For Monasterio and others, the visit merges soft diplomacy through cultural and student exchanges with state diplomacy. "It's in the people-to-people world ... where Canadian-Cuban relationships are the most significant," said Karen Dubinsky, who teaches in a joint Queen's University-University of Havana course that brings Cuban students to Canada and sends Canadian students to Cuba.
On October 14, the U.S. departments of the Treasury and Commerce also released a sixth set of regulatory amendments to the Cuba sanctions program. These amendments make it easier to engage in authorized travel and business with Cuba [...] “I believe in the Cuban people. This is not just a policy of normalizing relations with the Cuban government. The United States of America is normalizing relations with the Cuban people,” the president said.
The administration further relaxed economic restrictions on Cuba Friday, allowing more collaboration on medical research, the approval of Cuban drugs for import and the lifting of monetary limits on cigars and rum imports.The moves make the U.S. openings to Cuba "irreversible," President Barack Obama said in a statement.
The Cuban government announced today it is sending a medical team to Haiti for the relief of the victims after the devastating hurricane “Matthew”, local media reported. “A brigade of 38 Cuban doctors specialized in disaster situations will leave for Haiti,” said an official note read on Cuban television.
A month earlier, the blossoming mood of rapprochement was given a sprinkling of goodwill when a New York Cosmos team including Brazilian legend Pele in their delegation traveled to Havana to face Cuba in a friendly. It highlighted the role sport has played to thaw hitherto chilly relations between the two nations, a strategic tool the United States has made use of repeatedly for decades.
There have been wonderful, detailed accounts of this historic visit, and its function (cultural diplomacy), nature (friendly and collaborative), and outcomes (artistic and financial commitments), so I won't rehash those here. What I'll focus on instead is the immeasurable component of art itself in the rebuilding of relationships at a people-to-people level.
Headlines focused on the use of music diplomacy in bridging the gap between cultures
Cuba is in a position where it could use some soft power appeal, particularly on the same social issues—like unemployment or the treatment of Afro-Latinos—that neighboring countries are going through. If Cuba is aiming to have a rap scene with actual international appeal beyond the club circuit, the state should relax its hold.