Obama Readies to Visit Cuba

February 18, 2016 | Print Print |

raul-obama-29sep-685x342HAVANA TIMES — President Barack Obama will travel to Cuba “in the coming weeks”,  two unnamed White House sources told dpa news on Wednesday.

Obama will be the first US president to visit the island in 88 years. The last US president to travel to Cuba was Republican Calvin Coolidge in January 1928 on the occasion of the Sixth International Conference of American States.

Jimmy Carter traveled to the island in 2002, but when he was no longer president.

The sources said that Obama will make “a trip to Latin America, including Cuba, in the coming weeks”. However they did not indicate the exact date of the trip and the countries included in the visit, apart from Cuba.

Several US media claimed that the trip will take place in March, citing unnamed sources.

Since the announcement in December 2014 of the thaw between Washington and Havana, experts have speculated that Obama will visit Cuba after the November presidential election in the United States and before he leaves office in January 2017.

Obama has repeatedly urged Congress in Republican hands, to lift the embargo on Cuba, considered by Washington and Havana an obstacle to normalizing relations between the two countries.

Surely Obama’s visit to Cuba will stir the waters of the campaign for the November elections, as most of the Republican candidates oppose Obama’s new policy towards Cuba and advocate maintaining the embargo on the island.

Two Republican candidates, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, are of Cuban origin. And Jeb Bush was governor of Florida, home of the Cuban exile community. All three oppose the rapprochement with Cuba.

Billionaire Donald Trump is the only Republican candidate who has come out in favor of the new approach to the island, but believes that the US government should negotiate a better deal.

On the other hand, the Democratic Party candidates, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, both support Obama’s policy towards Cuba and call for lifting the embargo and restrictions on US citizens traveling to the island. Cuba is the only country in the world where they are prohibited from going as tourists.

Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro surprised everyone in December 2014 announcing the diplomatic thaw between Washington and Havana, after more than half a century of disruption and ideological confrontation between the two countries. The announcement was preceded by 18 months of secret negotiations.

US and Cuba formally resumed bilateral relations in July 2015. A month later, US Secretary of State, John Kerry, officially opened the US Embassy on the Malecon in Havana, becoming the first head of US diplomacy to visit Cuba in 70 years.

Also read: Obama sets date for Cuba trip: March 21-22.


What's your opinion?

  • Peter Antonocci

    won’t be long at all until our muslim insurgent decides we should be
    giving “Cuba” (the dictator and his pals and relatives) very large sums
    of US taxpayer dollars for just thinking about some minor, superficial
    reforms. anything to break the bank…did you know obama just
    gave Columbia $450 million of our dollars to “repatriate” rebel fighters
    there? i wonder how many cars, seaside homes, prostitutes, cocaine and
    shoes for everyone at the top that will buy us?

    • Xerxes0

      You should take a trip to Cuba, Michael Moore did.
      Lots wrong with Cuba but most of what you imply simply isn’t true.

      • Peter Antonocci

        michael moore the moron. nothing i said is untrue. only a matter of time before obozo pledges money by hard working americans to support his communist pals in Cuba. you’ll see, and i will call you on it.

    • Terry Downey

      You know what the say about guys with big egos (and wild imaginations)… it’s to compensate for having nothing between their legs…or ears.

      • Peter Antonocci

        not much imagination involved, nor do i have a big ego. how do you justify $ 450 mil to columbia to repatriate rebels? how much does it cost to “repatriate” a rebel fighter? how much should american citizens pay to let a columbian rebel rejoin his citizens as a loyal columbian? answer…as much as obama wants to give away. the real answer is 0. not our fight, not our problem. how about giving 1.5 BILLION to Iran? his answer..”because it is the right thing to do.” yeah, if you are a muslim that wants to support the enemies of America.

        • Xerxes0

          The United States spends $2.5 billion on a military base in Australia.
          Incredible waste of money specially as America is insolvent.
          What is the point?
          I feel sorry for the soldiers based there it is a very hot inhospitable part of the country few locals want to live in.
          Giving $500 million to Colombia seems sensible in comparison.
          Maybe a businessman with experience handling insolvent companies is what America needs as President?
          Or a socialist who will educate the next generation so they can work abroad….

    • allanfry

      I don’t see what the issue is with this. I don’t see how Cuba can be a threat to the US. This has been going on for a long time. Maybe it’s time to grow up …I’m not going to mention who needs to grow up.

    • John Goodrich

      It’s spelled COLOMBIA.
      Shoot your television and read a book sometime.

  • Vahe Demirjian

    If Barack Obama goes to Cuba, he shouldn’t miss an opportunity to hold an Afro-Cuban girl (e.g. Berta Soler’s daughter) in his arms so that the Afro-Cuban girl can be photographed in Obama’s arms the same way Engelsina Markizova was photographed in Stalin’s arms in 1936. Such a gesture will be used by Havana to convince the Cuban people that Obama loves Cuban children, regardless of their race or skin color.

    • ?????? ???????

      Obama already has a colour , and he already has photos with children of all colour .

  • Gordon Robinson

    For the next 20 years Cubans will enjoy the best expanding economy in the Americas.
    The
    main reasons are : location – the new expanded Panama canal – an idea
    climate – very well educated youth – a great deal of undeveloped prime
    land – very little government and house hold debt – All private houses
    in Cuba are clear title with no land taxes, There is little unfunded
    pension liability.
    Cubans
    have a very good medical and dental system which is paid for by state
    revenues. Education if no cost at all levels and Cuban children do twice
    as many hours in school as Canadian children do.
    Last year 1.3 million Canadians vacationed in Cuba and what this country
    needs is a major theme park. Orlando has 11 theme parks and is the most
    visited city in the Americas. Condos should be built for purchase by non
    Cubans on 99 year leases.

    • amelrodriguez

      At the same time, Cubans are not allow to move freely through their country, if you live in the provinces you cannot move to Havana.

      Cubans cannot associate freely, no other party than the communist party is allowed and if you try to create one, you and your family, including your children, are harassed by mobs incited by the government.

      Cubans cannot either leave or come back to ye island freely. They need the permission of the Government o do so and, if they stay longer than allowed abroad, they lose their property and citizens’ rights.

      Cubans earn the equivalent of $20 US a month salary, and though they have a food ration card that provides cheap sustenance enough for about 12 days, the rest of the time they should buy food and goods at prices 20% higher than US prices.

      Young Cubans put all of their hopes in leaving the country, about 80% of them plan their future around moving somewhere else in the world.

      Prostitution of both sexes is rampant as a whore can earn in a night the average monthly salary or more if they can get a foreign tourist.

      Cuba has one of the lowest internet connection rates in the world and one of the most expensive internet prices per hour.

      Cuba has no free press. All media and communications belongs to the Communist Party and no one is allowed to start alternative media.

      Cubans has very little economic freedom. They can only open small private business in very few lines of work allowed by the government, with a limited number of employees, and paying enormous taxes. They are not allowed to import or export.

      I am not going to comment much about the free indoctrination they receive as education, and that parents cannot choose the kind of education their children will get, or the sorry, ruinous state in which most hospital and clinics are, so much so that you have to bring your own sheets, bandages, and sometimes even water.

      Cuba is a paradise for tourists, and a hell for the nationals.

  • ?????? ???????

    Glad to see what obama is doing . He is not maintaining enemity with random countries to maintain the huge defence budget.