Obama to start winding down Cuban embargo at Summit of the Americas


Brazil’s President signed agreement to explore for oil in Cuba’s offshore waters
Daylife/Reuters Pictures

The White House has moved to ease some travel and trade restrictions as a cautious first step towards better ties with Havana, raising hopes of an eventual lifting of the four-decade-old economic embargo. Several Bush-era controls are expected to be relaxed in the run-up to next month’s Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago to gild the president’s regional debut and signal a new era of “Yankee” cooperation…

The effect on ordinary Cubans will be fairly significant. It will improve things and be very welcome,” said a western diplomat in Havana. The changes would reverse hardline Bush policies but not fundamentally alter relations between the superpower and the island, he added. “It just takes us back to the 1990s.”

Bush wanted to take us back to the 1940’s. As did Kennedy.


“There is a strong likelihood that Obama will announce policy changes prior to the summit,” said Daniel Erikson, director of Caribbean programmes at the Inter-American Dialogue and author of The Cuba Wars. “Loosening travel restrictions would be the easy thing to do and defuse tensions at the summit…”

Wayne Smith at the Centre for International Policy, Washington DC, said: “I think that the Obama administration will go ahead and lift restrictions on travel of Cuban Americans and remittance to their families. He may also lift restrictions on academic travel.

“There are some things that could be done very easily – for example it’s about time we took Cuba off the terrorist list. It’s the beginning of the end of the policies we have had towards Cuba for 50 years. It’s achieved nothing, it’s an embarrassment.”

Wayne Smith, a former head of the US Interest Section in Havana, famously said Cuba had the same effect on American administrations as the full moon had on werewolves…

Recognising Castro continuity, and aghast at European and Asian competitors getting a free hand, US corporate interests are impatient to do business with Cuba. Oil companies want to drill offshore, farmers to export more rice, vegetables and meat, construction firms to build infrastructure projects.

When an imperial nation is afraid to trade with a small island nation the whole world recognizes the political reality. Ideology is in charge of commerce. Foolhardy and fatuous.

One thought on “Obama to start winding down Cuban embargo at Summit of the Americas

  1. rheamungal says:

    “When an imperial nation is afraid to trade with a small island nation the whole world recognizes the political reality. Ideology is in charge of commerce. Foolhardy and fatuous”.

    This really sums it up! One of the best articles I have read in recent times. Please keep blogging.

    Rhea Mungal
    Trinidad and Tobago

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