This is a huge move, yet history in the making at the same time.
Just yesterday, President Obama announced to the world that the United States will be reinstating full diplomatic relations for the first time in more than 50 years. In addition, the United States will also not only be moving forward with plans to opening an embassy in Havana, but Obama also plans to lift restrictions on any financial activities, as well as commerce and travel.
The plan to open an embassy in Cuba is just only after releasing Alan Gross, a contractor for U.S. Agency for International Development who was sentenced to five years in a Cuban prison after bringing computers and satellite equipment without a permit under Cuban law. Although President Raul Castro of Cuba and President Obama have been on the phone speaking for 18 months, the two have decided to put their differences aside to find a “new relationship between the United States and Cuba.”
This is a quote made via Global Grind:
In a deal negotiated during 18 months of secret talks hosted largely by Canada and encouraged by Pope Francis, who hosted a final meeting at the Vatican, Mr. Obama and President Raúl Castro of Cuba agreed in a telephone call to put aside decades of hostility to find a new relationship between the United States and the island nation just 90 miles off the American coast.
“We will end an outdated approach that for decades has failed to advance our interests and instead we will begin to normalize relations between our two countries,” Mr. Obama said in a nationally televised statement from the White House. The deal will “begin a new chapter among the nations of the Americas” and move beyond a “rigid policy that is rooted in events that took place before most of us were born.”
“In addition, the United States will ease restrictions on remittances, travel and banking relations, and Cuba will release 53 Cuban prisoners identified as political prisoners by the United States government.
The United States will begin working with Cuba on issues like counternarcotics, environmental protection and human trafficking.
The United States will also ease travel restrictions across all 12 categories currently envisioned under limited circumstances in American law, including family visits, official visits, journalistic, professional, educational and religious activities, and public performances, officials said. Ordinary tourism, however, will remain prohibited.
Mr. Obama will also allow greater banking ties, making it possible to use debit cards in Cuba, and raise the level of remittances allowed to be sent to Cuban nationals to $2,000 every three months from the current limit of $500. Intermediaries forwarding remittances will no longer require a specific license from the government.
American travelers will also be allowed to import up to $400 worth of goods from Cuba, including up to $100 in tobacco and alcohol products.”
This tweet was posted about the news of U.S. – Cuba relations:
Gross was also released in exchange for not only for three Cuban spies who have been in an American prison since 2001, but the exchange was actually for an American intelligence agent who was in prison in Cuba for 20 years. Although he was not part of the exchange, he was still released under “humanitarian grounds.”
But, not everyone was pleased about this decision. Senator and potential Presidential candidate for 2016 Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican and son of an immigrant, felt that the decision President Obama made was “another concession to a tyranny” how Obama’s administration is “willfully ignorant of the way the world truly works.”
This is a statement he made about the decision:
“This whole new policy is based on an illusion, on a lie, the lie and the illusion that more commerce and access to money and goods will translate to political freedom for the Cuban people. All this is going to do is give the Castro regime, which controls every aspect of Cuban life, the opportunity to manipulate these changes to stay in power.”
Here is a video of the press conference Obama did just recently about the U.S. and Cuba relations: