Authors foresee thawing in US-Cuba relations

The United States trade and financial embargo against Cuba has been in force for more than 50 years. While President Barack Obama eased some restrictions when he first took office, the authors of a new book believe that there could be an opportunity for further breakthroughs after next month’s midterm elections. CCTV America’s Michael Voss reports from Cuba.

Peter Kornbluh and William LeoGrande have spent the past ten years poring over declassified U.S. documents relating to U.S. Cuban relations. Currently, they have published their findings in a book “Back Channel to Cuba“, detailing decades of secret backdoor negotiations.

“One of the things that surprised us was how consistently Fidel Castro would send feelers for peace to new US presidents when they were elected. Every single administration including Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan,” LeoGrande said.

The authors believe that there is a rare opportunity to normalize relations, with reforms underway in Cuba and changing attitudes in the United States.

“Right now is the best moment for change in the perpetual hostility in U.S. relations with Cuba. You have a second term president who doesn’t have to run for re-election, you have a change of public opinion in Miami, Florida, being the swing state that candidates have always worried about,” Kornbluh said.

Last year President Obama and Raul Castro, President of the Council of State of Cuba, shook hands at a memorial service for Nelson Mandela. Next year they may be sitting down around the same table together.

At the last Summit of the Americas in Colombia, regional leaders warned Obama that they would boycott future summits if Cuba was not allowed to attend. Panama is due to host the next summit in April 2015.

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