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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


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

    by cmn32480 (443) <cmn32480NO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> 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
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  • (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.