WAI Resources on Cuba

The views and opinions expressed in the materials below are those of the author and/or publishing authority, and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh.

Recent Updates

The Washington Post (October 31, 2015) – Cuba’s Island of Broken Dreams”
Cuba’s Isla de la Juventud, or Isle of Youth, an island located just south of Havana, has experienced immense struggles over the decades. This Washington Post article takes a closer look at life in the Isle of Youth, and how improved relations between the U.S. and Cuba might actually have more of a negative impact than anticipated.

Miami Herald (October 30, 2015) – New exodus of Cubans headed to the U.S. is underway across the Americas”
The migration of Cubans to the United States is on the rise, with boarder entries at its highest since 2005. This article from the Miami Herald provides a detailed breakdown of the exodus, highlighting the reasons for leaving Cuba, and the newer route through Central and South America migrants are now taking.

The New York Times (October 17, 2015) – “Cuba Denies It Has Sent Troops to Syria to Help Assad
This New York Times articles highlights claims that accuse Cuba of sending troops to Syria in support of Syrian President Barshar al-Assad. The Cuban government denies all accounts.

The Guardian (October 16, 2015) – “There is no Money’: Cash-strapped Cuba is forced to cut vital imports
Cuba is currently facing a cash shortage affecting it’s ability to take advantage of an economic opening with the United States to the fullest extent. This piece from The Guardian provides more detail about this “cash crunch,” and what it means for the small island nation.

Vox Media (October 5, 2015) – “Cuba’s Really Terrible Internet, Explained
Cubans have some of the worst internet access in the world. This Vox Media video explains the barriers that exist, and the complex system put in place to overcome these challenges.

PBS Newshour (September 22, 2015) – “What skaters can teach us about U.S.-Cuba diplomacy
Club Skate is an American group that provides supplies and resources to skate boarders in Cuba. This PBS Newshour clip takes a closer look at how skateboarding can bring the United States and Cuba closer together.

The New York Times (September 20, 2015) — “Pope Francis Careful in Navigating Cuban Politics
Pope Francis visited Cuba before traveling to the United States. This New York Times piece highlights this trip and the Pope’s remarks related to Cuban politics.

The Guardian (September 15, 2015) – Twelve Cuban migrants and one dog sail ashore on Miami Beach
Migration from Cuba to the United States continues as the United States and Cuba grow closer diplomatically. This Guardian news article highlights the United States’ controversial “wet-foot, dry-foot” policy.

Reuters (September 15, 2015) Cuba’s Castro to travel to New York for U.N. General Assembly
Cuban President Raul Castro is set to address the United Nations on September 28th – the first time President Castro will visit the United States as Cuba’s leader.

Background Materials on Cuba


BBC News – “Cuba Profile – Overview
Overview of Cuba’s recent history, politics, economy, and human rights issues.

The Brookings Institute – “10 Economic Facts About Cuba
A brief explanation of important facts and figures relating to the changing U.S.-Cuba relationship.

The Atlantic – “The Cuba Deal: Why Now?
Moises Naim of The Atlantic explains the timing of the Cuba deal as a “convergence of biology and technology”.

NPR – “How the Battle Over Elian Gonzalez Helped Change U.S. Cuba Policy
A look at how the Elian Gonzalez drama of 1999-2000 led to a widespread moderation in the Cuban-American activist community.

The Economist – “Why the United States and Cuba are Cosying Up
The Economist looks at U.S. and Cuban leaders’ different motivations for reconciliation.

New York Times – “Cuban Youth See New U.S. Embassy, But Same Old Drab Life
Despite the media excitement surrounding the change in U.S.-Cuba relations, many young people in Cuba remain cynical about whether the deal will actually improve their lives.

Al Jazeera English – “Cuban Activists Feel Abandoned Amid US Rapprochement
Some democratic activists in Cuba worry that the new U.S.-Cuba deal will hinder or even doom their efforts.

Reuters – Cuba’s Top Diplomat for US Sees Long Road to Normal Ties
An examination of the issues yet to be resolved between the US and Cuba, including Guantanamo Bay, human rights, the economic embargo, and Cuba’s possession of seized American properties dating back to the 1959 revolution.

The Christian Science Monitor – “The Big Stumbling Block in US-Cuba Relations – and How it Might be Fixed
A look at how the US and Cuba could look to the Panama Canal resolution from forty years ago to help resolve the issue of who will control Guantanamo Bay.


Wall Street Journal – “Key Events in U.S. Cuba Relations
Brief overview of the major milestones in the US-Cuba relationship since the 1950s. [2:48 runtime]

Al Jazeera America – “Did Fidel Castro Win?
A former U.S. head of Cuban affairs and a Cuban-American activist debate whether the thaw in U.S.-Cuba relations was a “win” for either country. [3:16]

CNN – From Fidel’s Confidante to Raul the Reformer
A brief look at how Raul Castro has tried to distinguish himself from his brother in recent years.  [1:57]


Council on Foreign Relations – “Timeline: U.S.-Cuba Relations
Interactive timeline exploring U.S.-Cuba relations from 1959 to the present day.

US News & World Report – “Photos: US, Cuban Relations Over the Years
A photo gallery depicting the US-Cuba relationship from 1959 onward.

National Journal – “Photos: Cuba, Then and Now
A series of pictures showing what has changed and what has remained the same in Cuba over the last 50-60 years.

Minnesota Public Radio News – “Relevant Reads: Three Novels About Cuba
MPR recommends three novels to help readers gain a better perspective on Cuba and Cuban people.