A woman stands on a terrace roof next to a Cuban flag.
A woman stands on a terrace roof next to a Cuban flag. - 
Listen To The Story


STEVE CHIOTAKIS: Things have been a little sticky to say the least between the United States and Cuba.
It was 50 years ago today when Fidel Castro took control of the island nation just 90 miles south of Florida. Castro's in failing health, but his brother Raul is now president and a U.S. imposed embargo is still in place. Could there be a policy change with a new administration coming in?
From the Americas Desk at WLRN in Miami, Marketplace's Dan Grech reports.

DAN GRECH: President Bush took a hard stance on Cuba. He restricted the money Cuban Americans could send to relatives on the island, and he limited family visits to once every three years.

Obama has promised to roll back those restrictions early in his first term. Reese Erlich is author of the book Dateline Havana. He says if Obama further loosened the embargo, Cuba would quickly emerge as an important trading partner.

REESE ERLICH: There's oil deposits off shore that U.S. companies could be investing in, there's a lot of tourism, nickel, there's lots of business to be done with Cuba if the Obama administration changes U.S. policy.

But that's a big "if."

ERLICH: Cuba is a high-risk issue with very little reward if you're sitting in the White House. To even have normal relations, as we do with China or Vietnam, is to ignite a firestorm of protest in Miami and parts of New Jersey.

Erlich says the embargo -- like the Castro government -- is likely to survive 2009.

In Miami, I'm Dan Grech for Marketplace.