Last week President Obama became the first President of the U.S to visit Cuba since 1962’s implementation of the economic embargo.
The visit has come as part of the ongoing process of opening Havana to the United States. It would be foolhardy though to consider that normalising trade between the countries would only take a Presidential pit-stop.
The embargo has meant that most U.S businesses are unable to trade with Cuba due to legislation. The political climate in America will play a large role in the timeframe of the reopening. With U.S Houses of Congress currently controlled by the Republican opposition the chances of legislation passing to end the embargo is slim, especially during the end of a Democratic administration. The timeframe is pushed further ahead due to the election year and the inability of the Obama administration to find a consensus in this period.
There are still many issues ahead which the new U.S President will have to negotiate, some of which are major stumbling blocks. Pulling Cuba into line with human rights stipulations and its treatment of dissidents will be high up the list of issues. The U.S will have its own problems though, having to compensate U.S property owners in Cuba for assets apprehended after the revolution in 1952, and trying to relax federal restrictions in the U.S Treasury if they want to enhance trade between the countries.
There will be many potholes on the road ahead to ending the embargo, but the primary one could be an incumbent President without the motivation to change trade legislation.