roughly the same number of phone lines as it did in the 1950s. But the fate of the embargo rests in the sensitive hands of politicians, and no one is sure what Cuba's reaction will be. President Raúl Castro (who took over for his brother after Fidel underwent surgery in 2006) has indicated that he would like to open a dialogue with the U.S.
Two positive and two negative effects of the current relationship on U.S society or the U.S government
The last decade has seen the U.S. tighten and then relax restrictions depending on the political climate.
A 2001 agreement to sell food to Cuba in the aftermath of Hurricane Michelle has so far remained in place; the United States is now Cuba's main supplier of food, with sales reaching $710 million in 2008.