Tag: Kate McKenney

“The Elephant in the Room: Diplomacy in Cuba”

For Americans and Cubans alike, political relations between the United States and Cuba are a curious and often tense issue. As we delve into the history of U.S.-Cuba relations this semester, we can only wonder how the currently tense relationship between the two has affected diplomacy overall in Cuba. With that in mind, Cory and I plan to research diplomatic relations in Cuba with various countries. In order to provide a baseline for comparison, we will begin with the U.S. by researching the diplomatic capabilities and limitations of a country with a less-than-ideal relationship with Cuba. We will then study Cuba’s relationships with other countries, such as the United Kingdom, Spain, Venezuela, and France, focusing specifically on how they conduct diplomacy in Cuba. Our driving questions are: how do these nations relate with Cuba differently than with other countries, if at all? Do their respective relationships with the U.S. have an effect on how they operate diplomatically here, and how so?

In our research process, we have already had the opportunity to interview a Deputy Public Affairs Officer from the United States Interests Section here in La Habana, which gave us a better understanding of how the Interests Section functions here and how it differs from an actual embassy. We plan to try to set up appointments with functionaries of other embassies here to find out more about their countries’ diplomatic relationships with Cuba and their day to day operations in Havana. I cannot wait to uncover more on this topic so relevant to Cuban politics.

First Impressions – Kate McKenney

The Cuban flag flying over the airport in Havana was at first an odd sight. Now I don’t think twice about seeing “¡Viva la revolución!,” Fidel’s face, and José Marti quotes plastered everywhere I go. After only a few days here in Havana, I feel like I’ve been here for weeks and I don’t want to leave. There is a clear sense that life is not easy here but it is overshadowed by a uniting sense of pride in being Cuban. Something about walking through the busy streets filled with overcrowded buses and classic cars to the beat of salsa or reggaeton is in its own way enchanting. I am already proud of our adjustments we have made to living in a third world country, and I am sure that by the end of this semester Havana will have tested our language skills and street smarts to the fullest extent