Arbitration in Post-Rapprochement Cuba - Dispute Resolution Journal - Vol. 71, No. 3
Originally from Dispute Resolution Journal
On December 17, 2014, Cuba’s President Raul Castro and U.S. President Barack Obama simultaneously announced that they had reached agreement to normalize diplomatic and commercial relations between their two countries. Their agreement ended fifty-three years of antipathy – from November 1959 to the spring of 2015 – occasioned by the United States’ fear of communism spreading throughout the Caribbean; Cuba’s nationalizing the holdings of thirty-six of the largest U.S. companies doing business there; and the U.S.’s imposition of commercial trade embargos and a military equipment blockade against Cuba. That antipathy was heightened by the U.S. Department of State’s designating Cuba as a “state sponsor of terrorism” in 1982, which caused U.S. banks to refuse to lend money to domestic and foreign companies which wished to do business with Cuba.
Since their December 2014 announcement, we have seen a tremendous surge in U.S. businesses’ interest in doing business in Cuba; individual businesses from passenger airline companies, cruise lines, and ferry companies, to entire segments of industry such as telecommunications and internet service, motion pictures, tourism, remittances, and investments. In order to explain how significant these changes are, we believe that a brief review of Cuba’s recent history, its government, and its economy will be helpful.
Prior to 1953, Cuba was governed by a capitalistic oligarchy headed by Fulgencio Batista. In 1953, Fidel Castro and Ernesto (“Che”) Guevara began a popular revolution, which culminated in Batista’s government being overthrown on January 1, 1959. Fidel Castro served as Cuba’s post-revolutionary president from 1959, until his brother Raul Castro became president in 2008.