According to a Tuesday report on CBS News, President Obama met with Cuban leader Raul Castro at the United Nations in what is being heralded as a “new era” in the relationship between Cuba and the United States. The Obama Administration had begun a series of actions to restore diplomatic relations in July, and this meeting was the first time they had met on American soil.
The restrictions on travel to and from Cuba from the United States have been eased, and some allowances have been made for doing business in Cuba. The trade embargo, however, has not been lifted, and Congress does not seem inclined to do that. President Obama and the Cuba’s Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodriguez, have both spoken out about the need for the embargo to be lifted.
President Obama feels that the trade limitations will eventually be removed. The Jewish Journal reports, however, that while President Obama is stressing the probability of ending the embargo, he has said that the United States will not turn the Naval Base at Guantanamo over to Cuba. The Administration has admittedly been seeking to close the prison there.
After listening to news reports of the President’s friendly rapport with Raul Castro, it is difficult not to remember two items of interest. The first is that this was Raul Castro’s first time addressing the United Nations General Assembly. ABC News reminds us of one of his brother Fidel Castro’s addresses in 1960. It lasted 4.5 hours!
The second more sobering thought is that President Obama had no spare time for Benjamin Netanyahu when he last visited the United States to protest the Obama Administration’s deal with Iran. Netanyahu spoke to Congress with passion about what Iran’s possession of nuclear weapons will mean to Israel, but our long-time ally was not given the consideration that was afforded Raul Castro. It is something to think about.