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Rebuilding bridges

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  22 March 2016 12:00 AM GMT

In 1962, the Cuban missile crisis brought the world very close to a full-scale nuclear war. This came in the aftermath of the CIA-inspired Bay of Pigs invasion that was routed by the Cuban revolutiory forces commanded by Fidel Castro. The eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation between the US and the USSR lasted a full 13 days as the John F Kennedy administration successfully beat back Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev’s move to deploy nuclear missiles in Cuba. Filly, better sense prevailed as the Soviets agreed to pull back weapons from Cuba under UN verification, in return for US undertaking never to invade Cuba without direct provocation. And so matters stood for more than half a century with US and Cuba remaining adversarial having no diplomatic relations whatsoever. It has now fallen upon US President Barack Obama, at the fag end of his second term, to rebuild bridges with Cuba. The rapprochement began about 15 months ago when Obama met up with Cuban leader Raul Castro, both agreeing to put the Cold War-era hostilities behind. On Monday, President Obama with family and a large entourage landed in Hava amidst much public jubilation. Raul Castro made his point by greeting Obama at the Palace of the Revolution, where he and elder brother Fidel had led the communist revolution that overturned the US-backed Fulgencio Batista regime. President Obama has now pressed his Cuban counterpart for more economic and democratic reforms while hearing out complaints about continued US economic sanctions. Chances are bright that a more open and confident Cuba, still avowedly communist, will begin a brave, new relationship with its giant neighbor by striking up a series of business deals.

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