By Hanna Humphreys
54 years after the US officially broke ties with Cuba under the newly inaugurated Kennedy administration, diplomats from both nations report that relations are nearly restored enough to reestablish a US embassy on the island nation nearly 90 miles off the coast of Florida.
Foreign officials have undergone five months of negotiations making little progress, but Cuban Foreign Ministry deputy director of US affairs, Gustavo Machìn told CNN that this third round of negotiations could lead to progress, including restoring banking relations for Cuba’s mission in Washington and eventually ending the long-term trade embargo established when the US put Cuba on its list of nations that sponsor terrorism.
Although the US and Cuba have not kept official embassies over the past half century, each has missions in their respective nations, consisting of fewer than 50 diplomats and limited in their negotiating powers. In order for a diplomat to leave the country to return home in either country, he or she must be granted permission. Foreign relations officials hope that the latest talks grant diplomats additional freedoms while maintaining national interests and security.
Although Cuba no longer holds a space on the US list of terror-supportive nations, diplomatic pundits expect any real amicable relationship with Cuba will take years to form, as Cuban president Raul Castro openly expressed his distrust towards the US, its journalists in particular, in his historic meeting with President Obama last month.
One issue about which the US is especially concerned is Cuba’s single party political system which has a tendency to support tyranny. However, Cuba is by no means the only nation to use this system; China is another and it holds one of five permanent seats on the UN Security Council.
In 2014, 188 of the 193 members of the United Nations voted that the US trade embargo against Cuba end, supporting the resolution “Necessity of Ending Economic, Commercial, and Financial Embargo imposed by the United States against Cuba,” the most recent of 23 total UN votes to end the hostile relations.
As of May 16, the US has an even better reason to hasten its negotiations – Cuba has announced its development of Climavax, a possible lung cancer vaccine that could help prevent the leading cause of cancer death in the US, stopping cancer growth in people already diagnosed with it. Working with Cuba may be more beneficial than Americans still supporting the embargo would believe. It currently has the highest per capita rate of doctors, as well as a free universal public healthcare system, and a rapidly growing biotechnology industry.