Cuba. The United States …Ireland. The United Kingdom, two small Islands beside two big Superpowers. Ok fair enough Ireland was not a communist state when the British decided to rape the Irish people of their land and lead them to hunger & depravation amongst many more until the Irish begun their own revolution in 1916, but when you look at the actions of the Superpower and the effects their actions have had on these islands you notice many similarities in migratory patterns to other countries in search of better lives, living and social circumstances and unjust rule throughout their history. Ireland came out of their phase when they declared independence from the British in 1916 bringing them forward into a new world but unfortunately for the Cuban people their day of independence from Fidel Castro and Cuba’s ruling Popular Party has yet to come. Having grown up in Ireland and learning its fascinating history especially between the British and Irish I cannot help but compare the similar paths both islands have suffered in history, due to nothing more than their geographical location, unfortunately being the next door neighbor of a superpower brings many positives, many negatives and much dependency. Today Britain is Ireland’s main partner in trade and most certainly if you were to take this business partner away Ireland would find it very hard to function on an economical, political and social scale on many levels due to their dependency on Britain. Funny how all the bad is soon forgotten when business is the common language and game. Something Cuba has not benefited from its position with the United States for over 50 years now.
Writing from a bird eye’s view of the everyday life, social surroundings and social political views this tropical paradise has to offer from an outsiders unbiased perspective it just makes me think how far and how much longer we are going to have to sit back and witness the highly Hippocratic political situation between the most powerful country in the Western world and it’s socialist dictator neighbor. I am talking off course about The United States and Cuba. As a Cuban born citizen, whose family immigrated to Ireland in the early 90’s, I consider my views on this topic to be less biased than those of Cuban Americans. However, now at age 26, I moved to Florida and cannot help but wonder why the United States still pursues Cuba on unfair humanitarian grounds, firmly holds an embargo when clearly both countries have more to lose than gain with these restrictions on this island and it’s people when on the other side the Americans are in part to blame for 90% of the wars around the world, the devaluation of world currencies and markets, the current global economic crisis and many violations of human rights and recent atrocities themselves. Americans do plenty of business with countries like China, Venezuela and other more questionable left wing Latin American states without hesitation, but when it comes to Cuba there is something there that neither side wants uncovered. I hope the delegation from the United States Congress that called on Cuban president Raul Castro on 24 February 2012 to discuss bilateral relations had great success. The Congress delegation included Patrick Leahy, Democratic Senator from the state of Vermont and president of Judicial Committee of the Senate, and Richard Shelby, Republican Senator from the state of Alabama and leader of the minority of the Committee of Banking, Housing and Urban Matters, they went to Cuba as part of a delegation of Senators and Representatives of the Congress of United States. The quest into the real reason as to why there is continuing separation between these two countries lives on today, taking into consideration all the reasons as to why they should be closer than ever. There is no real debate, the past, all barriers and bridges must be rebuilt to ensure the future looks brighter for the people of Cuba.
The United States has an open door policy when it comes to Cuban born citizens or Cuban passport holders, one of the only, if not the only nationality with a free pass into the United States with what you could almost describe as Automatic Permanent Residency or “Green Card” within 1 year and one day of arrival to the United States, no questions asked. No Cuban is refused. Not to mention the daily charter flights with Jetblue or American Airlines who fly to Cuba direct from Miami International Airport full of Cuban Americans amongst other permit holders who have been granted a travel permit to Cuba from the United States. On a previous visit to South Beach I met a young all - American couple who had been granted a “humanitarian” based permit to travel to Cuba…in reality what they were really going to do was visit a popular annual week long Cigar Festival in Havana, party and smoke “real Cuba cigars” to their hearts content. It seems to me that open relations between both countries are essential in today’s world. Relations must be put at ease once and for all. We the people must make this happen, not only Cubans or Cuban Americans, but Cubans are also very diverse people, we are Europeans, Asians, African, Hispanic and many other races which fled to Cuba over its history. They have also endured this struggle on path to freedom, it is now up to all our brothers and sisters around the globe to come together and help this beautiful island rise.
In the most recent presidential elections 47% of Cuban Americans voted for Barack Obama, this indicates how this era of Cuban Americans have changed with time, a more progressive view and higher education and empowerment proves this generation have left those republican roots behind and are moving more toward the political center. Today I read that the United States will be building a 40 million dollar underwater communications line from an undisclosed location in Florida to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to be completed over the next couple of years, providing a high speed upgrade to the current satellite communications being used which is unreliable especially during storms and bad weather when it is most needed. Guantanamo Bay is already the most expensive to run prison in the world hosting “the worlds most dangerous terrorists captive”. It is completely unrealistic to think that in reality the US and Cuba really are not partners in crime….I mean restrictions loosened in April is in the realm of telecommunications which would allow quicker and easier access to the internet for Cuba. At the 5th Summit of the Americas President Obama signaled the opening of a new beginning with Cuba. Could it be that the United States is getting ready to take over Cuba? Not right now but I believe that at some point in the future, perhaps post Fidel Castro, the Americans will be in a very good situation to advance on Cuba with the power of people and money for good, not war like in Iraq and Afghanistan. They already have access to the island via Guantanamo Bay and pretty much the separation of only 90 miles between both countries. The United States are building infrastructure on this piece of the island, even McDonalds, Subway and now a 40 million dollar communications line from The US to Cuba, whether it is Guantanamo or not it is still Cuba and always will be. Just like the British, The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland which was never returned to the republic after the troubles.. Well is Cuba to expect at some point in the future to be a divided island with Guantanamo being part of The US and the rest being the Republic of Cuba..Let’s put it into perspective as the United States has been opening its doors to millions of Cubans over the decades, now days they have evolved into successful and respected members of American society with even representatives in the US Senate and government departments. If the Republicans have their way in the upcoming presidential elections, this country will have its first Cuban American vice president.
There are many influential Cuban Americans citizens I can only imagine have matured financially over the years and would have means that if the opportunity were given, they would be the first in line for an investment in property or business in Cuba without hesitation due to its huge potential on returns and geographical proximity to the United States, Caribbean and South America not just that but Cuba has the potential with the right guidance in a post Castro revolution to become once again the jewel of the Caribbean. This opportunity would excite not only American investors but attract projects from all around the world and with it, bringing many needed jobs and revenue revitalizing the island and its ever optimistic but currently deflated population. I would love to see this in my lifetime, in one way or another Cuba will need help from someone if the US does not step up. The United States might not want to realize it but they would benefit greatly from better relations between the two countries more than they might think. It is inevitable that Cuba will rise and become once again a glorious opportunity of virgin land, beaches and living for not only its people but the rest of the world. Most likely in the end with American backing and ex pat investment. First though let’s be real and note that the United States of America are no angels, from what the world has witnessed over the past few years isn’t it time they gave up the ‘Big Daddy’ attitude towards Cuba and allow them by means of open trade to develop over time rather than change instantly which is what is the idealistic expectation from the United States and their demands which are unsustainable and chaotic in both the short and long terms for Cuban society, Let’s be reasonable America. Play fair and you will reap the rewards in the long run.
By Omar J