President Obama and his family have made a historic trip to Cuba. It’s the first visit by a sitting U.S. president since Calvin Coolidge. Despite President Obama’s efforts to improve U.S.-Cuba relations, the American embargo is still in place and the island nation’s record on human rights violations continues to be a significant issue.
Both areas offer many research paper topics to consider for classes in political science, economics, history and more.
Improving U.S.-Cuba relations
It was 1928 when Calvin Coolidge, then president of the United States, set foot on the island of Cuba. Since that time, U.S.-Cuba relations soured significantly as the island fell under the sway of communism and later as tensions escalated, culminating in the Cuban Missile Crisis. Research paper ideas could examine the history of U.S.-Cuba relations, and how the American embargo has affected the island, not only economically, but also culturally and politically.
But the tide of history appears to be shifting, with President Obama not only making a visit to the island, but also making efforts towards normalizing relations with Cuba. In “Why Obama’s visit to Cuba is groundbreaking” posted on The Economist’s blog, The Economist Explains, on March 20, 2016, we learn more about what the visit from President Obama means for the people of Cuba. The blog noted that the visit “signals a new beginning to the way the countries relate to each other and has been received in Cuba as an indication that the American government is starting to see the island as an equal rather than a subordinate.”
Will the American embargo be lifted?
U.S.-Cuba relations have improved since President Obama and Raul Castro restored diplomatic ties between the two nations, including reopening the embassies in Havana and Washington, D.C. A new round of changes were announced prior to the visit President Obama made to Cuba. The details were explained in “U.S. Eases More Cuba Restrictions; Loosening of Currency and Travel Limits Comes Ahead of Obama’s Visit” by Julie Hirschfeld Davis for the March 16, 2016, edition of The International New York Times.
Hirschfeld Davis wrote the new changes “would allow individuals to travel to Cuba for “people to people” educational trips and would lift limits on the use of American dollars in transactions with Cuba, wiping away stiff restrictions on travel and commerce.” The American embargo remains in place however, with the Republican-led Congress unlikely to alter that any time soon.
Cuba’s human rights violations
One area of particular concern for many when it comes to further normalization of U.S.-Cuba relations is the island nation’s record of human rights violations. Alan Gomez wrote, “Cuba arrests dozens of human rights protesters before Obama’s arrival” for USAToday.com on March 20, 2016, with the latest about clashes between Cuban authorities and dissidents.
“Just hours before President Obama landed Sunday in Cuba for his historic visit to the communist island, Cuban authorities arrested more than 50 dissidents who were marching to demand improved human rights,” wrote Gomez. President Obama had said he would meet with some dissidents during his visit to discuss the topic of human rights violations in Cuba, but it was uncertain if the Cuban government would allow the meetings. A research paper could examine Cuba’s history of human rights violations, as well as other ways the communist government has repressed its people.
How has the American embargo on Cuba hurt both countries? What else can be done to improve U.S.-Cuba relations? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.