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Can Obama's Cuba visit make a historic compromise?

Editor: Li Kun 丨CCTV.com

02-23-2016 16:36 BJT

By Ren Junhua, professor of Party School of the Central Committee of C.P.C

The White House on Feb.18 issued a statement saying that United States President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle will pay a state visit to Cuba on Mar 21-22. This is the second time for an incumbent American President to visit the island after 88 years. Obama will be the first American president to visit Havana after the Castro regime came into power.



Even though the US and Cuba are separated by sea, the two North American countries have been isolated from each other for over half a century. The last visit of a US President to Cuba was in 1928. Since the Cuban Revolution led by Fidel Castro erupted, the two countries had severed diplomatic relations in 1961.

Rome was not built in one day. Over the past five decades, Washington had cut ties with Cuba, and the two sides even resorted to arms. So, can the two countries make a historic compromise? 

The international community is looking forward to the visit, full of uncertainties as the two countries try to recover a relationship that has been estranged for so long.

The biggest obstacle is Washington's embargo and sanctions on Havana in the fields of economy, trade and finance. Even though the two countries started the process to normalize bilateral ties in Dec. 2014 and have officially resumed diplomatic relations last July, Washington's embargo on Havana remains in effect.

Only US Congress could vote to cancel economic sanctions and limitations on trade and tourism. However, the Republican Party-controlled House of Representatives and Senate oppose it, claiming that would boost the Communist Party of Cuba.

The Republican Party leader in Senate, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R.-Ky.) said Congress will not endorse Obama's actions in Cuba, including voting against the American ambassador's nomination to Cuba.

Many Republicans, including two leading Republican presidential contenders Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio whose parents have emigrated from Cuba to the US, are sharply criticizing Obama's travel plans. Accordingly, if the Republican Party wins the White House, the US is unlikely to embark on friendly relations with Havana.

Washington and Havana hold different opinions on human rights. Washington's strategy seeks so-called "democratic reforms" in Cuba. Many American officials oppose lifting the embargo unless Cuba allows for freedom of speech and more human rights for its citizens.

On his official Twitter account, Obama said he would promote human rights forever when he is scheduled to talk to Cuban President Raul Castro. The White House said Obama's visit reflected its support of human rights.

However, Republican Party presidential candidate Marco Rubio told CNN that if he was elected to the White House, he would not visit Cuba unless it becomes a land of freedom.

Nevertheless, Cuba welcomes Obama's visit and would not tolerate Washington interfering with its domestic affairs. Therefore, there's a long way to go to clear mutual misunderstandings due to ideological differences and negative influences on account of long-lasting confrontations.


( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )



Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

Panview offers an alternative angle on China and the rest of the world through the analyses and opinions of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

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