Political Risk Analysis - US Political Pressure Threatens To Slow Diplomatic Thaw - JUNE 2015

BMI View: Relations between Cuba and the US will continue to improve over the course of the rest of the administration of US President Barack Obama. Nevertheless, a crackdown on political dissidence in Cuba and t he 2016 American presidential elections both pose some risk to the pace of continued diplomatic normalisation.

The Cuban government and the administration of US President Barack Obama continue to take steps towards greater global integration on the part of the island nation, paving the way for enormous economic growth and emergence from decades of political isolation. We expect that given the support of such policies in both nations, that further progress on this front to be made in the years ahead. Nevertheless, there are rising risks to the pace of diplomatic normalisation, on both the Cuban and US side.

In Cuba, news of the end of the decades-long embargo was celebrated as a major breakthrough. According to a poll conducted by the Washington Post, 97% of Cubans believe that the normalisation of relations with the US will be good for Cuba, and 96% hope that the remnants of the embargo (which will remain pending an act of Congress) will be lifted. President Obama has become extremely popular on the island, with 80% holding a favourable view of him, meaning the president enjoys considerably more support in Cuba than he does in the US. Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro met at the Summit of the Americas in Panama in what was widely hailed as a historic meeting, the first of its kind in generations. Diplomatic normalisation with Cuba has become a centrepiece of Obama's foreign policy legacy, and such efforts will be a major focus throughout the rest of the president's term.

Cuban Support For Change Unequivocal
Cuba - Poll Responses, %

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