U.S. President Barack Obama and his Cuban counterpart Raúl Castro will go down in history as two statesmen who managed to overcome more than half a century of hostility to bring back together two neighbouring countries with too many shared interests to remain at loggerheads.
Activists and researchers dedicated to the study of gender violence in Cuba insist on the need for a comprehensive law to protect the victims and prevent the problem, which was publicly ignored until only a few years ago in this socialist Caribbean island nation.
While the normalisation of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba is moving ahead, and the U.S. and Cuban flags have been proudly waving in Havana and Washington, respectively, since last July, the year gone by since the thaw has left many unanswered questions.
The crisis that has broken out at several border crossings in Latin America as a result of thousands of Cubans attempting to reach the United States has revived a problem that remains unresolved between the two countries in spite of agreements, negotiations and the diplomatic thaw that started a year ago.
Denia Arrascaeta suffers water shortages on a near daily basis in the neighbourhood in the Cuban capital where she lives. “Sometimes I don’t even have water to drink,” she told IPS.
Cuba and the United Arab Emirates agreed to strengthen diplomatic ties and bilateral cooperation during an official visit to this Caribbean island nation by the UAE minister of foreign affairs, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
U.S. President Barack Obama was only four days old when Comandante Ernesto “Che” Guevara publicly castigated the United States’ policy of hostility toward Cuba at an inter-American summit, reiterated then Prime Minister Fidel Castro’s willingness to resolve differences through dialogue on an equal footing, and held secret conversations with a Washington envoy.
The biggest discrepancies in the first meeting to normalise relations between Cuba and the United States, after more than half a century, were over the issue of human rights. But what stood out in the talks was a keen interest in forging ahead, in a process led by two women.
Cuba has decided to move ahead in its talks with the European Union towards an agreement on cooperation parallel to the negotiations aimed at normalising relations with the United States after more than half a century of hostility.
Meat and vegetables are never missing from the dinner table of Damaris González and Omar Navarro, since they get almost all of their food from their farm, La Revelación, on the outskirts of the city of Santiago de Cuba, 765 km east of the Cuban capital.
The normalisation of relations between Cuba and the United States opens up a new path of “readjustments not free of risks”, which forms part of the process of “national transformation” ushered in by Raúl Castro, said Lenier González, one of the creators of the citizen initiative Cuba Posible.
The announcement that the United States and Cuba would reestablish diplomatic relations took most Cubans by surprise. Over half of the population was born after the severing of ties in 1961 and the start of the embargo that has marked their lives.
One of the major challenges assumed by President Raúl Castro when he launched a series of reforms in Cuba is improving living standards in a country still suffering from a recession that began over 20 years ago and has undermined the aim of achieving economic and social equality.
Leonor Pedroso’s sewing machine has dressed children in the Cuban town of Florida for 30 years. But it was only a few months ago that the seamstress was able to become formally self-employed.
Cuba’s sugar industry hopes to become the main source of clean energy in the country as part of a programme to develop renewable sources aimed at reducing dependence on imported fossil fuels and protecting the environment.