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.

    You May Like

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Before burial at overflowing cemeteries, unidentified dead being swapped for DNA, in case some day relatives come to learn their fate

    Russian Opposition Leader Sues Putin for Conflict of Interest

    Alexei Navalny tells VOA in exclusive interview why transfer of $2 billion from country’s wealth fund to company with ties to President Putin’s son-in-law triggered lawsuit

    How Diversity Has Changed America

    Over the past four decades, the level of diversity in the United States has increased most in these four states

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    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.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.