us-cuba relations

But the new relationship will give American diplomats greater leeway to reach out to dissidents. Instead of asking permission to travel around the island, diplomats simply have to notify the government of their travel plans. Not ideal, but then Cuba is not a free country. That’s the whole point of the new policy, to achieve by engagement — soft power, if you will — what hard power could not achieve during the Cold War and beyond.

The embassy itself, an acclaimed example of midcentury modern architecture, has been rotting for just as long. In a sense, it’s a beautifully tragic metaphor for the arc of post-war American history. [...] Completed in 1953, the subtly imposing structure implied a sense of American superiority as the Space Race took off and the Cold War heated up. 

U.S. Marines raised the Stars and Stripes over the newly reopened American Embassy in Cuba on Friday as Secretary of State John Kerry made an unprecedented nationally broadcast call for democratic change on the island ruled by a single party for more than five decades.

It’s not an abstract question. The Obama administration’s decision to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba is banked on the belief that the United States can do more to encourage change on the island through a soft-power strategy of “engagement.” And a big part of that, in Cuba, means figuring out how to change the profile of U.S. diplomacy — and throw a good party again.

Cuba opens Washington embassy, urges end to embargo

For the first time in 54 years, the U.S. and Cuba reopened their embassies on Monday, marking a return to diplomatic engagement between the two countries.

In the case of Cuba, engagement has begun through public diplomacy, but it neither ends nor even reaches its highest potential there. In this new business environment, corporate organizations entering the Cuban market will understandably be focused on business opportunities. But a larger, longer opportunity also awaits -- if we have the patience to build it.

With President Barack Obama seeking to normalize the United States' relations with Cuba, various colleges are now trying to implement exchange programs with the island nation. [...] Schools are not only seeking to exchange students between the U.S. and Cuba, but are also seeking to recruit prospective applicants, the AP noted.

Ever since President Obama’s historic announcement in early December 2014, calling for the restoration of diplomatic ties between Washington and Havana, eyes have turned toward Cuba, waiting to see what changes the new dynamic will bring to the island nation.