North America 2020: 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—a 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, ultimately concluding in 2019 that while there was “sweeping and systematic” Russian interference, there was insufficient evidence to bring conspiracy charges against Trump or his associates.
30 Nov 2018 US–Mexico–Canada Agreement▲
In November 2018 United States President Donald Trump, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signed the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) as a side event of the G20 Summit in Buneos Aires, Argentina. The USMCA was delayed due to modifications in 2019 but is intended to supersede the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the three countries in 2020, following ratifications.
18 Dec 2019 Impeachment of Donald Trump▲
In July 2019 US president Donald Trump (a Republican) temporarily suspended a military aid package to Ukraine before asking Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to cooperate in investigating conspiracy theories about Trump’s potential 2020 election rival, Joe Biden (a Democrat). Describing Trump’s actions as an abuse of power and solicitation of foreign interference in the 2020 election, the Democrat-dominated US House of Representatives opened an inquiry into impeaching the president in September. With Republicans generally refusing to cooperate with the inquiry, Trump was impeached by the House in December 2019 but acquitted by the Republican-dominated Senate in February 2020.