On Saturday, April 11th, 2015 President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro held a meeting in Panama during the Summit of Americas that is considered a historic event. According to a recent New York Times article, “The two leaders sat down for the first meeting between Cuban and American heads of state since before the 1959 revolution that deposed…Fulgencio Batista”. Multiple sources have recounted the meeting’s atmosphere to be cordial and at times even friendly, especially with news that Raul Castro expressed trust and admiration for Obama. President Barack Obama has stated that after meeting with Castro, Cuba’s status as a state sponsor of terror has not been changed as of yet.
The meeting’s main takeaway has been the two leaders’ recognition of their inherent differences and the importance of working through foreign policy disagreements in order to (as Obama has been quoted) “turn the page and develop a new relationship between the two countries”. Other leaders from Latin America as well as the Caribbean have expressed their praise of the presidents’ desires to meet and potentially thaw Cuban-American relations. For example, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has stated that it has taken large amounts of courage from both sides in order to move past historic tensions, such as those stemming from the Cold War.
Although no new policy changes were made during the meeting between President Obama and Cuban President Castro, this event may signal a new relationship developing between the two countries.
Aryana Navarro ’18