Fidel Castro spent his life fighting American capitalism, but by the time he died, American cruise ships, regular flights and even the embassy had returned to the island dominated by the communists.
The US flag is now suspended on bicycles that attract more and more American visitors around Old Havana, while the artists sell posters of US President Barack Obama, highlighting Cuban hopes to enhance the anemic economy from the island.
Obama and President Raul Castro, who succeeded his brother in 2006, reestablished diplomatic relations and reopened embassies as the US leader relaxed trade and travel restrictions.
The animosity of Fidel Castro against the United States goes back several decades to the support of the American government to the dictator Fulgencio Batista.
In the heat of his guerrilla warfare, Castro promised in a letter of 1958 that he “would charge the Americans a lot” to support Batista, whom he would overthrow in 1959.
Castro was convinced that he should go to war against the United States. “I realized this would be my real destiny,” Castro said.
Recently, on his 90th birthday, August 13, Castro recalled in an article the many “Machiavellian” attempts by the Central Intelligence Agency to kill him.
It took months for Fidel Castro to respond publicly to his brother’s 2014 decision to re-establish ties with the United States, and his response was lukewarm, noting the “relevant measures” taken by Raul.
“Everyone knows that Fidel was not very enthusiastic about his brother’s political changes. He was a little worried,” said Michael Shifter, chairman of the Inter-American Dialogue think-tank in Washington.
After Obama’s historic visit to the island in March – the first of an American president in 88 years – Castro wrote a scathing column, stating that “we do not need gifts from the empire.
‘American companies, tourists back’. But whether you like it or not, the empire returns to the island.
While the US economic embargo, which has lasted for decades, remains in place, Obama has eliminated many trade and travel restrictions.
The first US cruise ship to come to Cuba in more than 50 years landed in Havana in May. Regular flights between the two countries resumed.
US airlines such as Airbnb and Netflix now operate in Cuba, and the Starwood hotel group opened a Sheraton in Havana in June.
While the embargo still prohibits regular tourism, Obama has removed much of the bureaucracy needed to visit the island under special categories ranging from culture to religious and sports activities.
Nearly 137,000 Americans came to Cuba in the first half of the year, an 80% increase over the same period in 2015.
While Obama has removed the barriers, foreign companies are still facing wounded to enter the economy controlled by Cuba.
‘Trump demands a better deal”.
If Castro had lived a little longer, he would have faced a more hostile US president – the 12 since he took power – and the one who threatened to “halt” the Obama diplomatic thaw unless That the communist regime will make a “better agreement” Cubans.
President–elect Donald Trump, who takes office in January, called Fidel Castro a “brutal dictator” after his death.
“The anti-Castro rhetoric of the elected president could be an obstacle to progress in relations between the two countries,” said Jorge Duany, director of the Cuban Institute of Research of the International University of Florida.
Shifter said Trump victory over Democratic rivalry Hillary Clinton is a “heavy blow” to supporters of the relaxation.
“Even if Trump did not give much details on how he will apply his policy towards Cuba, it is clear that he will not follow the path of the Obama administration,” said Shifter.
But to be sure of Trump’s intentions, he said, “We’ll have to wait until the first few months of 2017.”