The relationship between Cuba and the United States has been, for a number of years now, one of the few enduring subplots of the Soviet/American conflict known as the Cold War. I made extensive use of the Cuban Missile Crisis, one aspect of that subplot, in my third Nick Temple File, Silent Vector. With the recent announcement that Cuba and the U.S. will soon reopen their embassies in Washington, D.C., and Havana, that enduring subplot appears to be coming to a close. It will now be interesting to see what new relationship develops between our country and theirs.
The fact of Cuba, first as a Spanish colony, then, effectively, as an American appendage, and finally as an ally of America's global adversary, has challenged American policy makers from the earliest days of the Republic. The challenge was usually answered in a way that was ultimately detrimental to the Cuban people irrespective of the intentions of those promulgating our policy. As a result, although I have no idea how average Cubans feel about the recent turn of events, I wouldn't blame them if they were more than a little wary of the intentions of their powerful neighbor.
Surely Cuba will be an attractive target for commercial development driven in some measure by American fascination with sandy beaches, warm salt water, and tropical sunshine. I expect that the extent and terms of such development will be the subject of some hard bargaining over the next few years. The fact that American interests appear to be driven less by strategic planning than in the past may make a considerable difference in how both parties approach the bargaining process. Of course only time will tell if this new round of America's more than 200-year fascination with Cuba will result in a relationship that is at last mutually beneficial. As they say, stay tuned!