June 4th, 2009
08:03 AM ET

Caving in to Cuba – or killing a Cold War relic?

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Jill Dougherty
CNN Foreign Affairs Editor

Forty-seven years after Cuba was suspended from the Organization of American States, the 34-member organization has decided to revoke that decision and allow Cuba to rejoin.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who represented the United States at the meeting, called the decision a “consensus that focuses on the future instead of the past.”

The move by the OAS to lift the Cold-War-era suspension does not mean that Cuba immediately regains its seat; it can return to the OAS if the OAS decides that the island nation’s participation is in line with the purposes and principles of the organization, especially in its protection of democracy and human rights. Secretary Clinton said Cuba’s rejoining the OAS was “down the road – if it ever chooses to seek reentry.”


Filed under: Cuba • Fidel Castro • Hillary Clinton • Jill Dougherty
April 13th, 2009
10:58 AM ET

Toward a new Cuba policy

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Maria Werlau
The Wall Street Journal

The ascendancy of Raúl Castro to Cuba's presidency has fueled expectations of reform in the 50-year-old dictatorship. Next week, President Barack Obama will be pressed on the issue at the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad-Tobago.

It is a good time to acknowledge that neither the U.S. embargo nor engagement by the rest of the world have helped Cubans attain their rights. Sanctions, though ethically justified, can't work unilaterally; treating Cuba as a normal partner is immoral and counterproductive. A new unified approach is needed.

Just as the oppressed people of South Africa, Chile, and other tyrannies received international support, finding an effective approach to the Cuba problem is a shared duty. It is also in everyone's interest. A democratic, stable and prosperous Cuba would cease threatening the security of the region, slow the flow of Cuban refugees and provide better trade and business opportunities.

If the U.S. president understands totalitarianism better than his hemispheric counterparts, he will remind them that at the Ibero-American Summit in 1996 Fidel Castro signed the Viña del Mar Declaration pledging to support democratic pluralism. He has consistently ignored all such international agreements. Now Trinidad summiteers should jointly call Cuba's bluff.


August 1st, 2008
08:25 AM ET

Fidel Castro – 21st Century Man

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Shasta Darlington
CNN Producer/Correspondent

It was two years ago exactly. A Cuban TV anchor announced there would shortly be a message from Fidel Castro. I canceled dinner plans and waited. Then the bomb fell.

Castro’s personal secretary read a proclamation from the Commander-in-Chief announcing he had temporarily handed power to his younger brother to undergo emergency surgery.

We later learned the operation had already taken place and it was successful. We also learned that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of reservists had been confined to their barracks.

But instead of invasions or uprisings, Cubans have seen a virtually seamless transition to Raul Castro. FULL POST

February 19th, 2008
05:07 PM ET

Castro's health – what we know and what we don't know

I have blogged about Fidel Castro in the past, most recently about his illness in July of 2006. Reporting on leaders like Castro is difficult because of the extraordinary lack of information coming from Cuba. Reporting on Castro's health took the combined efforts of our Havana bureau and Madrid bureau, including an interview with at least one doctor who examined Castro. In the end, CNN viewers probably knew more about Castro's health than the residents of Cuba. (Watch Video)


We now know Castro had at least three operations in the summer of 2006. He had diverticulitis, an inflammation of the large intestine, and that had caused bleeding in his abdominal cavity. After his first operation to remove the bleeding portion of his large intestine, he required a second operation because of complications from the first. A third operation was also required to reconstruct his intestine and open up his bile duct. Big operations for anyone – especially an 80-year-old.

He survived all of that, and there was no confirmation of cancer, which was widely initially reported. Today he resigns and his brother Raul will take over. Raul is 76, and by reports in good health. But who really knows? Reagan was 77 when he left office, the United States oldest president.

When I last blogged about it, we posted hundreds of comments. Many thought the personal health of someone, no matter how public a figure, should remain private. Others thought public citizens have the right to know about their leaders. What do you think? Does it make a difference if we can bring you such specific details about the health of Fidel Castro or his brother Raul?

-Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Chief Medical Correspondent

Editor's Note: Medical news is a popular but sensitive subject rooted in science. We receive many comments on this blog each day; not all are posted. Our hope is that much will be learned from the sharing of useful information and personal experiences based on the medical and health topics of the blog. We encourage you to focus your comments on those medical and health topics and we appreciate your input. Thank you for your participation.

Filed under: Dr. Sanjay Gupta • Fidel Castro
February 19th, 2008
04:34 PM ET

In Cuba, even the sunset may be government-controlled

Several weeks after Fidel Castro fell ill in 2006, I visited to Cuba to report on the summit of non-aligned nations taking place there.


This was an important meeting for Cuba. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iraq was there. So was Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. As was Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, and other leaders.

This would be a time for Fidel Castro to triumphantly get out of the hospital, show up at the summit, and make a rousing speech. But it didn't happen.

The Cuban government and people like Chavez vowed he was getting better and he'd be back to his old self soon. Didn't happen.

We went into the Cuban countryside to talk with ordinary Cubans. Many loved Castro; others didn't, but nearly all, after nearly a half century,  couldn't imagine their country without him, and figured he would be back as visible as ever soon.

Well, Castro hasn't been seen out in public since he went to the hospital. And now with his announcement that he is giving up power, many people, particularly Cuban exiles in the U.S. are hoping real change is in the air. 


Filed under: Fidel Castro • Gary Tuchman