How America’s Relationship With Cuba Will Change

POLITICS

President Obama has announced the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba. What does this mean? (New York Times)

Looks like we’re going to have to update our encyclopedic entry on “diplomacy”!

Teachers, scroll down for a short list of key resources in our Teachers’ Toolkit.

Discussion Ideas

  • What are diplomatic relations? Read our encyclopedic entry on “diplomacy” for some help.
    • Diplomatic relations are simply the formal, official ties between nations. This usually includes representatives of different groups discussing such issues as conflict, trade, the environment, technology, or security.
    • A more specific definition of diplomatic relations refers to a relationship between two nations in which they send diplomats to work in each other’s country.

 

  • How will President Obama’s announcement change diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba?
    • The U.S. Department of State will open a U.S. embassy in Havana, Cuba.
    • In the video above, President Obama says the U.S. and Cuba will work together on “issues like health, migration, counter-terrorism, drug trafficking, and disaster response.”

 

 

  • Take a look at the short, easy-to-understand outline from the New York Times. Besides the establishment of formal diplomatic relations, what sector will be most impacted by the new U.S-Cuba relationship?
    • The financial sector (“Banking and Trade Embargo”) will be enormously impacted. According to the Times:
      • U.S. banks and other financial institutions will be able to open accounts at Cuban banks and financial institutions.
      • Travelers to Cuba will be allowed to use American credit cards and debit cards.
      • United States entities in third countries will be allowed to engage in transactions and meetings with Cuban individuals in third countries.
      • Certain items that support the Cuban private sector will be allowed for export, including certain building materials and agricultural equipment.
      • Certain items that support telecommunications in Cuba will be allowed for export, and companies will be allowed to establish related infrastructure.
      • Licensed American travelers will be able to import $400 worth of goods (including up to $100 in tobacco and alcohol).
The establishment of diplomatic relations will likely have a positive impact on Cuba's economy, depicted here on a 2012 Nat Geo map. The banking, tourism, and agricultural industries will probably be the most affected sectors of the economy. (The map suggests listening to "Cuban native and NGS cartographer Juan Valdes narrate an emigration time line. You can watch a video here!) Map by Martin Gamache, National Geographic

The establishment of diplomatic relations will likely have a positive impact on Cuba’s economy, depicted here on a 2012 Nat Geo map. Click to enlarge! (The map suggests listening to “Cuban native and NGS cartographer Juan Valdes narrate an emigration time line.” You can watch that video here!)
Map by Martin Gamache, National Geographic

 

  • Part of the announcement includes Secretary of State John Kerry reviewing Cuba’s status as a “state sponsor of terrorism”—nations the U.S. says provide financial and military support for international terrorist organizations. (Cuba has been suspected of supporting the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA).) What other nations are on this list? Does the U.S. have diplomatic relations with any of them?
    • Only three other nations are designated state sponsors of terrorism: Iran, Sudan, and Syria.
    • Although the policies are different and complex, the U.S. does not have full diplomatic relations with Iran, Sudan, or Syria.

 

  • What does the announcement mean for travel to Cuba? Consult the Times outline for some help.
    • Travel to Cuba will still be limited, but President Obama will expand licenses to travel for many reasons. According to the Times, these include:
      • public performances, workshops, and athletic competitions
      • support for the Cuban people, including human rights work
      • humanitarian work
      • private foundations and institutes
      • information dissemination
      • travel related to export of authorized products

 

TEACHERS’ TOOLKIT

New York Times: How America’s Relationship With Cuba Will Change

Nat Geo: What is diplomacy?

United States Interests Section, Havana, Cuba

White House: Charting a New Course on Cuba

3 responses to “How America’s Relationship With Cuba Will Change

  1. Pingback: Four Ways to Teach about Fidel Castro | Nat Geo Education Blog·

  2. Pingback: This Week in Geographic History, October 17 – 23 | Nat Geo Education Blog·

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