Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Relations

Second Department


Reader 1

Roderic Camp

Reader 2

Lee Skinner

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© 2015 Emily V Chambard


This thesis explores the implications of the recent restoration of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba. Through historical analysis and discussion of the ‘Cuban Thaw’ beginning in 2009, it proposes certain courses of immediate and long-term action for both nations, but specifically the United States, to guarantee future collaboration and mutual gain. Its conclusions emphasize the unique nature of current circumstances, which have opened a window of opportunity never before seen in the history of US-Cuban relations. The causes are one, the succession of Fidel Castro by his brother, Raúl, who has already demonstrated more progressive policy action and interest in positive relations with the US government; second, the change in tone of the United States from imperialism to respect; and third, the growth of the Cuban-American community, whose voices have been of resounding support for bilateral cooperation.

Ultimately, it suggests that in order to achieve the identified goal of raising Cuba’s standard of living, economic development must occur through increased international connection and the transition to a type of market economy. Instead of assigning the responsibility for this development to the US, it stresses the necessity for this reform to be internally designed and stimulated within Cuba, with step-by-step economic growth accompanied by a gradual lifting of the US embargo restrictions. The United States should, from this point on, break from its classic tone of imperialism – as has already been initiated by President Obama – and serve as a supportive force rather than driving force in this process.