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Saturday, March 21, 2015

March 21-22, 2015: AmericanThaws: Cuba

[After a mild start, it ended up being a long, cold, wintry winter. But all winters end, metaphorically as well as seasonally, and in this week’s series I’ve AmericanStudied a few cultural and historical such American thaws—leading up to this weekend post on one of our most recent warmings.]
Two posts of mine to contextualize a recent warming—and a request for more perspectives!
In December, President Obama announced a striking shift in America’s foreign policy, one not quite as stunning as Nixon’s visit to China but in the same conversation: a thawing of our half-century-long coldness toward our island neighbor of Cuba. In response to this action, and more exactly to many of the over-simplified and inaccurate critiques it received from American politicans and pundits, I wrote a piece for my biweekly Talking Points Memo column, highlighting the 150 years of Cuban-American relations and history that such simplistic responses forget or ignore. In that piece I engaged briefly with perhaps the single most important figure in both Cuban and Cuban American history, José Martí; I would thus argue that engaging more fully with his individual life and story, as I tried to in this post, also offers important contexts and connections for understanding the longstanding and unfolding relationship between these two nations.
So those are two places I would begin to contextualize and deepen our conversations about this recent thaw and the relationship and history to which it connects. But what about you? I would love to get more perspectives and voices, to hear other ways that you would contextualize, analyze, understand, critique, and so on Obama’s decision, our narratives of this neighboring nation, and any other relevant issues you’d bring into the mix. So I’m going to cut this post short, in a symbolic but genuine attempt to leave room for your own comments and responses. What do you think?
Next series starts Monday,

PS. You know what to do!

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