The US has long opposed Castro’s regime in Cuba, but it appears international opinion is starting to turn away from Washington. On Tuesday, the United Nations General Assembly voted in favor of a non-binding resolution, which called for the end of the U.S. economic, commercial and financial embargo. Of the 192 member states, 187 voted for the resolution, three states abstained, and only the US and Israel voted against. Cuba has long suffered from economic woes, a fact they attribute to the embargo. Earlier this September, Cuba announced it’s intention to cut one million public jobs in order to boost the economy. Those laid off would be encouraged to start their own companies or join private companies, on which the government agreed to loosen current restrictions. The move is said to be the biggest private sector shift since the 1959 revolution which brought Castro to power. The government also announced new taxes, a “relatively new concept in Cuba.” According to one local, “the economy is not good, but with [these new changes] I will be able to make ends meet.
Although the changes appear to signal a move away from dominating government control, others note that this is not the end of communism or socialism in Cuba. Although the changes denote a change in the ideological orientation of the state, there has been no political change in the country. “Cuba is to remain a one-party communist state for the foreseeable future.” Instead of marking a slow shift to capitalism, most analysts argue that Cuba is implementing China-like reforms.
How the reforms will play out is anybody’s guess. While Obama promised new relations that have not yet been delivered, according to administration officials it is clear that the rest of the international community is ready to open up to Cuba because of the need for “greater domestic freedoms.” The lop-sided UN vote and Cuba’s signal that it’s dedicated to building a private sector could put pressure on Washington to live up to its election promises.