The US embargo on Cuba has proven to be a failure when looking at its original goal: to force the Cuban government to abandon communism and embrace democracy and capitalism. Instead the Cubans simply made do with a gutted economy and, while there has been a slow opening up for private property and businesses, remain as committed to communism and the Castro brothers as ever. All the embargo really did was harm the average Cuban citizen while accomplishing nothing politically except straining relations with a close neighbor. Now, with the news of the embargo slowly being dropped, Cubans are gearing up for a world of change as US influence, money, and trade will begin flooding into the island.
One of the major benefits of this thawing of relations is how it affects the abilities of nonprofits and philanthropic organizations (like the Knights of Columbus and others) to work with Cubans on a number of projects. While philanthropic organizations were some of the few that were actually able to travel to Cuba from the United States of America, it has never been easy. There were mountains of paperwork and bureaucracy on both sides that needed to dealt with due to the distrust that everyone felt. Along with those difficulties, the fact that Cuba was technically an enemy and terrorist nation meant that many people didn’t want to donate time or money to help the Cubans.
Now this is all changing. The renewing of relations has also renewed philanthropic and nonprofit interest in Cuba and the Cubans. Organizations around the country are now fielding more phone calls and donations than ever before; some are even finding it difficult to rent enough hotel rooms for people who want to join the philanthropic expeditions due to the increased numbers. While there is still a long way to go towards full normalizing of relations between the two countries, these first steps are already showing how it would benefit both countries. Hopefully things continue to improve and the Cuban people can finally join the rest of the world.
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