For more than half a century, the island nation of Cuba, with its charismatic leader and communist government, has managed to survive in the hostile penumbra of its superpower neighbor to the north. A mere ninety miles from Key West, Florida, Cuba can feel like you’ve stepped into another world.
Much of that sensation can be attributed to the long-standing economic embargo imposed by the United States after the Cuban government nationalized American property and businesses in the early 1960s. The embargo isolated Cuba and limited foreign investment. It also forced the Cuban people to be resourceful, most evident in the recycling and restoration of American cars in use since the 1960s.
With the passing of Fidel Castro in 2016, Cuba entered a new era where change seems imminent. Under President Obama, relations between the US and Cuba entered a new era. What that will mean for both nations remains unclear, but it’s movement in the right direction.