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President Obama Promises “A Future Of Hope” For Cuba


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President Obama left Havana yesterday after his groundbreaking visit to the island, the first by a sitting U.S. president in 88 years. He met with president Raul Castro on Monday and then held a weird press conference that ended in a truly awkward handshake. He visited the Jose Marti memorial, went to a baseball game between the Cuban national team and the Tampa Rays, and spoke to dissident groups. But the highlight came when he spoke directly to the Cuban people in a rousing speech at the Gran Teatro de La Habana. In it he said he had come to “To bury the last remnants of the Cold War”. He said, in a nutshell, that he believes the two countries have a lot to learn from each other, but that ultimately any change in Cuba has to come from the Cuban people and not by the intervention of the United States. He was not so subtly implying that if they want the same freedoms we have in America they are going to have to make it happen.

He also called for an end to the trade embargo, which can only be lifted by congress. What will the result of Obama’s trip be? Many Cuban-Americans feel cynical about the whole thing, saying nothing is going to change. But I am an optimist and I think that the Cuban people will, if not rise up and depose the Castros, will insist on broader freedoms. Raul is no fool and he knows that their way of doing things must change or else the revolution is dead. It will be interesting to see what happens. Watch the whole speech above.

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