One Year Anniversary of U.S.-Cuba Diplomatic Relations

By Carlos M. Gutierrez, Jr. / Jul 25, 2016

On July 20, 2016, the United States and Cuba marked the first anniversary of the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between both countries. Key events from the preceding year include:

  • The re-opening of the U.S. Embassy in Havana, and the re-opening of the Cuban Embassy in Washington DC.
  • President Barack Obama became the first sitting President to visit Cuba since Calvin Coolidge in 1928.
  • Cuba welcomed high level government delegations including Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, and Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack. Conversely, the United States has hosted Cuba's Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment Rodrigo Malmierca and Cuba's Minister of Agriculture Gustavo Rodriguez.
  • The U.S. and Cuba re-established direct mail between both countries.
  • An agreement was reached between the U.S. and Cuba to establish regular airplane services between both countries.
  • U.S. and Cuba have reached an agreement to expand health cooperation and have begun negotiations on the expansion of joint environmental protection efforts.
  • U.S. professional sports teams, including the MLB's Tampa Bay Rays and MLS' New York Cosmos, have traveled to the Cuba for exhibition match-ups.
  • U.S. based academic institutions; including Drake University, Northeastern University, Auburn University, the University of the District of Columbia, Johns Hopkins, Brown University, and Columbia University; have solidified partnerships with the Cuban academic sector. 
  • U.S. companies have begun to enter the Cuban market. Examples include:
    • Starwood Hotels became the first American company to manage Cuban hotel properties in over 50 years.
    • Cuba has become Airbnb's fastest growing market.
    • Carnival Cruise lines became the first American cruise line operator to dock in Havana in over 30 years.
    • U.S. cellular providers Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile have signed roaming agreements with the Cuban telecom provider.
    • Google opened a Technology Center in Havana.

As the U.S. and Cuba continue to engage diplomatically, we can expect greater commercial, academic, and athletic interaction between both countries. As a result of the U.S. trade embargo and corresponding sanctions regime on Cuba, interactions between individuals and entities under U.S. jurisdiction remain subject to a broad range of restrictions and limitations.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns as you begin to explore your or your organization's future activities in Cuba.