Party Like Its 1959

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from MSNBC,

Now that the decades-long trade embargo between the U.S. and Cuba looks to be a thing of the past, Americans may soon be partying with Cuban goods like it’s 1959. Culturally, however, Cuba’s influence has been here all along.

From the baseball field to Hollywood, America’s fascination with Cuba is easy to spot. Even among the U.S.’s most culturally oblivious, few would offer blank stares at the mention of a Cuban sandwich, Cuban cigars, Jose Conseco, Gloria Estefan, or even the fictional Ricky Ricardo’s famous line, “Lucy, I’m home!”

art of Americans’ interest in all things Cuba has to do with the fact that it’s been off limits. Another reason is the close proximity and the sheer number of Cubans who’ve migrated to the U.S. But at the end of the day, the biggest cultural draw probably has to do with old-fashioned quality and talent — the admiration of which can never be embargoed.

Under the new trade rules announced Wednesday, U.S. travelers will be allowed to bring as much as $100 of Cuban cigars and rum into the country. Shortly after the news broke, “cigar” netted about 3,000 mentions on Twitter. Of course, Americans’ enthusiasm for Cuba extends beyond just goods.

In the past few years, T-shirts featuring Che Guevara, who was a major figure of the Cuban Revolution, became wildly popular. Jay-Z and Shia LaBeouf were both photographed wearing one, and wrestler Mike Tyson has a huge tattoo of Che on his stomach.

During Obama’s remarks on the U.S. restoring full diplomatic relations with Cuba, the commander-in-chief made note of the many impacts, including cultural, that Cubans have made in the United States.

“We’re separated by just over 90 miles. But year after year, an ideological and economic barrier hardened between our two countries,” said Obama on Wednesday. “Meanwhile, the Cuban exile community in the United States made tremendous contributions to our country; in politics and business, culture and sports. Like immigrants before, Cubans helped remake America. Even as they felt a painful yearning for the land and families they left behind.”

Just how the thaw in U.S.-Cuban relations affects the larger cultural scene is yet to be seen. But experts said it will only result in more crossover.

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