For longtime observers of Cuba-U.S. relations, and for anyone concerned with Cuban affairs, D-17 has become universally recognized as shorthand for the date in 2014 that Presidents Barack Obama and Raúl Castro appeared on television simultaneously to announce their intention to restore diplomatic ties and endeavor to normalize relations between their countries. What does it mean to contemplate "normalization" between two countries with such a fraught history of interaction? How might experiences of "normalization" between the U.S. and other countries with which it sought to reduce longstanding hostilities provide lessons for those who seek to understand the likely course of events involving the U.S. and Cuba?
The essays presented in the Implications of Normalization forum, sponsored by the Center for Latin American and Latino Studies at American University and the Cuba Program at the Social Science Research Council, and edited by Eric Hershberg and William M. LeoGrande, aim to delve more deeply into the ramifications of changes in U.S.-Cuba relations, drawing on the scholarship of the contributors and on the substantial body of academic research that can inform our understanding of the present conjuncture and potential trajectories in the future. The analyses encompass a variety of themes, ranging from U.S.-Cuba relations to hemispheric dynamics to the consequences for ongoing political, societal, and economic change in Cuba.
We are especially pleased to include contributions from leading experts from Europe, Latin America, and Canada, as well as from the U.S. and Cuba. The essays are intended to inform the work of researchers, students, and practitioners, as well as the general public, and we encourage readers to download and distribute them widely.