July 20th, 2015 – “Double Up”
– United States & Cuba relations; UN Security Council vote on Iran Nuclear Deal;
The United States and Cuba are separated by 90 miles of water, but brought together through the relationships between the two million Cuban Americans and Americans of Cuban descent that live in the United States, and the 11.27 million Cubans who share similar hopes for a more positive future for Cuba. However, what was evidently clear is that; decades of U.S. isolation of Cuba have failed to accomplish the U.S. enduring objective of promoting the emergence of a democratic, prosperous, and stable Cuba. In addition, longstanding U.S. policy towards Cuba inadvertently isolated the United States from regional and international partners. Furthermore, it constrained the United States ability to influence any positive outcomes throughout the Western Hemisphere. Albeit, the policy at the time may have been rooted in the best of intentions it however had little effects today as it did in 1961.
On the other hand, Cuba endured nearly half-a- century of enmity, crippling trade embargo, and a series of American devious stratagems. Moreover, Cuba was cut off from international trade, but, Cubans had come to learn how to live with limited resources. In addition, and worth mentioning of course – is that despite the odds Cuba had come to developed one of the finest health care systems in the world. For instance, Cuba has become the first country to eliminate the transmission of HIV and syphilis from mother to baby. This health achievement was so great that the World Health Organisation hailed it as “one of the greatest public health achievements possible” (WHO, 2015). In addition, Cuba’s Art and culture, particularly music, flourished under the communist rule. In spite of sanctions, Cuba was still able to attract international tourists amidst it rich cultural heritages and pristine beaches.
For instance, some 3 million tourists visited Cuba, more than every other Caribbean nation besides the Dominican Republic, according to the Caribbean Tourism Organization. However, Cuba saw Nearly 2 million tourists visiting the island in the first 6 months of 2015 resulting in billions of dollars in revenue for the country.
Of course, one can’t talk about the Cuban strength and tenacity amidst the American embargo without mentioning our CARICOM brother and Sisters who welcomes the normalization between U.S. and Cuba. For instance, CARICOM stood in solidarity with Cuba fighting against the U.S. Embargo and making their voices heard loudly in the halls of the international community. For example, in 1972 it was Leaders such as; Michael Manley (Jamaica), Eric Williams (Trinidad & Tobago), Errol Barrow (Barbados) and Sir Shridath Surendranath (Guyana) whose overt diplomatic relations with Cuba amidst the “Cold War” that enfeebled the hemispheric Embargo placed on Cuba by the United States.
Moreover, CARICOM member States recently pushed for Cuba’s inclusion into the Summit of the America’s in Panama (2015). For instance, St Vincent and the Grenadines Min. of Foreign Affairs et al. Camillo Gonsalves; in his address at the Summit of the America’s 2014,vehemently advocated for Cuba’s inclusion and full participation in the 2015 Summit of the America’s hosted in Panama.
Owing to Cuba’s strength, regional solidarity and a fail outdated U.S. foreign policy towards Cuba, President Barack Obama embark on reversing the U.S. failed embargo. This of course was done through months of secret negotiations between the U.S. and Cuba. In which, President Obama envisage dissolving the most fraught diplomatic relationship in the Western Hemisphere. The negotiations not only involved high level members from both the United States and Cuba, but, also Pope Francis who helped mediate the normalization process. However, let’s not to get mired in all the details leading up to U.S. – Cuba normalization and spill the long awaited good news.
On July 20th, 2015, Washington and Havana took a long awaited and significant step towards charting a new course in their Nations historic relations. As of July, 20th, 2015 the United States and Cuba officially resume diplomatic ties for the first time in 54 years. Further, the United States reopened its embassy in Havana on Monday, followed by Cuba who raised a flag outside its own stately embassy in Washington.
What’s next……? There will be an increase in U.S. Embassy Staffs and the Cuban government must allow U.S. Embassy staff to move around without restrictions (in accordance with the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations & other responsibilities of Diplomats) in order to carry out our duties effectively. U.S. staffs must be able to carry out high-level exchanges and have visits between both governments, meet with civil societies and religious leaders and so on.
Amidst the establishment of diplomatic relations, may follow talks on U.S. current immigration policy toward Cuba, reflected in the so-called 1994 and 1995 migration accords set forth in the current “wet-foot, dry-foot” policy or the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act (CAA). In addition, the increased engagement will expand the U.S. and Cuba economic relationship and strengthen their people to people connections. Especially, in areas pertaining to; “inter allia” – travel, investments, increasing of remittances, expanding commercial sales/exports from the United States of certain goods and services and help empower the nascent Cuban private sector.
A Brevity; Iran Nuclear Deal:
Building a nuclear bomb requires either uranium or plutonium. Iran would needs two key elements to construct a uranium bomb: tens of thousands of centrifuges and enough highly enriched uranium to produce enough material to construct a uranium bomb. The Natanz facility and the Fordow facility currently enrich uranium and Iran has a Uranium stockpile that create 8 to 10 Nuclear Bombs.
Under the Iran Nuclear Deal; Iran must reduce its stockpile of uranium by 98%, and will keep its level of uranium enrichment at 3.67%. Significantly, below the enrichment level needed to create a bomb. Iran has nearly 20,000 centrifuges between their Natanz and Fordow facilities. However, under the Iran Nuclear Deal, Iran must reduce its centrifuges to 6,104 for the next 10 years.
No enrichment will be allowed at the Fordow facility at all, and the only centrifuges Iran will be allowed to use are their oldest and least efficient models. Most importantly, what is blocked? Highly enriched Uranium at Natanz facility; highly enriched Uranium at Fordow facility; Weapons-Grades Plutonium and covert attempts to produce fissile material – Are All Blocked. So in a nutshell, the Iran Nuclear Deal cuts off all Iran’s potential pathways to a Nuclear Bomb.
More in-depth details can be found on Whitehouse.gov/ issue/Foreign Policy/Iran –Deal
The historic agreement struck between Iran and six world powers – the US, UK, France, China, Russia and Germany on July 14th 2015 had a few hurdles to overcome (still does – Congress approval).
However, July 20th, 2015 not only saw formal Diplomatic Relations between Washington and Havana, but, a move that will bring the Iran Nuclear Deal signed on July 14th to an important step. On July 20th the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved (15-0) a resolution that creates the basis for international economic sanctions against Iran to be lifted.
– Emmanuel Quashie