President Obama’s decision on Wednesday, December 17 to normalize relations with Cuba by exchanging prisoners, expanding trade, travel and diplomacy is the right decision at the right time.
“We are making these changes because it’s the right thing to do,” President Obama said in making the announcement. He also said Americans are “cutting loose from the shackles” of policies towards Cuba that have failed.
After more than a year of discreet negotiations which included input from Pope Francis, the two nations agreed to chart a new course towards diplomacy. It is only fitting that President Obama has shown the foresight and grit to heed the pleas of the Pope and secure the freedom of Alan Gross, who was held captive in Cuba since December 2009, as well as a CIA operative who was held for 20 years, and in exchange return three Cuban captives that the US had in custody.
The cold war that has existed between the USA and Cuba began in the 1960s when the USA government tried on several occasions to assassinate former Cuban President Fidel Castro, including the Bay of Pigs debacle. The US government refused to acknowledge Castro as Cuba’s rightful leader because of his militant, revolutionary comportment. Castro surged to power as Cuba’s leader in January 1959 and has outlived all of the US leaders who plotted and tried to ensure his demise.
Immigrants from the Caribbean who are naturalized Americans know first hand how valuable Cubans are in providing the services of their doctors to developing countries so that people who are poor can have excellent medical care. Jamaica, for one, has long enjoyed a proud and rich relationship with Cuba, and when Fidel Castro walked into the funeral for beloved late Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley, pandemonium erupted with people struggling to contain their excitement.
Raul Castro, who has been running Cuba since his brother Fidel became ill several years ago, expressed his support for the new era in relations between the two nations.
“This decision of President Obama deserves the respect and acknowledgement of our people. We have to learn the art of living together with our differences in a different way,” he said.
The decision to open an American embassy on Cuban shores for the first time in decades while opening up trade, travel and talks towards forging a strong relationship between two strong nations shows the courage, independence and brilliance of President Obama, who refuses to be shackled by a divisively destructive Congress who resent his mere existence.
When the Ebola scare was eliciting hysteria among Americans, hundreds of Cuban doctors were busily treating West Africans, rendering the selfless, excellent bedside manner for which they are well-known to their neighboring countries. It is time for the American people to shake off the remnants of obsolete thinking and embrace diplomacy as a broad, encompassing and mutually beneficial alliance that fosters the free and easy cultural exchange that is vital to a culturally competent society. President Obama, in taking this first step, again defies his detractors and moves boldly towards practical solutions to seemingly intractable problems.–OnPointPress.net.