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December 19, 2014

Cuba Policy Changes Mark a Momentous First Step

As a historian of Cuba, as a Cuban-American, as an American citizen, I applaud President Obama's change of course on Cuba. Surprisingly, so do my 93 and 88-year old Republican parents in Miami. To say that they love neither Raúl Castro nor Barack Obama is an understatement. Yet, they were swayed by Obama's plain statement of fact: isolation has failed, and after more than 50 years we cannot reasonably expect it to produce a different result. They are weary, and yesterday they felt a stirring, a faint hope that finally something might move. What exactly will change of course remains to be seen. There is loud (and expected) opposition in some quarters, and questions are sure to arise about the relationship between the new policies and the requirements for diplomatic recognition spelled out in the Helms-Burton law of 1996. At the same time, however, there is bipartisan support for a new approach.

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