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Thawing US-Cuba Relations: Can The Uplifting Of Cuban Blockade Transform The Relations?

The United States not only condemned the Cuban embargo by abstaining from voting in the United Nations General Assembly on 26 October 2016 but the US ambassador Samantha Power called for the uplifting of the embargo on Cuba. The timing of this diplomatic change reflects the shift in the United States long-held position. Therefore, it is important to analyze the impact of this move on the future of US-Cuba relations and the for the Obama legacy.

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The recent session of UN general assembly was convened to discuss the resolution on Cuba. The US ambassador furthered or elaborated the arguments made in the General Assembly meeting to reassert the Obama administration's stance on ending the Cuban isolation in form of putting an end to the imposed Cuban embargo by the United Nations. To put simply, the UN's embargo cripples the ability of Cuba to peruse relations with the world and trade with the United States.

Furthermore, the explanations given by the US ambassador underscored the ineffective of the embargo while acknowledging the UN resolution logic, which concerns with the Cuban violation of the international law. In this regard, another point of the Ambassador emphasized the presence of many difference between the US and Cuba, as the total transformation or change on the myriad of political issues cannot be surmounted all of sudden. Hence, the positives outcomes of the diplomatic breakthrough cannot be overestimated either.

This diplomatic breakthrough may seem sudden to some, however, if one trace back to the visit of Mr. Obama to Cuba in March, it becomes clear that the change in America position on Cuba is an outcome of months of lobbying and diplomatic efforts of the Obama administration. The significance of this change can be understood from the opposition of the US to the uplifting of Cuba’s embargo since 1994. However, President Obama visit to Cuba was marked by the pledge to end the embargo on Cuba in March, which was seen as the game-changing announcement by the commentators.

Why is the uplifting of Embargo Important for Cuba?

The rapprochement of US towards Cuba began as a result of the President Obama's visit to Cuba in 2014 in order to change the isolationist policy of US on Cuba. The main purpose of the visit was to overcome the years of hostility between the two states. Even though the non-binding nature of UN General Assembly will not drastically transform US-Cuban relations, yet, the diplomatic message of US for Cuba attached with it may play a role in addressing the grievances of Cuba concerned with the role of Cuba in global economy and politics.

If the embargo is uplifted from Cuba, it would mean that the loss of $ 4.96 billion between April 2015 and March 2016 can be reversed, as the economic sanctions were imposed on Cuba in the aftermath of the 1959 revolution. Similarly, Cuba would be allowed to carry trade with the US. This diplomatic break is lauded by the Cuban foreign minister. Likewise, the socio-economic ties could also be improved, as most of the Cubans view the sanction as unjust or unfair which is damaging the economic conditions of Cuban and affecting people.


Despite the Obama's administration policy shift on Cuba, the support for reproach between the US and Cuba is expected to be opposed by the Republican-dominated Congress. This diplomatic move could also heighten the tensions between Democrats and Republicans. Similarly, the future prospects of this shift or change in position critically rely on the American Presidential Elections result, as the new administration could reverse the diplomatic efforts made by the present government. However, if the Democratic nominee gets elected, it may further the rapprochement in addition to actualizing the improvement in the relation between the US and Cuba.

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