Marion Deschamps

5 Reasons Why Obama Radically Changed U.S. Policy Toward Cuba

Noam Chomsky recently commented  that the context in which Washington decided to shift its long-standing policy of isolating the communist Cuban government came after the fact that U.S. public opinion and business sectors supported the end of such a policy for a long time. And in spite of that, Washington only officially started the normalization of diplomatic relations in December 2014.
“For decades in surveys, the U.S. population has expressed their support for normalization of relations," he said in an interview with the Mexican daily La Jornada. “However, by norm, public opinion is ignored. What is more interesting is that greater sectors of the U.S. capital have been in favor [of the normalization of relations] such as pharmaceuticals, energy and agro-industrial sectors, among others. Usually, these are the sectors that in effect make the decisions, but when they are ignored, this only goes to show that there is an even greater interest in government.”
Cuba expert Jeanette Habel, from Paris Sorbonne and Arnold August, author of "Cuba and Its Neighbours: Democracy in Motion", gave some insights to teleSUR, explaining which factors combined and finally pushed President Barack Obama to radically change U.S. policy toward Cuba.
Waning Influence in Latin America
Both agree that the major factor was definitely the declining influence of the United States in Latin America, labeled as “America's backyard” since the Monroe Doctrine – based on isolating and controlling the “communist virus” at whatever cost since the triumph of the Cuban Revolution.
Habel recalled that President Barack Obama announced the beginning of a normalization process in December 2014 ahead of the 7th Summit of the Americas, due four months later. An overwhelming majority of Latin American presidents had threatened to boycott the event if Cuba was excluded from participating one more time. Fearing a tremendous diplomatic failure, Obama's team decided to reach out to their Cuban counterparts in order to start negotiating the presence of Cuba at the summit, the first step toward a normalization of diplomatic relations.

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