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Raul Castro

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Under President Barack Obama, U.S. relations with Cuba saw a considerable warm-up, including new airline flights between Tampa and Havana. But now, with the election of Donald Trump as President, some wonder how the relationship between the two countries might change.

USF Sarasota-Manatee recently marked International Education Week with a panel discussion on Cuba, its future, and how the two sides might get along moving forward.

Cuba's parliament isn't big on dissent. Most legislation that makes it to a vote is endorsed unanimously, as a matter of course. But Mariela Castro, the daughter of President Raul Castro — and the niece of Fidel Castro — is making waves by voting "no" on a workers' rights bill, saying it didn't protect people with unconventional gender identities.

It seems that before the December 2013 vote was publicized recently in a Cuban blog, no one could recall anyone voting against a measure in Cuba's legislature. Some say a dissenting vote has simply never happened in Havana.

In everyday life, a handshake is rather ordinary. But when President Obama shook hands Tuesday with Cuban leader Raul Castro at a memorial service for the late South African President Nelson Mandela, this was how it was described:

-- "a simple gesture that signaled possible thawing between the leaders of the two Cold War foes"

-- "an unprecedented gesture"