Jan. 1 marked the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution, when the nation's U.S.-backed government was overthrown and Fidel Castro took power. A few years later, in 1962, the U.S. instituted a trade embargo against Cuba designed to pressure the communist government.
President Barack Obama has said he plans to ease travel and remittances restrictions for Cuban-Americans, but will keep the embargo in place.
Half a century after the Cuban Revolution of 1959, Worldfocus looks back to the roots of U.S.-Cuban relations and forward to the potentially changing relations under President Obama. Worldfocus.org and anchor Martin Savidge discuss what Americans don't know about Cuba and the history of American policy.
Martin Savidge hosts a panel of guests to discuss U.S.-Cuban relations:
Peter Eisner is the editorial consultant for Worldfocus and a long-time Latin American foreign correspondent. Peter is a 30-year veteran of international news and has held editorial positions at The Washington Post, Newsday and The Associated Press. Peter is also working on a book about the history of Cuba.
Arturo Lopez-Levy is a lecturer at the University of Denver and the University of Colorado. Born in Cuba, Arturo served in the Cuban army and graduated from the Higher Institute of International Relations in Havana. He then worked as a political analyst for the Cuban government, but resigned after two years and later moved to the U.S. He holds a master's degree in international affairs from Columbia University and is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Denver.
Wayne Smith directs the Cuba Program at the Center for International Policy. He is a visiting professor of Latin American Studies and director of the University of Havana exchange program at Johns Hopkins University. During his 25 years with the U.S. State Department, Wayne served as executive secretary of President Kennedy's Latin American Task Force and chief of mission at the U.S. Interests Section in Havana. In addition, he served in Argentina, Brazil and the Soviet Union.