Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Departmental Honors




Within the past decade, there has been a dramatic shift in American politics. Once considered enemies, the United States and Cuba have reestablished diplomatic relations. The reestablishment of relationships is a surprise to many politicians because Cuba has not made the necessary changes to end the trade embargo put into place by the 1996 Helms-Burton act.

The majority of the friction in ending the embargo is from the Republican Party. While over half the Republicans in the country support ending the embargo, the Republicans in congress are not quite as divided on the issue. Still, some republicans are adamantly in favor of free trade and increasing agricultural exports from their state and support relations with Cuba. The senators that support relations represent the future and the ideologies of the rising millennial generation.

The source behind the change is the growing millennial demographic among both the Cuban American population and the entire U.S. population. Despite the millennial generation's influence on relations with Cuba, it will take at least a decade to see the end of the Helms Burton act because of the generation currently in control of the Republican legislature. Because of the complex way in which the U.S. political system functions, full relations with Cuba will have to wait a decade for millennials to become the overwhelming majority of the work force and to control the delegates elected to Congress.



Faculty Mentor

Shannon Peterson

Departmental Honors Advisor

Shannon Peterson