Obama to Congress: “Lift the Cuba Embargo”

Barack Obama in his last State of the Union address of his presidency. Photo: voanews.com
Barack Obama in his last State of the Union address of his presidency. Photo: voanews.com

HAVANA TIMES — In his last State of the Union address today, US President Barack Obama asked Congress to lift the embargo on Cuba to “consolidate our leadership and credibility in the hemisphere,” reported dpa news.

Obama defended his decision in July to restore bilateral relations with Cuba, after half a century of rupture and ideological confrontation between Washington and Havana.

The President recalled that the policy of isolation of the island, carried out by his ten predecessors in the White House, not only failed to promote democracy on the island, but hindered Washington’s relations with Latin America.

“Do you want to consolidate our leadership and credibility in the hemisphere?” Obama asked lawmakers. “Recognize that the Cold War is over. Lift the embargo,” Obama told the Republican-dominated Congress.

Experts on both sides of the Florida Straits say there can be no real normalization of relations between Washington and Havana until the United States lifts the embargo.

Although Obama has taken several steps to relax some restrictions, he cannot lift the embargo by executive order. Only Congress, where the Republicans have a sizeable majority, can lift the ban entirely.

Obama also used his State of the Union address to call for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base detention camp. “It is expensive, unnecessary and only serves as a recruitment brochure for our enemies,” he stressed.

The president has repeatedly promised to close the infamous prison before leaving the White House in January 2017. The off-shore facility was created by President George W. Bush to hold war prisoners detained in the war in Afghanistan and suspected members of Al Qaeda. The Republican Congress has thus far resisted the closure.

Despite the demands of Havana, Washington has no intention of returning the land occupied by the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay to Cuba, even if Obama manages to finally close the prison.

Obama speech today to both houses of Congress was his last State of the Union. He called on Americans to embrace change and not fear the future, in an optimistic speech contrasting with the apocalyptic messages of some Republican candidates on the country’s future.

5 thoughts on “Obama to Congress: “Lift the Cuba Embargo”

  • Obama’s words are empty .
    He KNOWS that Congress will not rescind the embargo and , in fact, as a center-right imperialist
    ( militaristic capitalist) he has no desire to end the embargo and see Cuba succeed economically.
    It’s a threat to his elite class.

  • Trump would love to open a hotel on the Malecon and rake in US tourist money. He doesn’t give a fig for the Cuban people. He’d be happy to cut a deal with any dictator.

  • Obama said in his speech, “Recognize that the Cold War is over. Lift the embargo,” Well, somebody should tell Raul that. In 2013 he was caught smuggling weapons to North Korea. In 2014, he was caught smuggling weapons to FARC. He courts the despicable regimes of Iran, Syria & the increasingly fascistic Russia under Putin. As far as the Castro regime is concerned, the Cold War against the USA carries on.

  • Hopefully the 2016 election will be the last election where hardline GOP candidates bash the Castros because both Castros are old men. Ironically, Donald Trump has thrown his weight behind Obama’s Cuba policy (the wording of his remarks on Obama’s Cuba rapprochement implies that even if he thinks that it isn’t as perfect as would’ve liked, he tacitly accepts it b/c he knows that Cuba was not prepared to change its form of gov’t anytime soon to get Obama to lift the embargo; see http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/oct/22/donald-trump-concept-us-cuba-normalization-not-bad/ and http://www.cnn.com/2015/09/08/politics/donald-trump-cuba-diplomatic-opening/).

  • The Obama speech today to the people of the United states of America did tell the truth as did the Pope Francis of Rome who was also mentioned.The revolution has been fruitful to the natural landscape of Gods heavenly creatures including humanity in all it”s forms and globally as touched by God and defined by the allmighty power that has sustained all the world ,and provided all religion that
    was also mentioned. This man has given the people of his country the only warning they will get I fear.
    He has served his people well and God also I am sure.
    Globally things are as he says and Iran was saved , and so to Isreal. Iraq and Syrya and the lands
    of this region not so much.However the Russian courage there and in Cuba will help to bring peace
    and the kind of Victory that God would smile on as all religions are accepted. Ask yourself ” Would the prophet after Christ really want to be” NAILED TO A CROSS ” or would God provide him with what was necessary to help keep women safe , and the system of ideas that could be so profound that Isis would be possible . That the greatest boxer would be Mohamed Ali ? That Nelson Mandella could be a president and more.
    America today the miracle of Obama has given you a fair warning from God himself I believe , help the world and yourself , help the Pope of Rome and the Hebrews find a way to save this space ship before it is to late . Finally recognize the truth of LOVE and be thankful Christ was foregiving so we have this last chance , the other prophets likely will not want to be identified or photographed , we can only imagine what wonders Jesus could have shown us if he was still untouched till this day ,
    Look at what he did in only 33 years . Mohamed was and is still a mystery but even he gave all religions freedom and Christ full representation . Obama can be trusted and hopefully Isis will be revealed for the false people who are behind them and the foriegn power that supports them and they will be stopped and praise to God they never take root in Cuba.
    Thank You

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