From the clash at the Bay of Pigs to the Cuban missile crisis, American-Cuban relations have historically been perceived in as aggressive and confrontational. But behind the outward tensions lies a history of hidden communication and negotiations between both countries.
That's the message of the new book by Peter Kornbluh and William LeoGrande. In "Back Channel To Cuba," the authors recount their findings from more than 10 years of research, which appear to ultimately refute the conventional wisdom about relations between Havana and Washington, D.C.
"There's a flipside to this history that is little known, but far more relevant today," Kornbluh told HuffPostLive on Thursday. "That is the precedence of all the secret talks, not only to improve relations, but to actually change the framework to normal relations."
Although in the past the will to reform the relationship never seemed to strike both countries at the same time, LeoGrande suggested that we may have finally reached a watershed moment.
"In both capitals now, I think we have a moment where the leadership recognizes that the past ought to be past and we should move into a new stage," he said. "And it's a matter of overcoming some of the political obstacles, particularly in the United States, to get that happening."
Despite such obstacles, a chance for reconciliation could represent a huge opportunity for President Obama, whose approval ratings in the area of foreign policy have reached record lows.
"Barack Obama can't run for reelection," he said. "There's really no political imperative for Obama to keep what he, himself, has said is a failed policy. ... He's had a hard time on the foreign policy front recently. This is a place where he could make serious gains and I think relatively easily because, as I've said, the Cubans have indicated that they are very interested in trying to normalize the relationship."
Learn more about "Back Channel To Cuba" in the clip above.
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