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Obama's Cuba Shift Shows Confidence

By Ben Pershing
Twenty-three weeks ago today, Barack Obama won Florida, marking the first time a Democratic presidential candidate has taken the state since 1996. Obama succeeded, in part, by capturing a larger-than-expected portion of the Cuban-American vote. And now he's doing something previous administrations of both parties have either opposed or been afraid to do -- softening U.S. policy toward Cuba.

Obama is lifting spending and travel restrictions for Americans with family on the island, and he's also allowing U.S. telecommunications companies to get into the Cuban market. (OMG -- maybe the country will be freed by Twitter!) Reaction in South Florida yesterday was mixed, with some critics complaining that Obama should at least have extracted some concessions from the Cuban regime before "unilaterally" making the change. The administration's move did represent a middle ground, since Obama did not lift the 47-year-old trade embargo.

Obama's move signaled that he is unafraid of being called "soft" on dictators or communism, or having his policies more generally pilloried by Republicans. And why should he be? Though some of his individual moves -- particularly in dealing with the financial crisis -- have been controversial, the president retains strong support in the polls across the board. In a new Public Strategies/Politico poll, 66 percent of respondents said they trust Obama "to identify the right solutions to the problems we face as a nation." So when he speaks today on the economy at Georgetown University, Obama will be addressing a national audience still more than willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Continue reading at Political Browser »

By Ben Pershing  |  April 14, 2009; 8:30 AM ET
Categories:  The Rundown  
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Next: Obama Refocuses on the Economy


Good for business, remember, 9 millions of Cubans that are not drinking Coca-cola or eating MacDonald’s!

Posted by: paz_06 | April 15, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse






Posted by: scrivener50 | April 14, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

President Obama's move to ease the travel sanctions against Cuba was not only a great humanitarian approach to an issue that has been around before I was born but an excellent move to revive the our economy.

In a State with such a large population of Cuban Americans, including myself, it is a fact that not having limitations on what to send to the island will encourage individuals to purchase articles such as clothing, personal hygiene and food, currently sitting on shelves, to send to their relatives in Cuba which in term will benefit the local economy.

The U.S. politic towards Cuba has not been effective to dismantle the island's communist government; instead, it has divide families and makes people in Cuba suffer the lack of "everything". Is it fair to put politics before family? Is it fair to make civilians not having basic needs while government officials live on mansions? Is it fair to spend millions of dollars on TV and radio signals that people in Cuba can't see? Is it right to spend millions on maintaining an embargo that keep Cubans from receiving quality medical attention just to mention one something? In my opinion we should use those resources to rebuilt our economy and reach to the world in an effort to improve our international image so deteriorated by 8 years of poor judgment and endless war!

Posted by: DCamposRN | April 14, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Communism Cuban style, unlike the bastardized hybrid China exports, has never been a serious threat to America.
Castro has lasted because we have never given the island a viable alternative to his rule.
Capitalism works it's wonders by appealing to the greed in men. We have yet to perfect that in Cuba. This time we can try it without organized crime as the government.
If we don't, Cuba can always look to Venezuela or China for inspiration.

Posted by: seemstome | April 14, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

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