A New Era for Cuba (Blog Entry 2)

Posted at 4:45 AM, Mar 21, 2016

No matter what your opinion is about the U.S. establishing relations with Cuba, there’s one thing that is certain, after more than 50 years, there will be change on the island. What kind of change is perhaps the million dollar question.

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President Barack Obama’s visit to the island Sunday marks the first time a U.S. President has visited Cuba in 90 years. President Calvin Coolidge was the last U.S. President to visit Cuba in 1928.

President Obama has plans to meet with the Cuban people. He will address the entire island Tuesday morning when his speech is broadcasted. He will be speaking at El Gran Teatro de La Habana Alicia Alonso located in the Paseo Del Prado.

Members of the White House staff say those who will be present will be invited guests such as students, young people who have had exchanges with the U.S., among other groups. The speech will be the first time an American President has talked directly to the Cuban people, on Cuban soil, in nine decades.

The White House staff says President Obama has not received any resistance from the Cuban government so far. He even has plans to meet with dissidents. Whether or not the Cuban government will prevent certain people from reaching the president is a different story.

This is an incredible moment for the Cuban people. To listen directly to a president who is expected to discuss human rights issues. One thing the White House staff has made clear, is that the president will tell the Cuban people that the U.S. has no power over them, that they have the power to create change.

This is something that has fueled fire in so many Cuban Americans now living in the U.S. Many of them who either fled Cuba because of the Castro regime, or are the children, grandchildren of those who did.

They will argue that the embargo was placed to pressure the Cuban government to give the Cuban people more freedom, allow for free elections, offer equal human rights to all even those who disagree with government, among other things.

But that never happened, so why lift the embargo when we get nothing in return? The things we asked for, what we wanted to see for the Cuban people is not happening, and we are basically surrendering to the Castros.

The issue is the embargo hasn’t changed anything for the Cuban people. If anything it has worsened the situation because they have limited resources. I see both sides. I think the Cuban people are excited about what this relationship with the United States.

They have hope. President Obama will not meet with Fidel, he will meet with Raul Castro, the current President of the country.

The White House staff says this trip is supposed to be an effort to accelerate relations and make them irreversible.  It’s no secret there’s a change in leadership coming to America in 2017 and many candidates have been vocal about their disapproval of Obama lifting sanctions with Cuba without seeing better negotiations, better results. This trip though, is setting a tone. Things that have not happened in the lifetime of the majority of Cubans now living in the island are happening.

It’s interesting to hear the opinions of Cubans still on the island over this. I have not heard one say don’t lift the embargo. I’m sure they’re out there, but the majority say they want to see something different than they’ve seen their whole lives. 55 years is a long time.

Cubans gathered at Jose Marti International Airport to see Air Force One arrive. They cheered and recorded video of President Obama's motorcade driving through. It’s a new era. What it will bring is to be seen.