The U.S. and Cuba began a fourth round of talks today aimed at restoring diplomatic relations between the two countries and reopening embassies in each other’s capitals. Some sticking points remain: The U.S. wants its diplomats to be able to travel freely in and out of Havana while the Cuban government is suspicious of their intentions, accusing the U.S. of recruiting spies. But these concerns seem surmountable.
President Obama has already gone further toward normalizing relations with Cuba than any president since Dwight Eisenhower broke off diplomatic ties with the Castros’ regime in 1961. But the question now is just how much further he can go in the time he has left, and how many of the changes he makes will be permanent.
Obama has taken Cuba off the state sponsors of terrorism list—a major political impediment to restoring ties. He has also effectively ended the ban on travel to the island. Yes, tourism is still banned, but 12 types of travel are permitted, including a few that could serve as a fairly easy pretext for some sightseeing—and you can even pay with your MasterCard. There are still no direct flights to Cuba, though they will likely be coming in a few months, but there are an increasing number of charter services and soon a ferry from Florida. It’s now also much easier to send money to Cuban citizens and invest in Cuban companies.
Read more at slate.com