Obama Makes Tepid Call for Change in US Policy on CubaNovember 9, 2013 | Print |
HAVANA TIMES — Without mentioning any specifics US President Barack Obama called Friday for a revision of US policies towards Cuba.
In an address to a fundraiser in Miami, Obama said “We have to be creative and we have to be thoughtful and we have to continue to update our policies.”
Curiously, the term “update” is the same one used by Cuban President Raul Castro and the Communist Party to describe the economic reforms taking place on the island to breathe new life into what they call Cuban socialism.
President Obama added: “Keep in mind that when Castro came to power I was just born, so the notion that the same policies that we put in place in 1961 would somehow still be as effective as they are today in the age of the Internet, Google and world travel doesn’t make sense.”
The US recently received its 22nd annual rebuff from the United Nation’s General Assembly over its half century embargo on Cuba, designed to try and cripple the island’s economy. This year the vote was 188 to 2. However, the resolution calling for an end to the embargo has no enforcement mechanisms or sanctions for non-compliance.
When Obama first took office in 2007 there were hopes that he might move to reestablish US-Cuba relations, take off the travel ban on ordinary US citizens traveling to Cuba, and possibly end the embargo. None of those issues have been addressed thus far in either his first or second term.
Obama did make life easier for Cuban-Americans, who can now freely travel to Cuba and send unlimited remittances to their close relatives, something they couldn’t do under George W. Bush. He also has allowed organized group travel to Cuba if a licensing procedure is followed and approved by the US Treasury Dept.