Editorial: Next president holds fate of Cuba relationship

Editorial Board

Since the 1960s the pages of the United State’s history books have featured the negative memories associated with our relationship with Cuba. From Fidel Castro’s communist rise to the failed Bay of Pigs invasion to the 1962 Missile Crisis nothing positive has occurred between the United States and our southern neighbor in years. That is until President Barack Obama ended the standoff and reopened the two nations’ line of communication and has become the first president in more than 90 years to visit Cuba.

With the volatile nation only 90 miles off the coast of Florida no one was messing around when U.S. government officials cut off all contact with Cuba during the Eisenhower administration, including imports, exports and travel. The United States essentially put Cuba in a time warp because as our technology advanced, Cuba had to make due with what it had.

No fast food chains, no clothing chains, no U.S. compatible cell phone towers and no modern cars.

The end to a longstanding negative relationship will result in big changes for Cuba when it comes to these listed points in addition to more important government related items. However, it also means big things for the United States as a whole as well as for those competing for Democratic and Republican nominations.

It’s easy to hold a grudge about little things, so it would have been even easier to hold a grudge toward Cuba for all the errors in judgment the country made in its past. Although Obama was not the sole decision-maker in the reforming of the two nations’ relationships, his momentous decision to go and visit Cuba and its leaders speaks volumes to what it takes to be a president who successfully forms relationships with other nations or in this case patches up a broken relationship.

Only five candidates for president remain in what has been — for lack of a better explanation — an interesting race for the White House, and an argument can be made for and against all of them when it comes to their relationship skills. However, whoever is ultimately elected will be charged with the responsibility of maintaining this budding relationships in a way that will not result in a repeat of what took place 50 years ago.

This renewed relationship could go in a dozen different directions that could hurt or help both countries and the bulk of those directions rest on the shoulders of our next president. As the days before the election continue to shrink, this relationship is something voters and candidates should keep in mind.