News / USA

Americans Want Closer Ties with Cuba

Americans Want Closer Ties with Cubai
X
February 04, 2014 5:17 AM
Since President Barack Obama reinstated limited travel to Cuba in 2011, hundreds of thousands of Americans have visited the communist island nation. Many of them say it is time to re-examine U.S.-Cuba relations, which have been frozen for more than 50 years. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.

Americans Want Closer Ties with Cuba

TEXT SIZE - +
Zlatica Hoke
— Since President Barack Obama reinstated limited travel to Cuba in 2011, hundreds of thousands of Americans have visited the communist island nation. Many of them say it is time to re-examine U.S.-Cuba relations, which have been frozen for more than 50 years.
 
Polls show that after making a visit to Cuba, many Americans decide they want closer U.S. ties with the island.  New Yorker Ellen Lansberger is one.
 
"I think U.S.-Cuban relations should be open. People should be talking to each other. People should be sharing. We have a whole free trade system going on between the U.S., Mexico and Canada without economic borders, and we have this tiny little island that is of no threat to the U.S. that we are isolating from the world. It doesn't make sense," said Lansberger.
 
The United States cut off diplomatic relations with Cuba in 1961 after communist leader Fidel Castro came to power. It also imposed a strict economic embargo on the island nation, about 150 kilometers south of Florida. However, after more than 50 years of hostilities, many people on both sides say they want the embargo to end.
 
"I think the North American people are like the Cuban people, a caring people with love and the desire to express and communicate. I think what we are all missing is the possibility of receiving that warmth so we can understand each other better. We're neighbors after all," said Delia Maria Barroso, director of the Danzares dance troupe.
 
For years, any move by U.S. politicians toward improving relations with Cuba was thwarted by Cuban-Americans who fled the communist regime. Most of them live in Florida. but a new generation of Cuban-Americans, born in the United States, wants to be able to travel to their ancestral land. The Obama administration has permitted so-called "people-to-people" travel to Cuba, which allows Americans to visit the island if they have family there or want to go for a cultural or religious visit. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said this week that the United States will continue to update its policies on Cuba.
 
"Each year, hundreds of thousands of Americans visit Havana, and hundreds of millions of dollars in trade and remittances flow from the United States to Cuba.  We are committed to this human interchange.  And in the United States, we believe that our people are actually our best ambassadors," said Kerry.
 
There are signs that the Cuban government is beginning to relax its grip on society.  Dissident Cuban author and blogger Yoani Sanchez told an audience at a literary event in Cartagena, Colombia, that she plans to launch a digital newspaper in her homeland with the idea of spurring press freedom. 
 
"The worst can happen, that the first day we open the medium they break the door and block the website, which wouldn't be that bad because there's nothing more attractive than what's forbidden, right? But it's also possible that we are here starting the roots of a press that can transcend the present moment and become the newspaper of the future," said Sanchez.
 
Sanchez said the Cuban government is making small concessions because it can no longer convince people that its communist utopia ever can be a reality.

You May Like

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid