With the end of the Cuban embargo, the retirement of Raul Castro and the removal of Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, a lot changes are happening in Cuba. People around the world seem to be asking one question: What does this all mean for Cuba, the United States and for the world?
As of December 17, 2014, Cuba and the United States are working towards restoring full diplomatic ties and with that will come the end of the Cuban embargo. United States President Barack Obama also announced on April 14, 2015, that Cuba would officially be taken off the list of state sponsors of terrorism.
“The normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States is the smartest policy available to Obama and will benefit both nations”, says Jane Landers a history professor at Vanderbilt who has consistently visited Cuba several times.
With two major steps forward for the relationship between Cuba and the United States, this will allow for welcomed changes to begin establishing. One of these changes is the lift of travel restrictions to Cuba.
In January 2015 new travel rules and were enacted to enable U.S. travelers to visit Cuba without having to obtain a government license. Authorized reasons for traveling to the country include family visits, journalistic activity, educational activity, public performances, etc. Authorized airlines will now be permitted to fly to the country and travelers will now be allowed to use credit and debit cards. More importantly though tourists are able to bring back up to $400 worth of Cuban goods, no more than $100 of Cuban alcohol or tobacco products, for personal use.
President Obama has also announced his plan to reopen the U.S. Embassy in Havana. “One thing that will surely change as the U.S. deals more directly with Cuba is the standard of living will slowly climb as more U.S. businesses locate there to take advantage of the educated labor pool,” states Landers.
With this influx of tourism coming to the country, the idea of opening Cuba’s economy to outside investors and visitors will help to grow the influx of money and people to ultimately improve the state of Cuba.
While there is still much to be done and improved before the relationship between Cuba and the United States can be completely restored, there are great strides being made in that direction. What the future holds for Cuba and its people will definitely be an enticing story to watch unfold.