It was with great joy and a sense of amusement that I greeted the news of the USA’s reestablishment of relations with the Communist state of Cuba.
It has been a long time coming, President Barack Obama and Pope Francis are both deserving of the praise they are receiving. I say joy because it symbolizes the end of an era and amusement at the reactions it has garnered from persons. However it could have been done sooner, at almost every gathering of the United Nations, the chorus of lifting a senseless and hostile embargo has been sung by over 200 countries and resisted by only two, the United States itself and Israel, the unofficial 53rd state of America.
This embargo on diplomatic relations was the legacy of a bygone era, a vestige of when ideologies clashed and the Cold War raged in silence, but enough of that. The question that has been on everyone’s mind in Jamaica is what does this mean for us?
Jamaica has long enjoyed the favour of the United States as we were seen as a leader in the region and acted as a liaison among our Caribbean neighbors. We were also a ready source of cheap labour as many sought to migrate to Uncle Sam’s country. But with the opening of relations between these two countries, there is the talk of the economic effects that could take place. Cuba has one of the highest literacy rates in the world world thanks to its strict policy of almost every man being equal. This makes their population ripe and ready for training. Cuba has long maintained a dominance in the area of health with its doctors being among the best in the world despite a shortage of many modern technologies. This makes them highly sought after as they resourceful and quite adaptive to many situations. In short, One of Cuba’s greatest exports is its people.
Another prevalent argument is the tourism industry of other Caribbean countries being impacted by these talks. Tourism has long been the golden goose of the many Caribbean countries with a majority of our visitors being from the North American market. Cuba on the other hand has had to try its hand at attracting visitors from other countries as the embargo blocked many North Americans from visiting the country. In a way the embargo helped us by driving tourist traffic from Cuba to everyone else in the Caribbean. With the suggestion of migration via both the US and Cuba, a new exotic Caribbean paradise is open for Americans to explore. Let’s face it, the other islands have already been explored and featured so many times that it seems like we’re all singing the same song. Cuba is different as it from another era, a tropical pearl from another point in time. Even I’m curious about their culture and how the country looks and I live so close to it.
Most persons are not aware of the impact that this historic decision is to have on their dealings from a Caribbean perspective. Many industries of other Caribbean countries will soon be threatened by Cuba’s entrance into the already fiercely competitive American markets. But in the meantime, we are happy that the world is one step closer to being a better place.
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