News / USA

Obama Calls for Updated US Policy on Cuba

President Barack Obama waves as he arrives at Miami International Airport, Nov. 8, 2013, in Florida.
President Barack Obama waves as he arrives at Miami International Airport, Nov. 8, 2013, in Florida.
VOA News
U.S. President Barack Obama says it is time for the United States to revise its policies regarding Cuba.

Speaking in Miami Friday, Obama said it doesn't make sense that policies put in place more than 50 years ago would still be effective in the Internet age.

The president pointed out that Cuban leader Fidel Castro came into power in 1961, the same year Obama was born. The United States cut off diplomatic relations with Cuba that same year and imposed an economic embargo a year later.

The U.S. embargo against Cuba is controversial internationally. In October, the United Nations voted to condemn it for the 22nd time.

The Obama administration has engaged in recent discussions with the Cubans on migration and mail, and has relaxed travel and remittance rules for Cuban Americans.

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by: Jorge from: Miami
November 11, 2013 12:39 PM
I cant wait - finally the Cuban-American business community can benefit from an open - trade relationship with our homeland. A Bacardi sponsored Cuban Baseball team. The Fanjul brother's could maybe save the next sugar harvest. Cuba's biggest export won't be it's own people in inter-tubes . Cuban professionals will stop being used as trade currency by the government. Athletes could freely pursue their career without fear of persecution . Maybe they'll even have elections ; mind you they will be corrupt and contested ; but at least there will finally be more than one choice in the ballot. Yeah it is time for a change.

by: Zewdu from: USA
November 10, 2013 7:14 PM
This policy was only to reflect those who Cuban immigrant in maimi Thor who are rich to give money for lobbying .bit most poor Cubans want help there family in Cuba .it had been domiest policy,if we had opened Cuba woul have been democratic country by now.

by: Markt
November 10, 2013 1:40 PM
all throughout this country there are outdated laws still on the books. Here is but one example...
In the State of New York, it is law that a driver, upon approaching an intersection, rolls to a stop, honk his horn three times, exit the vehicle and proceed on foot into the intersection and look in all directions, then return to the vehicle, honk three more times and proceed in crossing the intersection with caution.
Now, regarding Cuba....its America's own fault for its failed relationship in Cuba. We supported a corrupt government that Castro overthrew and so we looked upon Castro with distrust and suspicion. It was America that took refugees from Cuba, trained them, armed them and sent them back to Cuba to stir up a revolt against Castro that failed (the Bay of Pigs invasion). That action pushed Castro toward the Soviets who convinced Castro to allow Soviet missiles in his country (Cuban Missile Crisis). If we had just left them alone, those two events would never have happened and perhaps our relationship with Cuba would have improved toward a friendlier plane instead of fueling a cold war.

by: Henry Delforn
November 10, 2013 1:05 PM
Update US Policy on Cuba? ... yeeaaah i guess so, ok. Well where do we start? ... Oh i don't knoooow, ... what about Guantanamo? ... How about the US take their unwanted imperialist butts out of a foreign and sovereign country? How about that? ... How about starting with the respect of sovereignty established by the revolution? How minding US democracy instead, or is it hypocracy?

by: Gerald La Touche
November 10, 2013 7:42 AM
This ongoing embargo borders on 'crimes against humanity'! While the embargo has strengthened the Castros and fellow Cuban revolutionaries, the people of Cuba has suffered for an entire generation! The opposite, removing the embargo would have brought the much needed pressure from the masses to regain the country towards democracy. This embargo like the Vietnam War will go down in international political history as another major failure of American foreign policy!
In Response

by: Herb from: Florida
November 10, 2013 4:50 PM
The simple truth. As you say the embargo only aids the Cuban Gov. It is time to stop the madness. I had great hopes for Obama and he has consistently proven himself incompetent.

by: John McAuliff from: Hanoi, Vietnam
November 10, 2013 5:10 AM
It would not be a surprise if President Obama laid groundwork for a significant improvement in US policy toward Cuba in Miami and with prominent dissidents in the room.

Will he approve an exchange of prisoners, take Cuba off the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism, and grant a general license for all non-tourist purposeful travel, no bureaucratic applications required?

Visiting Vietnam drives home our so far wasted opportunity with Cuba and the benefits both countries will receive from normalization of relations.

John McAuliff
Fund for Reconciliation and Development
In Response

by: Gerald La Touche
November 10, 2013 3:54 PM
Well said John, my point exactly. No one is gaining from this embargo and both sides are worse off for it! The US is currently practising self harm with this failed policy towards Cuba!

by: Rich Haney from: Charlottesville, Virginia
November 10, 2013 4:14 AM
I am a lifelong conservative Republican from Virginia who strongly supported President Obama in both of his presidential campaigns. Like many conservative, moderate, and reasonable Republicans, I have come to believe that right-wing Republican zealots -- which now include the likes of Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and their radical/extremist band of Tea Party sycophants -- now represent the biggest threat to the American democracy. Wow! In This second week of Nov.-2013 President Obama makes headlines by saying the U. S. policy regarding Cuba should be "revised." Because, into his second term as President, he has not done more to "revise" America's cruel, greedy, revengeful Cuban policy disappoints millions of Americans who voted for him. As reflected each October by the UN vote, all the nations of the world except Israel (whose vote is, of course, bought-and-paid for) strongly oppose the U. S. policy towards Cuba, including America's most important friends. As history's all-time greatest economic and military superpower, with a penchant for regime change and a tendency to shower billions on "U. S. friends," the wonder is that the U. S. couldn't persuade more small, needy dependents than just Israel to support its Cuban policy.
The U. S. capitulation to two generations of a handful of self-serving, revengeful, power-hungry, greedy Cuban exiles has shamed the U. S. in the eyes of the world since January of 1959, reminding many that in the 1950s the U. S. teamed with the Mafia to support the brutal/thieving Batista dictatorship on the nearby island. To "revise" America's pernicious, self-inflicted wound known as its "Cuban policy," President Obama should use his Bully Pulpit to wage the fight for these immediate changes:
(1) End the embargo that has shamed the U. S. and democracy since 1962; (2) remove Cuba from the Supporters of Terrorism list; (3) close the albatross-like prison at Guantanamo Bay that Amnesty Internationally and the rest of the world calls "the Gulag of our time;" and (4) return Guantanamo Bay, which the U. S. stole from Cuba shortly after the 1898 Spanish-American War, to its rightful owner, Cuba. As a democracy-loving zealot, I am ashamed that the rest of the world rightfully considers the U. S. to be a big bully for endlessly rewarding two generations of a few rich, powerful, self-serving, revengeful Cuban exiles with a Cuban policy that the rest of the world considers insane, cruel, cowardly, and anti-democratic. Batista's Cuba and the Cuban Revolution, and their aftermaths, say a lot more about the superpower United States than about the island of Cuba. America needs to get past its support of brutal dictators like Batista, Trujillo, Pinochet, etc., but its Cuban policy continues to be a daily reminder to even America's friends that greed, hypocrisy, and stupidity remains a "policy" of the U. S. government.

by: Robert A. Solera from: Miami, Fl. USA
November 09, 2013 6:34 PM
What an ignorance! To say that Castro took power in 1961. It was in 1959.!
In Response

by: Bob North from: Minnesota
November 09, 2013 10:50 PM
The cold war is over. The president is correct to end the destructive policies of the United States toward Cuba. The change is very very long over due.

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