Tue | Dec 6, 2016

What does the new Cuba-US policy mean for Jamaica

Published:Wednesday | December 17, 2014 | 3:18 PM

Karlene Brown, Assistant News Editor - Radio



KINGSTON, Jamaica:

The United States Government has announced plans to normalise diplomatic and economic ties with Cuba.




In a televised broadcast today, United States (US) President Barrack Obama hailed the move as a "new chapter" in US relations with Cuba.



He said isolation has not worked in 50 years and more could be accomplished through engagement.



Cuba's President, Raul Castro has welcomed the decision.



According to the Cuban leader profound differences remain between his country and the US in areas such as human rights, foreign policy and questions of sovereignty, but he said the two nations have to learn to live with their differences "in a civilised manner".



But what does today’s announcement mean?







Lecturer in the Department of Economics at the University of the West Indies, Dr Andre Haughton:

"This is going to be good for Cuba as well as the United States. It will improve trade between Cuba the Bahamas and the US. It will definitely benefit persons in Cuba. Cubans migrate to the US illegally very often I think with this new engagement this will legitimise some of the migration so both the US can benefit from Cuban labour and human capital as well as Cuba can benefit from remittance flows as well as technology learned from the United States."







Lecturer in the Department of Government at the University of the West Indies, Dr Maziki Thame:

"As it relates to Cubans on the street, there is no immediate change in their lives. Cuba is under economic pressure as is most of the region but the embargo has made the economic realities certainly more difficult particularly after the collapse of the Soviet Union and considering Venezuela's own economic crisis. The removal of the restrictions indicates that possibilities should grow for the Cuban economy and in that sense there may be an improved economic condition for the majority of Cubans but that depends on how the state manages the further opening up of the economy."







Professor of Government and Politics at the University of the West Indies, Trevor Munroe:

"I hope rather than know that our tourism sector would have been reviewing the implications of a normalisation of the relations between Jamaica and Cuba for our tourism sector. One of the aspects that have been mooted to cope with this is to have a relationship with their tourism sector in particular that is not so much competitive as collaborative so … joint tours of Cuba and Jamaica so that the package would include Jamaica married to a Cuba connection to the benefit of both Jamaicans and Cubans. So I am hoping that our policy makers would be now huddling and putting on their thinking caps as to what extent this historic shift will be to the betterment of Jamaica rather than to the detriment of the country.”



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