Yesterday was a day of celebration for the American continent. The first pope born on our land turned 78 years old and gave us the gift of the fruit of his diplomatic ability: the rapprochement between the United States and Cuba.
Upon receiving Obama in the Vatican in March of this year, Pope Francis discussed the end of the blockade and the release of three of the Cubans imprisoned in the U.S. since 1998, who were accused of terrorism.
The three were actually Cuban intelligence agents whom, thanks to their infiltration of terrorist groups, avoided attacks on Cuban territory. Yesterday, the three that were still imprisoned were exchanged for Alan Gross, a CIA agent captured five years ago in Havana.
The blockade, imposed on Cuba by the U.S. since 1962, violates all international treaties and in recent decades has lost its effect, inasmuch as the European Union and many other countries, like Brazil, have maintained diplomatic and trade relations with the revolutionary island.
Admitting yesterday that “isolation has not worked,” Obama knows that the end of the blockade depends on the decision of the U.S. Congress, but he turned on the green light. At the core of Obama's strategy is his commitment to re-establishing diplomatic relations between Washington and Havana.
The winners resulting from Obama's new position are the Cuban people who, throughout 56 years of revolution — which it will be next Jan. 1 — never stopped heroically resisting the blockade, even when the situation of the country worsened due to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union.
If today Cuba receives 1 million Canadian tourists per year, who exchange their 20 degrees below zero in the winter for 30 degrees of heat in the Caribbean, and if in 2013, more than 600,000 U.S. citizens of Cuban origin visited the island, the touristic potential from the U.S. could augment Cuban coffers significantly.
In addition to exporting doctors, quality teachers, and unmatched tobacco cigars, Cuba offers a tourist infrastructure free of violence and contamination.
From the height of his 88 well-lived years, Fidel must be pleased with this victory, especially considering that he outlasted eight U.S. presidents, five of which he buried [defeated], and more than 20 CIA directors who swore to eliminate him.