http://havanajournal.com/politics/entry/obama-fidel-fidel-obama-the-most-open-minded-presidential-candidate/

HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Politics

Obama, Fidel. Fidel, Obama - The most open minded Presidential candidate

Posted July 24, 2007 by publisher in Cuba Politics.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Obama, Edwards say they would meet with Castro, Chávez

BY BETH REINHARD | Miami Herald

Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama and John Edwards suggested Monday that they would meet with two leaders who top South Florida’s most-hated list: Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez.

During a nationally televised debate, Obama responded to a hypothetical question: ``Would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?

The senator from Illinois responded: ``I would, and the reason is this: the notion that somehow not talking to countries is somehow punishing them, which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration, is ridiculous.’‘

``Ronald Reagan and Democratic presidents like JFK constantly spoke to the Soviet Union at a time when Ronald Reagan called them an evil empire, and the reason is because they understood that we may not trust them, that they may pose an extraordinary danger to this country, but we have the obligation to find areas where we can potentially move forward.’‘

He added: ``And I think it is a disgrace that we have not spoken to them.’‘

The Democratic frontrunner, Hillary Clinton, disagreed with her leading rival: ``I will not promise to meet with the leaders of these countries during my first year. . .I don’t want to be used for propaganda purposes and don’t want to make a situation even worse, but I certainly agree that we need to get back to diplomacy, which has been turned into a bad word by this administration.’‘

The question was then posed to Edwards, who said, ``Yes, I think Senator Clinton is right, though. Before that meeting takes place, we need to do the work, the diplomacy to make sure the meeting is not going to be used for propaganda purposes.’‘

Edwards’ campaign has previously decried Chávez’s repressive policies. Edwards has campaigned with actor Danny Glover, who has embraced the Venezuelan president.

In 2000, Edwards was quoted as saying: ``I support sanctions that target Fidel Castro’s regime but help the innocent Cuban people, allowing trade for food and medical supplies that help ease the horrible burdens they suffer.’‘

Obama also opposes ending the embargo, campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki said after the debate.

‘‘He is willing to talk to the highest levels of the Cuba government if it advances our national interests,’’ she said in an e-mail.

Member Comments

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On July 24, 2007, publisher wrote:

Let me start by saying that I am a Republican (not a George Bush or McCain Republican, maybe more of a Guiliani or Romney Republican) and I certainly DO NOT LIKE Hillary Clinton but Obama appears to make a lot of sense.

I saw him on Letterman and other shows and have seen and read the usual news reports.

He has rarely said anything that makes me cringe (which I expect when I listen to Democrats especially Hillary).

Now his openmindedness about meeting with foreign “enemies” is a good thing. Let’s see if there is a common ground, negotiate hard for issues that are important to us then pry the door open.

Once our capitalist democracy has it’s foot in the door so to speak, I think many of these countries may loosen up a little.

Since the 45+ year failed Plan A Embargo of isolation has not worked, can we PLEASE try Plan B. Obama is the only Presidential candidate NOT kissing the ass of the minority of old Cuban exiles trying to get their money and support.

Good for you Senator. You just might get this Republican’s vote.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On July 24, 2007, abh wrote:

It really shows the continued power of the right-wing Cuban Americans that none of these folks proposes dropping the Embargo.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On July 24, 2007, Mako wrote:

What a novel idea!!! TALKING… TO TRY TO RESOLVE DIFFERENCES ???  What kind of fringe,lunatic is this guy??
TALKING… TO TRY TO RESOLVE DIFFERENCES !!? This sounds very dangerous   :- )

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On July 26, 2007, bernie wrote:

Clintons position reminds of the time Clinton went to the upper part of the state of New York to an Indian reservation to give a speech to the Indians.
  After Clinton was thru talking the Chief of the tribe, bestowed on Clinton
the indian name “walking eagle” after Clinton left one of the young brave came up to the Chief and asked him what was the meaning of the Indian name he gave to Clinton, the Chief replied “walking eagle” means its so full of sh -t it can’t fly.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On July 26, 2007, publisher wrote:

GREAT story. She is the candidate that is most scary to me. How Hilary and Barack are in the same party amaze me. If the Democrats pick Hilary over Barack they will lose big in 2008. She will destroy the reputation and credibility of the party where Barack can restore it and pump some pride and life into the party.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On July 26, 2007, Cuban American wrote:

I definately agree with you Mr. Publisher, I too am a republican and I find Barack to be a very interesting candidate who happens to be one of my favorites among all the candidates.  I too cringe when Hilary mearly opens her mouth and it frightens me that she leads the poles for the democrats because if she were to take the office seat I would fear what could happen to this great nation.  I hope that the nation being in 2008 soon, is able to see past the racial backround of Obama because I feel that unfortunately racism is still out there and is the only thing that could really hurt his chances.  I also think that the fact that he is young and hasn’t had the years and years of experience is a plus because he has yet to be severly corrupted by years in office.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On July 26, 2007, publisher wrote:

Well put.

I think the nation can see past “racial background” of Obama (if you want to call it that) because he is not playing the “race card”.

He is talking about new ideas and not about black and white. I think he is getting heat from some for not being “black enough”.

I think he is capable of keeping race out of the campaign so people actually judge him on the issues. That’s what caught my eye so far.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On August 19, 2007, normal wrote:

Long-shot democratic candidate Sen. Chris Dodd’s recent (aug 15) statement (finally!) owning-up to a long record of anti-embargo leadership on in the senate by cosponsoring the current legislation that would end the travel ban to Cuba should held shake things up a big more.  Obama had already cosponsored, so again one step ahead of the pack.  Views on Cuba should be viewed as a litmus test of political courage and vision—obviously in short supply these days but what the nation is dying for…  Though Dodd won’t be president, he would be a strong contender for a key leadership position in state, either as Secretary or Western Hemisphere head under any of the real contenders.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On August 19, 2007, publisher wrote:

We posted the news release of his support here Chris Dodd supports S.721 -Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2007.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On September 02, 2007, ndjm wrote:

The majority of you people write about talking to the leaders of these nations.
Did you forget who these people are? They are not the leaders of these countries, they are the oppressive dictators who only care to keep themselves in power. And they are not about to lose any power.
Lets see, all these people we should be talking to live in palaces, they all have oppressed their people and they are lacking nothing because they take what they want. And of course they are Crazy. and you think you can talk sense to them.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On September 03, 2007, publisher wrote:

We may not be able to talk sense to them but we can put pressure on them and offer them aid in exchange for releasing political prisoners etc.

If the 45+ year old failed Plan A Embargo has not worked, you have to ask yourself why Cuban Americans support it.