In order for Cuba to become truly market-friendly, to have a favorable business climate for international investment, the outstanding [property] claims issue has to be resolved. What’s going to keep this relationship moving forward is, constituencies have to be created in both countries who are gaining from the normalization process.
Three out of the last four [Summits of the Americas] were antagonistic, ALBA-driven. You'll notice though, whereas ALBA was able to get a lot of support from let's say the middle countries before, they didn't this time.
[By engaging Cuba] President Obama has turned what is a major thorn with the entire hemisphere into a strong positive. Ironically, Cuba and Raúl Castro now provide a shield to the United States against criticism from other left-leaning governments in Latin America.
You can sense [Fidel Castro] is not entirely pleased with the rapprochement with the United States but stands loyally by his younger brother, just as his brother always stood loyally by him, when he was president.
It's a very entrenched regime in Cuba, but the U.S. government is betting that in the long run, as the country opens up economically and the private sector grows, all of this will create lots of pressures for more open, pluralistic politics.
What Cuba hopes to do is regain their historical status as a major transshipment point, mediating international commerce traveling from the Americas and Asia and circling around the Caribbean as far as Europe and eventually the east coast of United States.