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Posted May 26, 2008 by publisher in Cuban American Politics

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By Michael Voss | BBC News

Mr Obama said he would lift restrictions on family travel and remittances. The Ladies in White have come out publicly to support the call by the US presidential hopeful, Barack Obama, for direct talks with the new Cuban President, Raul Castro.

In an open letter to Mr Obama they wrote of their hope that his policies may help free their husbands and sons.

Mr Obama told Cuban exiles in Miami on Friday that America needed to talk to its enemies as well as its friends.

Mr Obama also said that - if elected in November - he would lift President George Bush’s restrictions on family travel and remittances to Cuba but maintain the US trade embargo.

Applauded

The position of both Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican hopeful John McCain is that any change in policy would only benefit Cuba’s communist leaders.

The founder of Ladies in White, Miriam Leiva, and her recently freed dissident husband, Oscar Chepe, also wrote an open letter to Barak Obama.

They applauded his offer to allow Cuban Americans to freely visit relatives here.

They also wrote that a more creative policy could help the transition towards democracy and that the current confrontation is used by the authorities in Havana to justify their repression.

The Cuban government denies that there are any political prisoners on the island, calling them all mercenaries in the pay of the United States.

  1. Follow up post #1 added on May 26, 2008 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Obama defends stance on Cuba talks

    Countering criticism from Republican John McCain that he is naive on foreign policy, Democratic front-runner Barack Obama sought to toughen his position on meeting with US foes.

    Obama’s speech yesterday to the Cuban American National Foundation outlining his conditions for meeting Cuban leader Raul Castro in a delicate pitch aimed at winning over an important voting bloc in the November presidential elections.

    Obama’s speech to the Cuban group came three days after McCain ridiculed him in Florida for saying he would meet with Castro.

    Obama said he would meet with Castro only at a time and place of his choosing and when there is “an opportunity to advance the interests of the US and to advance the cause of freedom for the Cuban people.”

    He said he would maintain the existing trade embargo to use as leverage for winning democratic change. But he said he would lift restrictions on family travel and remittances to the island.



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  2. Follow up post #2 added on May 26, 2008 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Interesting.

    He says he’ll maintain the TRADE embargo but ease the Cuban American family travel restrictions. Perhaps he’ll further ease the TRAVEL embargo but he’s not saying that just yet.

    I think President Obama would ease the travel embargo and let Americans travel to Cuba, perhaps sending them on a “mission” to spread democracy.

    Sounds like a good Plan B to me.



    Cuba consulting services

  3. Follow up post #3 added on May 26, 2008 by manfredz with 464 total posts

    first of all, I hadn’t expected 50 years of Cuban policy change to switch overnight - but it’ll happen step by step. And this could be a first step.
    However from my perspective, he’s making a mistake Bush has made - set pre-conditions that should be the food of discussion so what is there really to talk about. Usually doesnt get you very far if you have to give in first.
    An unconditonal meeting would be nice to see if they do have anything to talk about. And US foreign policy can then be changed (or not changed) based on the outcome. Long as the ground rules aren’t (or perceived as), “We, the US, will do xxxxxxx if you do yyyyyyy”.  That would seem too much like the US one again trying to run Cuba.


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