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April 14th, 2009
12:07 PM ET

New Cuba rules send important signal

The Miami Herald

Considering the hoopla that preceded it, President Barack Obama's decision to relax the rules governing travel and cash transfers to Cuba might seem to some like a daring new policy initiatIve - but it isn't. Mr. Obama is making a marginal change in U.S. policy to signal that he is open to fundamental revision, but only if the Cuban government reciprocates - and that has always been the real stumbling block.

Policy reverts

Mr. Obama's action is a commendable step, to be sure, but it needs to be put in perspective. In removing travel and gift restrictions for Cuban Americans, the president is reverting to rules that prevailed before a change imposed by President Bill Clinton. That came after the Cuban Air Force, in a cowardly act, shot down two unarmed Brothers to the Rescue planes in 1996, killing four innocent men. President George W. Bush tightened the restrictions after Fidel Castro cracked down on dissidents in 2003, sending scores into prisons where most still remain.

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Filed under: Cuba • Global 360° • President Barack Obama
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Annie Kate

    Maybe given the increasing age of the Castro brothers and the declining health of Fidel Castro, Obama is looking forward to a day when the Castro's are not in power any longer. If he has taken this first step towards softening the US stance on Cuba, perhaps the next leaders of Cuba will be more inclined to meet us halfway.

    April 14, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  2. Mike Syracuse, NY

    Unfortunately Obama is rapidly former a track record of sending 'signals' that are ignored by the other side:

    He tells Congress no more earmarks, they pass a spending bill with 4000 of them, and he signs it.

    He tells North Korea that launching the missile will have serious consequences, they do it, and there are no consequences.

    He says the cost of the war will be in the basic budget, then proposes a war supplemental just like the ones he criticized Bush for.

    He makes a big show of bipartisanship, then let's the most partisan people in Washington, Pelosi and Reid, write the stimulus bill.

    He goes to Europe on his grand apology tour, only to come away with a mere 5,000 non-combat troops for Iraq and no major European stimulus actions.

    He cozies up to Russia and China, only to have neither one support a UN reslution condemning North Korea.

    Now he relaxes Cuba travel restrcitions in the hope Cuba will change it's ways on civil rights, only to have castro complain that he should have done more. What do you wanna bet Obama will propose more concessions without any Cuban change in their civil rights position?

    April 14, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  3. johnO

    Why don't you TAX Pot, cocaine, and heroin, talk about causing Health problems... anyone gets caught with any of the above have them taxed BIG time...

    April 14, 2009 at 1:20 pm |
  4. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Dear Stan: And so should the individuals who consume alcohol-they kill more people than those who smoke--ever got a ticket for driving under the influence of nicotine?

    April 14, 2009 at 12:57 pm |
  5. Stan

    Health Cost: If the people that Smoke and put a strain on the Health care due to their Medical problems, would stop smoking it would help to lower our cost greately. If not maybe we should put a $5.00 tax on a pack of Cigaretts, ues $5.00, it will stop a lot of our youth from even starting Smoking in the first place. The ones that still continue to smoke, well they can help get our deficit down. Smokers, cause a lot of our Health care problems. The people that grow tabacco, should cut it down and grow something that will help, like food!! It's a no braner, if your not part of the solution the your part of the problem.

    April 14, 2009 at 12:24 pm |