New cars for Cuba! To punish Cuba for 60 years of destabilizing Latin America, Africa and for brutalizing its own people President Obama, the smart President, has basically normalized relations with the Castro regime.
President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced plans to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba and ease economic restrictions on the nation, an historic shift he called the end of an “outdated approach” to U.S.-Cuban relations.
Obama said he’s instructed Secretary of State John Kerry to immediately begin discussions with Cuba to re-establish diplomatic relations, and that the U.S. will re-open an embassy in Havana. The administration will also allow some travel and trade that had been banned under a decades-long embargo instated during the Kennedy administration.
“Neither the American nor Cuban people are well-served by a rigid policy that’s rooted in events that took place before most of us were born,” Obama said.
He later added: “I believe we can do more to support the Cuban people, and promote our values, through engagements. After all, these 50 years have shown that isolation has not worked. It’s time for a new approach.”
Speaking at the same time as Obama from his own country, Cuban President Raul Castro lauded the move.
“This expression by President Barack Obama deserves the respect and recognition by all the people and I want to thank and recognize support from the Vatican and especially from Pope Francis for the improvement of relations between Cuba and the United States,” he said.
Obama’s announcement comes as both nations have released political prisoners in a show of goodwill, with American Alan Gross headed home on “humanitarian” grounds from Cuba early Wednesday morning. In a separate swap, a U.S. intelligence source held for 20 years was released in exchange for three jailed Cuban spies.
Obama said he and Castro spoke Tuesday in a phone call that lasted about an hour and reflected the first communication at the presidential level with Cuba since the Cuban revolution.
But some Republicans are warning the move will only strengthen the Castro regime in Cuba, which has long been accused of human rights abuses and is listed by the State Department as a state sponsor of terrorism.
Obama said Wednesday he has instructed Kerry, however, to review Cuba’s place on the State Sponsors of Terrorism list.
Once again a foreign power has taken the measure of our leadership and acted accordingly.
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