North America 2018: North America Today
In 2015 the US and Cuba normalized relations, finally bringing an end to the last significant Cold War rivalry in the Americas. However the following year Donald Trump was elected US President, after a campaign in which he was strongly suspected of colluding with Russia, and partially reversed the Cuban thaw.
12 Feb 2014-pres. Crisis of Bolivarian Venezuela▲
By the early 2010s the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela’s dependency on oil and its policies of overspending and price controls were proving unsustainable. Following the death of President Hugo Chávez from cancer in 2013, his successor, Nicolás Maduro, continued his policies only to face recession, rampant inflation, rising unemployment, and widespread protests. In 2016 alone the consumer price index rose 800% while the economy contracted by 18.6%, leading to hunger in much of the population and a general social collapse.
14 Apr-20 Jul 2015 Cuban thaw▲
On 17 December 2014, following months of secret negotiations, US President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro announced they would begin normalizing relations between Cuba and the United States after 54 years of hostility between the two nations. Four months later, on 14 April 2015, Obama announced he would remove Cuba from the United States State Sponsors of Terrorism list, an action which went into effect on 29 May. On 20 July Cuban and US “interests sections” in Washington and Havana were upgraded to embassies, formally restoring Cuban-US diplomatic relations.
8 Nov 2016 Trump election▲
In a surprise victory, Republican candidate Donald Trump - a businessman and celebrity with no political experience - defeated Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton - former Secretary of State and First Lady - in the 2016 United States presidential election. Trump won 30 states with a total of 306 electors, gaining 57% of the electoral vote despite losing the popular vote by 2.1%. Trump’s success emphasized the divisions creeping into US society as well as the distrust much of the population had for the political establishment and the media. Accusations of Russian interference in the elections led the US intelligence community to launch an investigation into Trump’s presidential campaign in early 2017.