Now it's Cuba's turn

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Barack Obama has taken the first step. But it takes two to tango.

Raul Castro needs to take to the dance floor too.

Obama announced this week he is unilaterally going to allow annual travel to Cuba for Cuban-Americans (rather than every three years); allow them to send more money to relatives on the island; allow U.S. telecommunications firms to link up with Cuba; and allow more humanitarian aid.

It's a deft move by the president, in that it erodes the U.S. embargo on Cuba without eliminating it, while putting pressure on Cuba to do its part.

While other Latin American leaders are expected to press Obama to end the embargo altogether, Obama knows better. He needs to give Cuban leader Raul Castro time to reciprocate.

This cannot be allowed to be a unilateral end to the embargo. The United States cannot be seen as admitting a near-50-year error -- because it was not. The Castro brothers have been the chief obstacle to normalized relations between the U.S. and Cuba. Instead, they've chosen over the years to use the United States as a rallying cry to remain in power, and to cozy up to the Soviet Union and other Marxist nations, all the while impoverishing their people.

That is completely the Castro brothers' doing, their fault, their choice.

President Obama has skillfully chosen some pretty harmless but genuine gestures in order to get the two countries moving toward normalization. But he needs to be willing to draw a line and go no further until Raul Castro returns the gestures.

Raul Castro "will have to implement measures to address human rights issues in Cuba, particularly the release of persons detained for their political views or actions," writes former Caribbean diplomat Sir Ronald Sanders. "Raul Castro could strengthen Obama's hand by showing willingness to address the human rights issues that do require attention and are an obstacle to progress."

Political prisoners in Cuba are counting on Obama to extract minimal democratic reforms, at least, as a condition of normalized relations.

Nor can the Obama administration turn a blind eye to the long history of human rights violations under Fidel Castro.

A defiant and ungrateful Fidel said Obama's gestures were wholly inadequate, and that Cuba "will never extend its hands to beg."

That's never been the price of ending the embargo. Freedom for political prisoners, fair elections and justice have been.

That they have not materialized in the past 50 years is one man's fault, and he smokes Cuban cigars under his revolutionary hat.

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patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 04/16/09 - 02:36 am
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Expect Obama to make many

Expect Obama to make many gestures toward Cuba and Venezuela. They're the two closest countries ruled by "his kind of people". This harmless gesture is just a sign of Obama's "ruler envy". Stand by for more "gestures". Drip, drip, drip

GGpap
491
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GGpap 04/16/09 - 02:56 am
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ACES, WOW! Two well writtten

ACES, WOW! Two well writtten editorial opinions in a row: (A Horrible Law) and now this one! Good job! And PT, "ruler envy," ROFLMAO! GGpap

lifelongresidient
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lifelongresidient 04/16/09 - 08:18 am
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then if cuba is such a

then if cuba is such a horrible place because it is a communist regeme, then why do we have normal relations with communist soviet union/russa/ussr and china? can someone explain to me the difference between communist china, ussr/russia/soviet union and cuba? please don't say it's how they treated their citizens can you all remember the soviet gulags in siberia and how china treats its political prisoners. the only reason there is a continued cuba embargo is castro had the "nerve" to stand up to america since the early 60's...if you recall it was the soviet union who wanted to put nuclear missles on cuban soil, but yet we still had normal trading relations with them, it was china who imprisoned their dissidents and forced the student who stood in front of the tank to flee for his life(he now lives in the united states) but we now are willing to freely engage in trade w/them to the point of most of our imports are now from china...so someone please explain the logic behind the embargo, i am not a communist/socialist just a realist, china/russia pose more of a threat and danger to this country than cuba..perfect case in point china is massively building up it's military, cuba isn't

southernguy08
499
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southernguy08 04/16/09 - 09:20 am
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Sure, RETIRED, and while
Unpublished

Sure, RETIRED, and while we're at it, let's invite old Kim Jung Il over for coffee and doughnuts, and don't forget the Iranians. So what if they've vowed to destroy us? That's just a little beer talk, right?

elliottness
2
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elliottness 04/16/09 - 11:56 am
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jisomjr, the us is still

jisomjr, the us is still [filtered word] at castro because back in 59 when he kicked batista out, he also kicked out the usual greedy americans who had set up shop there.they were making a killing,and he took their sh,,! and they still haven't gotten over it.they've tried to assassinate him many times and even tried to enlist (who else the pillars of america! the mafia!) the cia has failed and thus given up trying so i guess 50 years later we'll try something else.remember jisomjr, we are the united states of utopia, we don't have impovershed people, we all live in mansions,we stand up for human rights but have asassination squads in the cia who kill anyone they like,we have no crime, no drug problems, no nothing according to the editors of this rag who would be the first to visit cuba when it happens.keep us laughing editors.

justus5
0
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justus5 04/16/09 - 12:25 pm
0
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Ever notice that all the cars

Ever notice that all the cars and houses from Cuba still look like they are from the 1950's? It's because they are, Communism impeded Cuba's progress and Castro's inability to compromise and provide basic services for his people drove them into the ground.

southernguy08
499
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southernguy08 04/16/09 - 02:31 pm
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ELLIOTT, can you tell me if
Unpublished

ELLIOTT, can you tell me if Castro was so justified in kicking the USA in the teeth when he took over, why did he live here for 10 years, and why did he accept millions in aid from us to overthrow that government in the first place? Seems like a long time to live in a country that is so terrible. Why is it that his sister and daughter live here in the terrible USA and call for him to step down? And, this rag as you call it, along with your right to be openly critical of the government, would not be allowed in Cuba, a nation you seem to idolize. But then, according to Obama, I'm just speaking as an "arrogant" American.

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