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

China’s Influence Grows With New Infrastructure Bank

Multibillion-dollar China-backed and BRICS-supported Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank seen as possible challenger to such lenders as IMF, World Bank More

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

Rabbi Michel Serfaty makes the rounds in his friendship bus to encourage dialogue and break down barriers between the two groups More

Post-deal Iran Leaders Need 'Economic Momentum' to Solidify

Economists say deal could inject more than $100 billion into coffers - not enough to entirely rescue ailing economy - but maybe adequate to create 'economic momentum' More

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.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs