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Cuba 2012


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It’s Friday, November 22, 1963. Breaking news…the 35th President of the United States, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated at 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time in Dealey Plaza, Dallas Texas. President Kennedy was fatally shot while traveling with his wife Jacqueline, Texas governor John Connally, and the latter's wife Nellie, in a Presidential motorcade. A few point the finger at Fidel Castro, but many more point to the dangerous milieu of militant Cuban exiles, organized crime figures, and hardliners in the CIA frustrated over Kennedy's failure to get rid of Castro. These three groups were all involved together in plots to kill Fidel Castro. Did they turn their guns on Kennedy? The world will never know, but one thing that we know is…
The world has changed since the early days of 1962, but one thing has remained constant from the cold war: The United States’ economic embargo on Cuba, a near-total trade ban that turned 50 years old in January 2012.
Most supporters say it is a justified measure against a repressive Communist government that has never stopped being a thorn in Washington’s side. Critics call it a failed policy that has hurt ordinary Cubans instead of the government.
All acknowledge that it has not accomplished its core mission of toppling Fidel Castro or his brother and successor, Raúl.
Although his predecessor, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, had imposed trade restrictions Mr. Kennedy announced the total embargo on Feb. 3, 1962, citing “the subversive offensive of Sino-Soviet Communism with which the government of Cuba is publicly aligned Although his predecessor, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, had imposed trade restrictions Mr. Kennedy announced the total embargo on Feb. 3, 1962, citing “the subversive offensive of Sino-Soviet Communism with which the government of Cuba is publicly aligned.”
It went into effect four days later at the height of the cold war, a year removed from the failed C.I.A.-backed Bay of Pigs invasion meant to oust Communism from Cuba and eight months before the Soviet attempts to put nuclear missiles on the island brought the two superpowers to the brink of war.
Supporters of the policy acknowledge that many American strategic concerns from the 1960s are now in the past, such as curbing Soviet influence and keeping Fidel Castro from exporting revolution throughout Latin America. However, they say that other justifications remain, such as the confiscation of United States property in Cuba and the need to press for greater freedoms on the island.
“We have a hemispheric commitment to freedom and democracy and respect for human rights,” said José Cárdenas, a former National Security Council staff member on Cuba under President George W. Bush. “I still think that those are worthy aspirations.”
In a change of policy, President Barack Obama brings an end to travel and finance bans since 1959. This has eased America's long-standing embargo on Cuba, allowing many Americans to travel there for the first time and increasing the amounts that they can invest in the island.
Other changes announced by the president will allow all US international airports to accept flights to and from Cuba; at present, chartered flights are restricted to Miami and a handful of other airports. The moves represent an important step to rapprochement between the US and Cuba.
Relations, though still tentative, have improved since Castro gave up the leadership in favour of his brother Raul, the accession of Obama to the presidency, and the release of some political prisoners in Cuba.
In a lengthy press release yesterday evening, the White House said: "President Obama has directed the secretaries of state, treasury and homeland security to take a series of steps to continue efforts to reach out to the Cuban people in support of their desire to freely determine their country's future."
It added: "The president has directed that changes be made to regulations and policies governing: purposeful travel; non-family remittances; and US airports supporting licensed charter flights to and from Cuba. These measures will increase people-to-people contact; support civil society in Cuba; enhance the free flow of information to, from, and among the Cuban people; and help promote their independence from Cuban authorities."
The changes reverse stricter measures imposed by George Bush, who courted the anti-Castro Cuban-American vote in Florida in 2000 and again in 2004, and come on top of those Obama made in 2009 that helped reunite divided Cuban families, improved communication between the countries and helped humanitarian aid to the island.
President Obama, by presidential order made this move, which can’t be blocked by Congress. Only Congress can lift the embargo.
Americans will be allowed to send up to $500 to support private economic and other activities, though not any involving the Cuban Communist party or its members.
On airports, the White House said; "To better serve those who seek to visit family in Cuba and engage in other licensed purposeful travel, the president has directed that regulations governing the eligibility of US airports to serve as points of embarkation and return for licensed flights to Cuba be modified." All US international airports can apply to service flights to and from Cuba.
Sarah Stephens, of the Centre for Democracy in the Americas, welcomed the changes: "At a time when Cubans are changing their system in fundamental ways, it is a good idea to have greater engagement, more Americans traveling to Cuba, and more opportunities to learn from each other as everyday Cubans reshape their lives and their country.
"The president is to be commended for taking this step to improve our policy and, ideally, to move forward on reforming US-Cuba relations."
There are no diplomatic approach (relations) between Iran and the United States. Whereas with Cuba, President Obama that with people-to-people contact; support civil society in Cuba; enhance the free flow of information to, from, and among the Cuban people; and help promote their independence from Cuban authorities." Iran need for Nuclear weapons, “Axis of evil” speech, and Iran fears of attack by the U.S. Has made diplomatic approaches chances, slim to none,
The United States has gone from a fear policy to a diplomatic approach in trying to find common ground with countries it has policy disagreement.

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