Several months ago, a major moment in history took place. After 50 years- half a century– of sanctions against Cuba, U.S. President Barack Obama announced plans to begin thawing the relations between the U.S. and Cuba. The relations between the two countries had been tense since the late 19th century; however, conflicts increased greatly during the Cold War, when communist Cuba, under the leadership of Fidel Castro, took the Soviet Union’s side. Since then, both Cuba and the United States sought to impose restrictions on the other. Cuba, being the smaller and weaker nation, could do little more than impose travel restrictions, barring most Americans from traveling to Cuba. The United States, however, placed a trade embargo on Cuba, injuring the latter’s economy. In addition, Cubans living in the U.S. were forbidden from sending remittances to relatives in Cuba. Obama’s announcement was, therefore, a major turning point. Just weeks after this, however, it appeared as if the thawing process had hit an obstacle as Raoul Castro emphasized that normalization would not be possible until Cuba was taken off of the United State’s terrorist list and, in addition, the U.S. would return Guantanamo Bay to Cuba. Now, however, according to the BBC article linked below, it appears that the process of normalization of relations between Cuba and the West will continue. The European Union announced that, after meetings between its own and Cuban representatives, the E.U. plans to cooperate with Cuban leaders to normalize relations between Europe and Cuba. Thus, the thaw between Cuba and the U.S has been expanded to include Europe, which is important in repairing international relations, which often remain strained even two decades after the Cold War.