The time must have come for the United States to lift its trade embargo on Cuba. Post-Fidel, positive changes have been infinitesimal, although there are signs that Raul could be moving in the right direction. However, any optimism needs to be put into context, and even if things are at present getting slightly better for the people, they could quite easily get worse at the whim of one man.
That said, the 46-year trade embargo has conclusively failed to effect positive change in Cuba and the US should consider other mechanisms if they wish to make life better for the people of Cuba. The US has conveniently played into the Communist regime’s image of imperialism. As has been shown in the case of Eastern Europe, access to markets can be a big carrot with which to tempt future leaders within the country that there is another way.
When I stayed in Havana for a few months, I was able to see the effect that Communism has had upon the people there. As a city visited by many tourists, the people of Havana know exactly what they are missing out on. For the young, who were not yet jaded by the Communist system, there was a real thirst for the profits of capitalism. Never have I visited a place in which brands were so highly sought after. It appears that in an attempt to shelter its people from global fashion, the thirst for the best has been made all the stronger.
Whenever I visited the young Cubans that I made friends with, they would play me American rap music. The sentiments in the lyrics that they empathized with was the struggle that many of these musical artists had to go through before they got the financial security that they now have and all the material benefits for friends and family that accrues from such a lifestyle.
It is time the American dream was exported.