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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.


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  • (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.

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  • (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.