Wednesday, February 17, 2016
President Obama to Visit Cuba
President Barack Obama is planning on traveling to Cuba sometime in late March. This trip will theoretically precede Obama's trip to Argentina and plans on being scheduled before Good Friday and Easter Sunday, two important Latin American holidays. Tomorrow, Thursday, the administration will announce a more finalized version of the president's Latin American travels (Washington Post).
In 2014, Cuba and the U.S. started a reconciliation of relations. Then, last summer, diplomatic ties were formally reestablished (Washington Post). Additionally, the U.S.'s embassy in Havana, Cuba, was reopened, as well as the restoration of air traffic in and out of Cuba to the U.S. (ABC), which was once banned.
Obama would be the first sitting president since Coolidge in 1928 to visit Cuba (NBC). This makes Obama's visit somewhat historic, especially to American-Cuban relations.
Obama makes clear that his visit to Cuba is an attempt to reach out to all Cubans, not just President Castro himself (Washington Post). Obama wants to impress upon Cubans the ideas of moving forward and expanding their country's means of free expression.
Some people believe this visit is a mistake, as it could only reaffirm Cuban leaders' repressive actions. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Republican from Florida and a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, happens to agree with this notion (Washington Post).
1. Given my last statement, do you believe Obama's trip to Cuba will do more harm than good?
2. Are there other ways to go about promoting free expression in Cuba that are less outright than a face-to-face visit by the sitting American president?