President Obama just recently announced the removal of Cuba from America’s list of state sponsors of terrorism, following the historic meeting with Cuban President Raul Castro. It all took place at the Summit of the America’s and is an effort towards reestablishing the diplomatic ties between Havana and Washington.
Opinion polls shows that the majority of Americans approve of the historic decision. There has been little discussion on the security implications for the US, as a result of the effort to improve the relations. Raul Castro’s term as president will come to an end in 2018, and then Cuba will have its first president in 59 years who doesn’t have Castro as their last name. This is unknown territory for Cuba, however strategic planning and careful diplomacy should go most of the way in proving that Cuba is a vital partner of the UK, and could help with much of the nation’s homeland security efforts. This is a new frontier that faces the US as they welcome with open arms a country that has also experienced deep hostility from them.
America’s Third Border
America’s third border after Canada and Mexico is how the Caribbean has been described. Events in this region have a direct impact on the security of the US. Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean, and because of its unique geographic location it’s only 90 miles south of he coastline in Florida. This has significant implication to the US, with a focus on the following issues:
- Anti trafficking
- Airport security
- Maritime security
- Border security
- Environmental safety
Since there is a 3 year window left before the major political transition in Cuba, its vital that the US government continue their planning for the various scenarios that could impact upon the nation’s security. It might require additional US government resources and a great cooperation between the 2 nations.
US And Cuban Visa Policy
The recent weeks have already seen a surge in the number of Cuban immigrants entering the US, according to The Department of Homeland Security. In 2015 the US Coast Guard have intercepted an increased number of Cuban migrants trying to arrive by sea. The ports of entry from the Mexican border have also seen an increased number of immigrants trying to enter the US. Flying directly to the US via another country has also become an increased route of entry. The existing immigration policy has played a large role in the increase of emigrants, partially due to Cubans who are concerned that the improved relations will bring an end to this immigration policy. Currently Cubans who reach US soil, even if they don’t have a visa, are allowed to stay and then apply for a permanent residence within a year.
There are other issues to address after the possibility of mass immigration from Cuba to the US. As the tourism and trade gradually increase again, the Coast Guard will require increased intelligence and better detection through technology to manage and prevent illegal contents arriving and being shipped to Cuba. The TSA will need to ensure they have the proper technology to screen at the Cuban airports.
Another concern from the change in government in Cuba is the political stability in the region allowing for the trafficking in drugs, due to a reprioritization of resources. If the government is unstable, then its waters and airspace could become a gateway for the transportation of narcotics to US destinations. Although there is no formal agreement in place both countries at the moment share a mutual interest in the abolition of the drug trade, and cooperate on a case by case basis already.
US And Cuban Future Relations
Now that Cuba has been removed from the state sponsors of terrorism list, its more crucial than ever that despite the political differences of the country, opportunities are seized for the prospect of improved relations. Broader cooperation should be made available on many security issues in the future through bilateral agreements. Through a combination of planning, diplomacy, and increased resources, the US can help guide the future and work to ensure the security and safety of both countries. Although the official ban for travel to Cuba from the US is still in place, people are choosing to ignore it, and the US is choosing to overlook the breaking of the law.
This article contains research from Article Source. Which was originally posted by the http://www.homelandcouncil.org