The U.S and Cuba meet to discuss a new era

Mohammad Hakim, News Reporter

Earlier this month President Obama held a historic formal meeting with the Cuban President, which was the first between US and Cuban leaders in over half a century, in an attempt to build better relationships between the two countries.
Obama and Castro met for about an hour, with Obama telling reporters before the meeting that, after 50 years of unchanged policy, it was time to try something new and to engage with both Cuba’s government and its people.
Obama thanked Castro for courtesy and hospitality that he has shown during our interactions and pledged to do whatever he could to make sure that the people of Cuba are able to prosper and live in freedom and security.
Although the two presidents did have some conflicting interests, Castro said he had told the Americans that Cuba was willing to discuss issues such as human rights and freedom of the press, pressing that everything would be open for discussion.
1958 marks the last time that the U.S. and Cuban leaders held a substantial and productive meeting. Dwight Eisenhower and Fulgencio Batista met that year, and the following year, former Cuban President Fidel Castro met with Richard Nixon, who was vice president at the time.
The diplomacy was aimed at regaining the momentum of their plans to restore normal relations between their countries.
The historic gathering played out on the sidelines of the Summit of the Americas, which this year included Cuba for the first time. Although the meeting wasn’t publicly announced in advance, White House aides had suggested the two leaders were looking for an opportunity to meet while in Panama and to discuss the ongoing efforts to open embassies in Havana and Washington, among other issues.
Obama had pledged earlier on Saturday not to bring up the issues that were at hand during the battles of the Cold War. Castro has decided to support Obama, and has forgiven the president of fault for the U.S. blockade over the last fifty years.
Although earlier in the week Obama suggested a decision to remove Cuba from the list was imminent, he refused to take that step Saturday, stating the need to go over a completed State Department review. Removal from the terror list is a top priority for Castro because it would not only restore Cuba’s pride, but also ease its ability to conduct simple financial transactions. Castro said Cuba should never have been on the list in the first place.
The U.S. long ago stopped accusing Cuba of conducting terrorism, and Obama has signaled that he’s ready to take Cuba off the list. Earlier in the week he suggested an announcement was imminent when he revealed that the State Department had completed its lengthy review of the designation.
This along with the previous releasing of the embargo will impact relation with Cuba significantly in the years to come. The U.S and Cuba are both looking towards to more diplomatic meetings such as this.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email