US Opinion and Commentary

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We Need a Cuba Policy that Truly Serves the Cuban People

Posted December 21st, 2016 at 11:53 am (UTC-4)
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Clearly, changes are coming to U.S.-Cuba policy under Trump. But what to replace Obama’s policy with? [N]o one argues for a return to the status quo ante. [T]he President-elect’s new team should seize the opportunity to bring energy and creativity to truly empowering the Cuban people to reclaim their right to decide their own destiny.

Don’t Give Fidel Castro the Last Laugh

Posted November 30th, 2016 at 1:13 pm (UTC-4)
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It’s one thing to be respectful of the Cuban people — and I’m not suggesting we celebrate anyone’s death. But it is another to sidestep the historical horrors of a murderous, 60-year military regime and strike a pose of diplomatic equanimity that assuages only gluttons of insincerity.

Castro’s Legacy

Posted November 28th, 2016 at 4:33 pm (UTC-4)
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Fidel Castro’s death at age 90 Friday was a moment for millions of Cuban Americans to both celebrate and mourn. Celebrate because the brutal dictator they and their families fled from had finally died; mourn family members who could not wait out Castro’s life in hopes of returning to their homeland.

Whether it was cozying up to the Soviet Union, backing Angolan leftists or exporting his revolution to Venezuela and other Latin American countries, Castro influenced United States policy for more than 60 years. The economic embargo imposed by President John Kennedy in 1962 is still in place today. Cuban migrants get preferential treatment if they make it to the United States.

President Barack Obama visited Cuba earlier this year, marking the resumption of diplomatic relations between the two countries. President-elect Donald Trump warns that could be reversed if Cuba doesn’t make progress on human rights and release political prisoners and fugitives from U.S. law.

Although Castro transferred power to his brother Raúl in 2006, Fidel was still a larger-than-life influence. Now that his life is over, how will generations of Cubans who knew no other leader go forward?

Cuba Shows Fallacy of Sanctions, Regime Change

Posted November 28th, 2016 at 10:47 am (UTC-4)
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By Barbara Slavin Friday’s death of the world’s last revolutionary icon, Cuba’s Fidel Castro, offers important foreign policy lessons to the incoming administration of Donald Trump. For nearly 60 years, U.S. administrations struggled to overturn, contain or convert the bearded strongman and export a more democratic, capitalist form of government to the island nation of […]

We Ignore Venezuela’s Imminent Implosion at our Peril

Posted May 2nd, 2016 at 4:28 pm (UTC-4)
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Gangs of regime thugs now roam the streets on motorcycles and attack opposition gatherings. Meanwhile, the government is essentially shutting itself down…Remarkably, most of the Western hemisphere is studiously ignoring this meltdown. The Obama administration and Washington’s Latin America watchers are obsessed with the president’s pet project, the opening to Cuba.

The Perils of Business in Cuba

Posted April 25th, 2016 at 3:56 pm (UTC-4)
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It’s jarring to watch the American business community boycott North Carolina over that state’s new law regarding LGBT individuals — while racing to see who can open up shop in Cuba, where discrimination is even worse.

Obama’s Record on Foreign Policy Is Incomplete

Posted March 29th, 2016 at 12:55 am (UTC-4)
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Although Obama wants people to remember the new relationships he’s opened, like those with Cuba and Iran, his legacy will inescapably include Iraq and Syria too.

Cuba: Beyond Béisbol, Beyond Castro

Posted March 22nd, 2016 at 4:22 pm (UTC-4)
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As ping-pong diplomacy helped pave the way for a relationship with communist China, baseball may help ease the rapprochement between the United States and Cuba. The final score won’t matter in an exhibition game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban National Team.

What will matter is the symbolism of the United States and Cuba sharing their national pastimes with a Cuban defector playing for the American team—and other Cuban-born major league players being cheered as returning heroes in Havana.

President Barack Obama said in Tuesday’s speech he came to Havana “to bury the last remnants of the Cold War.”

56 years of enmity cannot be erased in a two-and-a-half day presidential visit. Or a nine-inning baseball game. But it is a start.

Obama Reaches Out to Cuba’s ‘Cuentapropistas’

Posted March 22nd, 2016 at 11:50 am (UTC-4)
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The president spoke directly with American entrepreneurs and self-employed Cubans during historic trip

Embracing Cuba

Posted March 18th, 2016 at 3:55 pm (UTC-4)
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In 1928, former President Calvin Coolidge visited Cuba. It would be 88 years until the next American presidential trip would take place, if nothing impedes President Barack Obama’s scheduled visit on March 21st. It’s hard to describe the historic nature of Obama’s move towards warmer relations with a country that was so strongly allied with the U.S.S.R. that former President John F. Kennedy and then Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev came dangerously close to war over the Cuban Missile Crisis. Fast forward to 2014, when President Obama announced his vision to embrace Cuba, whose long-time dictator Fidel Castro had become so ill, he handed power to his brother, Raul. There are signs of change in Cuba, but it is slow. According to human rights activists, there is a disturbing crackdown on political dissidents. Much work remains to improve the lives of ordinary Cubans. For Obama, the effort is worth spending some of his dwindling political capital before he vacates the Oval Office.

The President Is Going to Cuba: Here’s Why

Posted February 26th, 2016 at 4:24 pm (UTC-4)
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In March, Barack Obama will be the first American president since Calvin Coolidge in 1928 to visit Cuba

Obama’s Second Term Could Be The Most Consequential In Recent Memory

Posted January 4th, 2016 at 9:59 am (UTC-4)
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…The question today is not whether Obama has made real progress since 2012. The question is how much of that progress will last beyond 2017, when somebody else is in the White House.

An End to Cuban Exceptionalism

Posted December 7th, 2015 at 1:42 pm (UTC-4)
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For almost half a century, Cubans have received unique treatment under U.S. immigration law. So long as they set foot on U.S. soil, Cubans are all but guaranteed admission … [But] the lack of rigorous background checks has created what Florida’s Sun Sentinel calls the ‘Cuban Criminal Pipeline …’

What Cubans Can Gain From Francis’s Visit

Posted September 18th, 2015 at 4:37 pm (UTC-4)
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Over the last few decades, the Catholic Church has become one of the most respected institutions in Cuba. Emerging from the shadows of state repression, it now provides meals and care for the poor, education, training for entrepreneurs, and libraries with access to foreign books and magazines.

Why I’m Going to Havana

Posted August 14th, 2015 at 2:40 pm (UTC-4)
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My visit to Havana, the first by a U.S. Secretary of State in 70 years, comes nine months after President Obama announced a new approach to relations with Cuba. It is an approach based on the ties that bind our people…

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