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Dario Lopez-Mills/AP
The President of Cuba, Raul Castro, speaks during the 50th anniversary celebration of the
Cuban Revolution.

Castro’s Speech Contradicts Obama’s Hope

January 02, 2009 01:26 PM
by Sarah Amandolare
On the 50th anniversary of the communist revolution in Cuba, Raul Castro’s speech leaves little hope for improved relations with the U.S., despite Obama’s plans.

A Step Backward for U.S.-Cuban Relations

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Many had hoped that the election of Barack Obama would lead to an improved relationship between the United States and Cuba, and more freedom for U.S. travelers to Cuba, particularly for Cuban-Americans with family in the Latin American country. But Cuban President Raul Castro’s speech on New Year’s Day left little room for such expectations.

In speech marking the 50th anniversary of the Communist Revolution in Cuba, Castro called the United States an “enemy” that “will never stop being aggressive, dominant and treacherous.” Castro also warned “against softening toward Washington,” according to the Associated Press.

ABC News reported that the anniversary festivities in Cuba were “toned-down,” and that Castro made frequent references to his brother, Fidel. But some Cubans interviewed by ABC News were on a different page.

A 42-year-old Cuban woman named Ana Luisa Mas told ABC she hoped U.S. trade sanctions would be lifted. “We are very hopeful that with Obama our relatives will be able to visit us more, and send us more money,” she said to ABC.

Before he was elected, Obama said he would “immediately allow unlimited family travel and remittances to the island,” and analysts say a new U.S. approach to Cuba could have impacts throughout the Latin American region and globally.

Opinion & Analysis: Cold War politics

An editorial in St. Louis Today blog The Platform examines the vestiges of Cold War politics in Cuba. Partly due to Fidel Castro’s poor health, the Obama administration has an opportunity to “relax significantly—if not outright reverse” the detrimental impacts of the U.S. embargo. Furthermore, the embargo “serves only the interests of Cuba’s leaders,” and has helped the Castro revolution to survive, the editorial said.

Background: The Cuban Revolution

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