The “Cuban-Thaw” was a brokering of agreements between President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro that began in 2014 and vastly improved U.S. relations with Cuba. The historic gesture marked the end of 54 years of hostility between the two countires.
As the world continues to reflect on the recent death of former Cuban President Fidel Castro, here are 13 ways U.S.-Cuban relations improved under the Obama Administration.
1. In December of 2014, President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro began taking steps to improve relations between the U.S. and Cuba.
2. The historic “prisoner swap” between the United States and Cuba in December of 2014 marked the most significant shift in White House policy towards Cuba since the implementation of the 1962 embargo.
3. In January of 2015, the Obama Adminstration took executive action to ease several strict restrictions on travel to Cuba by U.S. Citizens.
4. In February of 2015, several restrictions affecting the importing and exporting of goods between the U.S. and Cuba were also lifted.
5. In May of 2015, Cuba was officially removed from the U.S. State Sponsors of Terrorism list, which includes countries believed to have provided support for international acts of terrorism.
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6. In May of 2015, the Cuban government opened a bank account in the U.S. to be used for conducting non-cash business transactions, which they’d previously not been able to do since th embargo began.
7. By May of 2015, U.S. travel to Cuba by Americans with no family ties to the country had risen by 36%
8. An agreement to provide for regularly schedueld flights between the U.S. and Cuba took effect in February of 2016.
9. In March of 2016, President Obama became the first sitting U.S. President to visit Cuba in 88 years.
10. In March of 2016, President Obama and President Castro attended a higly publicized exhibition game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team in Havanna.
11. In March of 2016, Starwood Hotels became the first U.S. company to broker a business deal with Cuba since the 1959 revolution
12. In March of 2016, postal service between the U.S. and Cuba resumed for the first time since 1963.
13. U.S. companies Airbnb and Netflix began operating in Cuba in July of 2016.