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posted by CoolHand on Sunday March 20 2016, @10:01PM   Printer-friendly

President Obama has become the first U.S. president to visit Cuba since long before the Cuban embargo began:

President Barack Obama embarked on Sunday on a historic trip to Cuba where a Communist government that vilified the United States for decades prepared a red-carpet welcome. Lifting off from Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington, Obama headed for Havana where the sight of Air Force One, America's iconic presidential jet, touching down on Cuban soil would have been unimaginable not long ago.

The three-day trip, the first by a U.S. president in 88 years, is the culmination of a diplomatic opening announced by Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro in December 2014, ending a Cold War-era estrangement that began when the Cuban revolution ousted a pro-American government in 1959. Obama, who abandoned a longtime U.S. policy of trying to isolate Cuba internationally, now wants to make his shift irreversible. But major obstacles remain to full normalization of ties.

Ahead of Obama's arrival, plainclothes police blanketed the capital with security while public works crews busily laid down asphalt in a city where drivers joke they must navigate "potholes with streets." Welcome signs with images of Obama alongside Castro popped up in colonial Old Havana, where the president and his family will tour later on Sunday.

Also at The Guardian and live at The Washington Post. Voice of America reports that dozens of protesters were arrested hours before Obama's visit.

Extras:

How Canada played pivotal role in Obama's history-making trip to Cuba
How Raúl Castro broke with firebrand brother Fidel to jump start Cuba-U.S. relations
US hotel firm Starwood strikes historic Cuba deal


Original Submission

Related Stories

Scientists Propose Biodiversity Lab to Redeem Guantanamo Prison Camp 13 comments

The American presence at the Guantanamo Prison Camp has been deeply contentious since even before terrorism suspects began to be housed there beginning in 2002. Now as President Obama prepares to make the first presidential visit to Cuba in almost 90 years, ecologists Joe Roman and James Kraska have published their case in the influential journal Science for creating a Guantanamo-based research center to study biodiversity in the Caribbean. The primary benefit of a Guantanamo Bay research station is symbolic. "The main goal is trying to take Guantanamo and make it an inspiring place, and redeem it," says Roman. But the case for Guantanamo Bay as a science lab goes beyond political optics. According to Roman and Kraska the land and the sea offer an ecosystem uniquely worthy of study. The research hub of Roman's dreams would be a state-of-the art facility to help understand how biodiversity loss can be prevented across the Caribbean. "A parcel of the land, perhaps on the developed southeastern side of the base, could become a 'Woods Hole of the Caribbean,' housing research and educational facilities dedicated to addressing climate change, ocean conservation, and biodiversity loss. With genetics laboratories, geographic information systems laboratories, videoconference rooms — even art, music, and design studios — scientists, scholars, and artists from Cuba, the United States, and around the world could gather and study. The new facilities could strive to be carbon neutral, with four 80-meter wind turbines having been installed on the base in 2005, and designed to minimize ecological damage to the surrounding marine and terrestrial ecosystems"

According to Roman the main idea is that science can be healing: a way to bring diverse nations together, a way to rectify a complicated history, and a way to help better the lives of all people through research. The biggest roadblock won't be the Obama administration but Congress. Republican lawmakers have derided Obama's preliminary framework for closing the prison so for the foreseeable future, the status quo will remain. But Roman can still dream. "At a certain point, I don't know when, that base is going to close. It's going to return to Cuba at some point. This is a great use of that property. You don't have many places in the world like that."


Original Submission

Politics: President Trump Revises U.S. Policy Towards Cuba 47 comments

President Trump has placed some restrictions on travel to Cuba, but has not entirely undone the changes that former President Obama made in his second term:

In an overhaul of one of his predecessor's signature legacies, President Donald Trump will redraw U.S. policy toward Cuba on Friday, tightening travel restrictions for Americans that had been loosened under President Barack Obama and banning U.S. business transactions with Cuba's vast military conglomerate.

Trump's changes are intended to sharply curtail cash flow to the Cuban government and pressure its communist leaders to let the island's fledgling private sector grow. Diplomatic relations reestablished by Obama, including reopened embassies in Washington and Havana, will remain. Travel and money sent by Cuban Americans will be unaffected, but Americans will be unable to spend money in state-run hotels or restaurants tied to the military, a significant prohibition.

Editorials for and against the rollback.

Previously: Deal Will Allow Up to 110 U.S. Flights to Cuba Daily
President Obama Visits Cuba
USA Ends "Wet Foot/Dry Foot" Policy for Cuban Migrants


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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 20 2016, @10:22PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 20 2016, @10:22PM (#320901)
  • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 20 2016, @11:11PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 20 2016, @11:11PM (#320906)

    is that he's a great strategic thinker in foreign policy, which we saw from the very beginning when he came out strongly against the Iraq War (note: this was at a time when @realDonaldTrump still publicly supported it as a private citizen).

    Putin doesn't like this rapproachment one bit, because Cuba has been a reliable client state 100 miles from Florida. Russia has been Cuba's sugar daddy for decades; now the tourism and business with the USA will lift Cuba's economy without Russia's help.

    I support the TPP for similar reasons. China doesn't like the TPP because they want to dominate the Far East, economically and militarily, intimidating the developing countries in the region, maybe even claw back Taiwan. TPP is an extension of America's military policy.

    When you don't have strong trading partners, you have to try to make it up with extra military weapons, deployments, and engagements, similar to what Putin just tried to do (and failed) in Syria. That costs hundreds of billions of dollars, even trillions.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 21 2016, @07:37AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 21 2016, @07:37AM (#321018)

      The Economist says [economist.com] of Cuba around the time of the dissolution of the USSR:

      ... Domestic cats disappeared from the streets and reappeared on the dinner table. The zoo population thinned out. “The peacocks, the buffalo and even the rhea [a South American bird that resembles an ostrich] disappeared,” says a Havana resident. “The hyaenas became vegetarians, the zoo was depopulated and even the tigers had only sweet potatoes and a bit of cassava to eat.”

      Wikipedia has an article [wikipedia.org] about those times.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by cmn32480 on Sunday March 20 2016, @11:46PM

    by cmn32480 (443) Subscriber Badge <reversethis-{gro ... {ta} {08423nmc}> on Sunday March 20 2016, @11:46PM (#320911) Journal

    As the son of a Cuban refugee from the brutal style of Communism that was practiced by Castro, I'm pretty ashamed of our President. The deal to open Cuba to American business and tourism was basically "Give them whateverthefuck they want."

    My grandparents brought their children to America with literally what they could carry as if they were going on vacation 3 years AFTER Castro took power, when people weren't allowed to leave.

    I honestly believe that Obama never talked to the people that were held in Castro's prison camps as political prisoners. My Uncle was one of those people. The stories would curl my hair if I had any.

    I fully expect that Obama would be playing his violin while DC burned.

    --
    "It's a dog eat dog world, and I'm wearing Milkbone underwear" - Norm Peterson
    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 21 2016, @12:20AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 21 2016, @12:20AM (#320913)

      I don't doubt your story at all -- many left Cuba under very tough circumstances.

      At the same time, the history I was taught and picked up along way (I started paying attention in college, early 1970s) is that the prior government in Cuba was *incredibly* corrupt. Some kind of revolution was inevitable. Also that the ruling/wealthy class was tiny and everyone else had no chance at all. Thus Castro was a pendulum swing, far in the other direction. Care to comment?

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by cmn32480 on Monday March 21 2016, @12:49AM

        by cmn32480 (443) Subscriber Badge <reversethis-{gro ... {ta} {08423nmc}> on Monday March 21 2016, @12:49AM (#320917) Journal

        You actually paid attention in history class. Gold Star!

        The Batista regime WAS corrupt and, unfortunately, US backed until 1958. It was not quite as bad many portray it to be, and certainly better than what came after 1959. My grandfather was a successful upper-middle class professional.

        This article (from 2004) [pbs.org] describes the pre-Castro years in Cuba.

        On the eve of Fidel Castro's 1959 revolution, Cuba was neither the paradise that would later be conjured by the nostalgic imaginations of Cuba's many exiles, nor the hellhole painted by many supporters of the revolution, who recall Cuba as "the brothel of the Western hemisphere" -- an island inhabited by a people degraded and hungry, whose main occupation was to cater to American tourists at Havana's luxurious hotels, beaches and casinos. Rather, Cuba was one of the most advanced and successful countries in Latin America.

        This blog entry [blogspot.com] seems to be rather even handed in describing his historical role, and the situation under which he could have handed the nation back to the hands of democracy and spared the people many years of communist rule.

        In reflecting upon Batista’s complex role in Cuban history, it is imperative to consider that most of the accounts published about him are demonization screeds produced to serve as the cornerstone of the Castro Revolutionary Myth. They were ably crafted to serve this purpose in three ways. First, they obscure that vast majority of the opposition to Batista was not the violent revolutionaries but the electoralists seeking a political solution—which Batista was willing and able to negotiate. Castro and the revolutionaries early showed their anti-democratic intentions by unleashing savage attacks rhetorical and physical against all engaged in seeking political solutions that would end the Batista regime while preserving democracy and returning to constitutional rule. These concerted attacks by Castro and the revolutionaries effectively subverted and sabotaged electoralist initiatives, and were the main reason for their failure.

        Honestly, I am quite lucky that my father and his family were able to come here as refugees on an airplane via Jamaica, instead of the more well know transit to the Florida Keys via home made raft.

        --
        "It's a dog eat dog world, and I'm wearing Milkbone underwear" - Norm Peterson
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 21 2016, @05:50AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 21 2016, @05:50AM (#320995)

          'My grandfather was a successful upper-middle class professional.'

          So your grandfather qualified as what the peasants/revolutionaries saw as the PROBLEM, not the solution.

          Given that Castro in particular, and Cuba as a whole survived every attack, psyop, and bit of posturing set against them (save retaining control of Guantanamo all these years.) I would have to say that the majority either agrees with, or is content to live within the structure created as a result of the communist revolution there. That is the problem with majority vote, sometimes the minorities are singled out and persecuted. Maybe you should spend less time looking at your former home, and more time looking at how you can help others overcome similiar persecution in your current home instead.

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Monday March 21 2016, @01:25AM

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 21 2016, @01:25AM (#320925) Journal

        Ukraine had an incredibly corrupt government of it's own. The Cock brothers invested billions to have that incredibly corrupt government overturned, and to replace it with another incredibly corrupt government, more to their liking.

        If you should take a look at our own military industrial complex today, you'll see that we are not competent to judge corruption.

        There have been precious few governments in history that have NOT been corrupt.

        Pendulum swing? Maybe. Castro deserves a little credit for standing up to the Pax Americana, in which banana republics were overthrown on a whim, and petty dictators bought and sold in bulk.

        --
        This broadcast is intended for mature audiences.
        • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 21 2016, @01:52AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 21 2016, @01:52AM (#320933)

          No better government than a good king, no worse government than a bad king. It never changes.

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 21 2016, @01:17AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 21 2016, @01:17AM (#320922)

      This is what the Cuban community gets for only voting Republican, Since you never vote Demorcat, Obama has nothing to lose by pissing you off.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 21 2016, @11:42PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 21 2016, @11:42PM (#321325)

        The way I see it, Obama stands little chance, in the U.S., of getting re-elected to the presidency at this point, even if Cuban-Americans were to vote for him en bloc. His prospects may actually be better in Cuba.

    • (Score: 2, Informative) by Runaway1956 on Monday March 21 2016, @01:29AM

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 21 2016, @01:29AM (#320926) Journal

      "Give them whateverthefuck they want."

      That's exactly the same deal he offered Iran! And, Easter Island Head is perfectly serious when he says that if Iran violates the deal, America will enforce it. Seriously, "Take whatever the fuck you want!"

      --
      This broadcast is intended for mature audiences.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 21 2016, @01:59AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 21 2016, @01:59AM (#320936)

        There you go again, self-pleasuring yourself in public with talkradioshit. Rubbing it all over your face and torpid body.
        Feels damn good doesn't it? Ain't no fun to watch though.

    • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Monday March 21 2016, @01:33AM

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 21 2016, @01:33AM (#320928) Journal
      --
      This broadcast is intended for mature audiences.
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 21 2016, @03:07AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 21 2016, @03:07AM (#320953)

      I never understood why the fuck we held our foreign policy hostage to a bunch of pissed off Cuban expats living in Florida for decades. Your family got fucked over, and that's too bad, but 50 fucking years of a stupid isolationist policy, particularly when it is only the US with this policy? Why? We should have opened relations with them a long time ago because it was painfully clear that if you wanted Castro to fade into irrelevance, you open the West to them and let economics take care of itself as happened with all the other communist countries in Europe. If it was too politically embarrassing in the years after the Bay of Pigs, then this should have happened when the Soviet Bloc dissolved. This should have been Reagan doing this, not Obama. Castro would have been gone a long time ago and we'd have a strong partner off our coast. The vengeance option was never going to be an option, so we should have worked another approach YEARS ago.

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by hemocyanin on Monday March 21 2016, @05:26AM

        by hemocyanin (186) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 21 2016, @05:26AM (#320990)

        Yeah, it's about time. It's been half a century, the former government was conquered, and for the US to just pretend that some magic fairy would turn back the clock on that fact was just stupid. On the other hand, it was probably better for Cuba that way -- the US has only been friends with fascists in any country south of our border and has been quite willing to install them whenever people got uppity about wages or working conditions in American businesses located down there.

        It was basically our own ruthless policies that pushed revolutionaries toward the USSR because without some serious backing, the US would just install whatever police state it felt like. People looking for freedom had no other options, sadly.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Phoenix666 on Monday March 21 2016, @04:03PM

        by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 21 2016, @04:03PM (#321132) Journal

        I never understood why the fuck we held our foreign policy hostage to a bunch of pissed off Cuban expats living in Florida for decades.

        Well, sure. Why is that a surprise? There is an even more egregious example of that with respect to Israel. We let the world's sole remaining superpower be led around by the nose by a country of 5 million people. We can't do a single blessed thing vis-a-vis a region of hundreds of millions of people who have location and resources of real strategic importance because Israel has implanted brain slugs on everyone in the American federal government. And the Israelis are not even nice people! They're really horrible people. They've been running an organized campaign of ethnic cleansing and unilateral invasion for decades, largely on our dime! That's right, we've paid for it all.

        So, yeah, it's a silly situation that the the Cuban expat community in Miami has governed American policy with Cuba for decades, but if we're going to unwind that kind of absurdity let's deal with the really, really big one first, eh?

        --
        Washington DC delenda est.
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by number11 on Monday March 21 2016, @04:38AM

      by number11 (1170) on Monday March 21 2016, @04:38AM (#320981)

      The thing is, before Castro, under Batista and the Mafia, Cuba was not a land of milk and honey either. Not that good government or freedom has ever been a criterion for US relations, the US is good friends with regimes like Saudi Arabia, and thugs like Sygman Rhee, Chiang Kai-shek, Papa Doc, and General Pinochet (who we helped put into power) were our friends. Today, the WHO ranks Cuba as having the second best health system in Latin America (after Dominica), only a few ranks lower than the USA. It has the highest literacy rate in the Americas, ahead of the USA. Back in the day, we made it a capital crime to teach the oppressed (slaves) how to read. So they're not doing everything wrong, even though they're a very poor country. AFAIK they don't have death squads, like Honduras, Mexico, Iraq today or (in the 1970s) Chile or Argentina or Nicaragua. Free? Cuba is not a good country to be a dissenter in. This seems to be a common trait of countries that feel themselves under attack.. remember, Cuba has never invaded the US, but the US has invaded Cuba. But I don't think they'll cut your head off for dissent, like Saudi Arabia will.

      Revolutions hurt people, and innocent people are not exempt. I expect you were taught that during and after the American Revolution, loyalists (that is, people loyal to the existing government) often had to flee (mostly to Canada), leaving their property behind. Or maybe not, American schools tend to skip over history like that. Your grandparents got screwed over. Sorry about that. In America, we call that "collateral damage".

      • (Score: 2) by cmn32480 on Monday March 21 2016, @10:55AM

        by cmn32480 (443) Subscriber Badge <reversethis-{gro ... {ta} {08423nmc}> on Monday March 21 2016, @10:55AM (#321045) Journal

        They won't cut off your head... but they will shoot you and/or torture you, then (if you aren't dead) toss your ass in a hard labor camp until the end of your natural life.

        --
        "It's a dog eat dog world, and I'm wearing Milkbone underwear" - Norm Peterson
        • (Score: 3, Touché) by number11 on Monday March 21 2016, @05:18PM

          by number11 (1170) on Monday March 21 2016, @05:18PM (#321154)

          Yes, Guantanamo is in Cuba.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 21 2016, @01:03PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 21 2016, @01:03PM (#321065)

        I'd be interested to know what % of people in what became the US were strong loyalists. I would guess revolutionaries were about 1%, people who didn't care under what king they lived 70%, vocal loyalist supporters 20% and vocal revolution supporters ~10%.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 21 2016, @02:24PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 21 2016, @02:24PM (#321097)

      I get what you are saying however ignoring them and sanctions were not getting what we wanted.

      Capitalism will break them them faster. It worked on the Chinese and the Russians. Both of whom are now ruthless capitalists with enough communism to keep the party happy.

      Money and power corrupt faster than anything else.

      Within 15 years Cuba will be a *very* different place. It will probably end up much like purto rico.

    • (Score: 2) by SanityCheck on Monday March 21 2016, @02:31PM

      by SanityCheck (5190) on Monday March 21 2016, @02:31PM (#321098)

      Wow what a monster, how dare he allow them to leave?

      Castro will be dead and buried within 5 years, regardless of his crimes. Raul will follow within a decade.

      Meanwhile the people of Cuba suffer needlessly because you are mad your grand daddy was living large while the masses struggled. Dig deep, and get that stick out of your ass, it does you no good.

      • (Score: 2) by cmn32480 on Monday March 21 2016, @03:31PM

        by cmn32480 (443) Subscriber Badge <reversethis-{gro ... {ta} {08423nmc}> on Monday March 21 2016, @03:31PM (#321126) Journal

        You are incorrect. They COULDN'T leave. The communists were preventing people from fleeing the country in order to keep the money in country. That is why my fathers family went on vacation to Jamaica, with only what they could carry in their suitcases, and never returned. They went to Miami, then Queens, NY, and started over with basically nothing.

        My grandfather made it to where he was under the elected regime pre-Batista. He grew up with nothing, worked his ass off, went to college, and made something of himself.

        I'd suggest this wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] to give you some perspective on the social classes of those who have left Cuba in the last 70 years.

        In case you don't read it here is an excerpt:

        The term "Cuban exile" refers to the many Cubans who fled the island of Cuba. These peoples consist of two primary groups loosely defined by the period of time occurring before and after the Mariel boat lift of the 1980s. The pre-Mariel group consisted of the mostly middle and upper classes of the island who fled in the fear of widespread reprisals after the communist takeover led by Fidel Castro in the late 1950 and through the 1970s. The people of these groups were mainly seeking political asylum. The second group consists of those peoples who emigrated from Cuba during and after the period of the Mariel boat lift of the 1980s. By and large, the majority of these peoples were, and are, seeking better economic conditions. The phenomenon date back to the Ten Years' War and the struggle for Cuban independence during the 19th century. In modern times, the term refers to the large exodus of Cubans to the United States since the 1959 Cuban Revolution.

        More than one million Cubans of all social classes have left the island to the United States,[1][2] Spain, Italy, Mexico, Canada, Sweden, and other countries.

        tl;dr: Everybody, particularly those who had supported the return to democracy in the 1959 elections, ran like hell for the border.

        People are STILL trying to get out. Hence the current feet dry doctrine of the US government. If a Cuban refugee makes it to dry land, they can request asylum, if they get caught on the water by the Coast Guard, they are returned.

        And let me be clear, I hope I am wrong, but the deal made by Obama was one sided. Most of the political prisoners that were released, got locked right back up.

        --
        "It's a dog eat dog world, and I'm wearing Milkbone underwear" - Norm Peterson
        • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Monday March 21 2016, @04:26PM

          by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 21 2016, @04:26PM (#321143) Journal

          The communists were preventing people from fleeing the country in order to keep the money in country.

          Is it really to keep money from leaving, though? Money knows no boundaries anymore. And nobody can physically pick up machine tools and factories and ore and all the other things that create value and throw them into an airplane seat or rubber dinghy and flee the country; that stuff will always remain. What they're really fleeing with is their skills, know-how, and gumption.

          But then, we've seen this film before in post-colonial scenarios all over the world. If you chase out the skilled and motivated and retain the un-skilled and un-motivated, your country will plunge into abject poverty no matter how rich the natural resources. Take Uganda. Idi Amin expelled the Indians and Europeans and all non-black Africans and the country promptly plunged into poverty. That country has spent the past couple of decades trying to lure them back, for naught. Mozambique chased out the Portuguese, and presto! Instant poverty. Same thing in Rhodesia, even though Mozambique expressly counseled Mugabe against chasing out the skilled classes. As Rhodesia the country was known as the breadbasket of southern Africa; as Zimbabwe it's a basket case.

          The same thing is about to happen to America itself. Its elites think nothing can ever go wrong, they can abuse the American people endlessly and will still remain on top. Because, hey, it's all about the basis points and unicorns and BRICs, right? Those things are all fungible. Why bother with people and families when you can click a mouse and send all your capital to the other side of the world at the speed of light?

          So I submit, as you have affirmed with your family history, that wealth and national strength does not repose in any physical object but in the humans who wield them. Drop a motivated man in a forest with a knife and he will build an empire; retain a coddled welfare recipient, be he in a housing project or a co-op on the Upper East Side, and you will know real poverty.

          --
          Washington DC delenda est.
          • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Monday March 21 2016, @05:44PM

            by bob_super (1357) on Monday March 21 2016, @05:44PM (#321163)

            While I agree that chasing the "elites" away is never a great idea, in many cases the former colonizer retaliated against the government who chased them away. How bad would the situation really be in Zimbabwe, had the UK not started an international campaign against them for thinking that the land didn't belong to the descendants of the white colonizers? Probably still bad, because Mugabe's a classical rapacious dictator, but not quite as bad overall.

            The situation in Cuba would be pretty good if the US had kept trade relations (with good chances of the Castros having lost their job decades ago for lack of an enemy to rally against). Given what they've achieved while under a nasty embargo, the Cuban are not to be underestimated.

            • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Monday March 21 2016, @07:13PM

              by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 21 2016, @07:13PM (#321203) Journal

              To be sure, it's not simple. In post-colonial situations, race and discrimination have been almost impossible to separate from skills. Zimbabwe/Rhodesia is a particularly weird case, because on the one hand, it was a horribly racially repressive regime, such that put the South Africans to shame. On the other hand, the natives that preceded the European presence did nothing to capitalize on the natural advantages, and those black nationalists who succeeded the Europeans squandered everything good that had been achieved.

              All that notwithstanding, despite the complicated racial dynamics, I think the general lesson shines through: chase away your best people and your nation will suffer, no matter what your natural resources or geopolitical position may be; attract the best people you can, and your nation will benefit, no matter what your natural resources or geopolitical position may be.

              The way I see it, there are about 50 million highly-educated and trained people in the United States whom the elites have disenfranchised. A country that moves with dispatch to attract those people will have a serious leg up on becoming the next superpower.

              --
              Washington DC delenda est.
        • (Score: 2) by gnuman on Monday March 21 2016, @07:10PM

          by gnuman (5013) on Monday March 21 2016, @07:10PM (#321201)

          And let me be clear, I hope I am wrong, but the deal made by Obama was one sided. Most of the political prisoners that were released, got locked right back up.

          If you are causing disorder in Cuba, you will most likely get locked up. (Heck, look at Trump rallies -- seems dissent is not very much tolerate there either?) But that doesn't mean that there is thought police on Cuban streets. There are plenty of reformists inside the party on the island. Even now, hundreds of thousands of small business and cooperatives are allowed to operate on the island. International hotel chains like Starwood Hotels, will invest in Cuba,

                https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/starwood-signs-deal-manage-3-091811398.html [yahoo.com]

          The worse thing that can happen for Cuba and Cuba's future democracy is to keep things as they are. Cubans already can travel freely,

                http://news.nationalpost.com/news/cuba-allows-citizens-to-travel-mostly-freely-for-first-time-in-51-years [nationalpost.com]

          Regardless, the only change that can come to Cuba is slow, methodological, and through political means. Quick changes are always bad.

          Finally, irrespective of what you were told, most people on the island support their government while acknowledging that there are problems that they will have to work through. Cuban government is not the "boogeymen" as told by many expats. Elections are quite non-partisan -- people run as individuals, not as members of particular party.

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_political_parties_in_Cuba [wikipedia.org]