Cuba comes in from the cold...
Who saw that coming? Last month, Presidents Barack Obama and Raúl Castro appeared on TV, in carefully orchestrated, simultaneous broadcasts, to announce a prisoner swap. This was the start of a new era of rapprochement after more than 50 years of hostilities. The shockwaves have been felt all over the world, reaching tsunami level in Florida, where polarised opinions have always been the norm, and Cuba itself. Some feel it's about time; others are incandescent. Has a repressive communist regime been vindicated by Obama's move towards a resumption of normal diplomatic relations?
Optimism appears high on the streets of Cuba, where people await the benefits brought by improved relations with the States. When will ferries cross the 90 mile stretch again, after half a century of isolation? When will broadband internet be accessible for all on the island? When will the embargo finally be lifted, allowing unfettered trade, investment and the long-awaited improvements in everyday lives?
So many questions, hopes and fears will be addressed in 2015. One thing is certain, as Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International, made clear:
"Any efforts at political and diplomatic change must now go hand-in-glove with historic human rights change in Cuba”.
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.