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

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

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid