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April 17th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Should U.S. end sanctions & restore full relations with Cuba?

ALT TEXT

Raul Castro says Cuba is ready to talk about "everything, everything, everything" that the U.S. wants to discuss. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the U.S. is ready to talk with Cuba; just as President Obama heads to a 34 nation Summit of the Americas that excludes Cuba.

The U.S. is under increasing pressure from Caribbean leaders to end its policy of isolating the communist state. Critics say the policy, which goes back nearly half a century, has failed to bring about change in Cuba and has instead isolated the U.S. in the region.

Secretary Clinton has made it clear that Washington wants Havana to take certain steps to help improve relations - things like opening up its society, releasing political prisoners, and opening up to outside opinions and media. There is some concern that leaders at the summit will be "distracted" by the issue of Cuba, instead of focusing on the global economic crisis.

Meanwhile the desire to talk is apparently mutual. The Cuban government says it's prepared to meet with the Obama administration. Raul Castro says they're ready to discuss human rights, freedom of the press, political prisoners: "everything, everything, everything" that the U.S. wants to discuss.

A New CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows the majority of Americans back the Obama administration on this. 64 percent of those surveyed think the U.S. should lift the ban on travel to Cuba and 71 percent say the U.S. should re-establish diplomatic relations with the island nation. Earlier this week, President Obama lifted all restrictions on the ability of U.S. citizens to visit relatives in Cuba and send money there.

Here’s my question to you: Should the U.S. end the sanctions and restore full relations with Cuba?


Filed under: Foreign Policy
soundoff (146 Responses)
  1. Ray in Nashville

    Well, let's see what 47 years of embargo has done. Cuba is still there. Castro is still there. Hmmm, ignoring them hasn't worked, so maybe it is time we try something else.

    April 17, 2009 at 2:01 pm |
  2. Allan Hanson Placerville, Ca

    It is very much over due. We did not have a problem when "our dictator" was running Cuba.
    Casro came to us for help liberating Cuba, we refused so he went to the USSR, who were eager to help him. If we gave him the help he wanted we would not have this problem today.
    We are "pals " with many dictators who are worse than Castro. How would it help to continue the embargo? It only hurts both of us.

    April 17, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  3. Phil, A Canadian Observer

    Yes and no, by opening the doors Americans can see the positive results of socialism on an impoverished and distant state...It ain't so bad, most everyone gets decent heath care and an good education. On the otherside, Cubans have to put up with foulmouthed, ignorant and complaining American Tourists. The trade off just doesn't seem worth it.

    April 17, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  4. Marie Ontario

    How can any rational person think Cuba should be subject to sanctions and/or restrictions of travel over any other country in the world?

    Sanctions don't hurt a country's administration as they will always have money but rather hurt the ordinary citizens just trying to survive.

    Americans not being allowed to travel to Cuban belies the words, "The Land Of The Free".

    Time for a change America!

    April 17, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  5. Pablo in Tejas

    Eventually, yes, but not all at once.

    Pablo
    Arlington Texas

    April 17, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  6. Ken of Pinon Hills in Arnolds Calyffornia

    Certainly Jack, there has to be some of our jobs left we can give away to Cuba that we didn't give to Red China.

    April 17, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  7. David Alexandria, VA

    It's probably time to do some constructive opening of relations. At the end of the day, we're about the only country in the world which is not in Cuba. When Fidel and Raoul grab theri chests and fall face first into their soup, we should be there to help those poor, repressed people into the light and not be seen as the only country which didn't care enough to make it better while we could.

    Besides, they have a lot of oil and truely righteous cigars. I miss the cigars.

    April 17, 2009 at 2:17 pm |
  8. Charles, Lansing, MI

    The U.S. is the only country in the world that doesn't have full relations with Cuba. The embargo was created by the sugar industry after WW II. If Cuba would have been treated as an equal trading partner, Castro would have been gone 35 years ago. Our government is just as responsible for enslaving the Cuban people as Castro. Let's stop the nonsense and remove all restrictions with Cuba.

    April 17, 2009 at 2:22 pm |
  9. Susan Geear Medford Or

    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. The Cuban sanctions have done nothing but make Castro look like a martyr. If they haven't had any results in all these years, exactly what do we expect them to do and when?

    April 17, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
  10. KimSmith, Dodge City, Kansas

    What's the deal here? Do we have a "no failed communist state left behind" policy? Let's finish closing the door on Mexico before we get involved in another third world support group.

    April 17, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
  11. Harold from Anchorage,AK

    Yes, and this is past due. A free exchange of ideas will benefit both countries. The Castro regime would have to stop painting the U.S. as an ogre, and we may learn how to provide affordable health care for our own citizens.
    Also, close relations between the U.S.and Cuba would be Chavez's worst nightmare.

    April 17, 2009 at 2:25 pm |
  12. Nancy, Grand Ledge,MI

    We have relations with China, Russia, and many countries in the middle east that don't conform to our approved form of government and human rights. Why not Cuba? We would have a better chance of influencing change for their people if we had a presence in the region. It's long overdo.

    April 17, 2009 at 2:25 pm |
  13. Russ in PA

    Of course there should be full relations and trade. Why not? We trade with Russia and China. We should be trading with Iran and North Korea as well...

    April 17, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  14. Kevin in Dallas, TX

    While our position on Cuba is silly and out dated, Obama should only do it if he doesn't want to get reelected. Think of the ammunition the Republican party will have against him in 2012. As a Senator he voted for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, aka socialism for the wealthy. As President, he then raised taxes on the wealthy, and brought in a form of socialized medicine. He increased government spending, then befriended a communist nation, and possibly a socialist one as well, if he gets chummy with Chavez. Can you say political suicide?

    April 17, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  15. Rose in Az

    Not at this point in time. I thnk that Cuba has to prove they will change their ways with regard to human rights. Why would be want to be nice to an awful dictator.

    April 17, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  16. Phil

    Yes Jack–the cold war is over. There is nothing to be gained by not dealing with Cuba. Given 40 yrs of boycotting did not work, perhaps old fashioned and neighbourly friendship just might free Cuba.

    Sure-there are issue's with the government, but there are with many other countries we deal with. The time has come for the United States to join the rest of the world on this issue. There is no longer any military or social threat from Cuba-we should do the humane thing and normalize relationships, as an example of the new US approach to world affairs.

    April 17, 2009 at 2:33 pm |
  17. Doug - Dallas, TX

    I don't see why not, the sanctions aren't accomplishing anything and our economy sure could use the business.

    April 17, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  18. Julia from Fayetteville, NC

    It would certainly feel warmer and fuzzier if we could think that maybe we could at least have open communications. I know a lot of people from Cuba and it would be good if they could go home and visit and have some sort of normalcy to their relationship with Cuba. Down deep, I fear there are things that need attention related to sanctions that WE the people don't need to know about but I don't know enough to have an opinion about sanctions – just get them fixed so we could do a little business with them.

    April 17, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  19. Don (Ottawa)

    The question is, why not? What treat do they pose? Open up Cuba to American tourists, let the dollars flow, and capitalism will reign with democracy to follow.

    April 17, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  20. John from Alabama

    Jack: I do not believe full diplomantic recognition should be given until the political prisoners are freed, and informal talks with Cuba can be arranged. I believe the sanctions on some food products and medicines should be lifted for humanitarian reasons, but full trade with Cuba should be a gradual step by step process.

    April 17, 2009 at 2:41 pm |
  21. Tina Tx

    Yes I would end full relations. Why have we kept them in the dark when we have dealt with worse leaders than Castro? Never made any sense but when dealing with American leaders it never does. This is what happens when you put sanctions on their leaders the poor people suffer and the country dies on the vine.

    April 17, 2009 at 2:41 pm |
  22. David,San Bernardino,CA.

    Why not? It couldn't hurt.

    April 17, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  23. Al, Lawrence KS

    If that includes Cuban cigars, I'm all for it.

    April 17, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  24. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: We should, however, we need to proceed with caution. The end is never as satisfying as the journey. To have achieved everything but to have done so without integrity is to have achieved nothing.

    April 17, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  25. KarenB, centralFlorida

    YES. long overdue. MANY YEARS overdue. It all started because of Castro and we didn't do what we said we were going to do, so he went and got help from the Russians. If things had been handled right in the 50s, none of this crap would have never happened. When we had chance to help straighten it out, the Kennedys backed down and didn't help them – didn't give air or navy support, just left them out to dry (Bay of Pigs). We trained them in Louisiana, Georgia and other places, then we didn't give air or naval support.

    April 17, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  26. Larry, Ohio

    Jack,absolutely sanctions should be ended.When you have a country that close,it seems to me you should try to be on the best of terms!

    April 17, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  27. Mark in OKC

    End Sanctions? Are you kidding? We should invade Cuba, shove the Castro brothers out to sea on a raft and then make Cuba the 51st state! What a beautiful Island and people only 90 miles from Florida. I would buy a Condo there in a heartbeat!

    April 17, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  28. George in Florida

    Yes, they should end the sanctions Jack. I'm tired of taking the wrappers off Cuban cigars that I purchase when overseas and coming back to the US......

    April 17, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  29. Greg

    Oh yea Jack! We love muslims now, Chavez is cool, that creep in Iran, yea we just love everybody......why not one more regime that suppresses the human rights of their people.

    April 17, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  30. Scott, Wichita

    I think it should be a step-by-step thing. Not all at once, but have them meet different goals before opening up the door more and more.

    April 17, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  31. Nancy, Tennessee

    Since Cuba is one of our closest neighbors, it couldn't hurt to restore full relations with them. For all those who enjoy a good cigar, this would be great news!

    April 17, 2009 at 2:50 pm |
  32. John Scalla

    If we trade so much with communist China, who controls what their citizens watch and does not let them speak freely, why can't we trade with Cuba? I'm sorry but the hypocracy is preventing me from getting certain cigars, I need this to end!

    April 17, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  33. Hope M. Madisonville, KY

    50 years of ignoring Cuba has helped no one and the Cuban people have suffered immensely. Let the tourists go there and help raise the standard of living. Both the US and Cuba could benefit from renewed
    relations. Perhaps, they'll give up communism for capitalism if they see how much they can benefit.

    April 17, 2009 at 2:59 pm |
  34. Ralph Nelson

    I think it is the wise thing to do, we need to figure out some way to stop the formation of socialist regrimes in South America, the result of years of Supply-side economics. Yet serve the best interests of the people of those countries by supporting economic reform that brings more to the people through markets and trade, and not the lie of socialism that doesn't work economically because it makes nothing. Ralph, Yakima, Wa.

    April 17, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  35. marlene

    It depends on what "end sanctions and restore full relations" means. Over forty years is a long time to hold a gruge. Let's see what the new administration's negotiations come up with for a future policy.. How has the US been hurt or helped by continuing the current policy. President Obama took the first step by easing travel restrictions for relatives, so let's see what Cuba does now. Marlene in Mich

    April 17, 2009 at 3:02 pm |
  36. Ann from Hampton, New Jersey

    President Obama should wait until he has a meeting with Raul Castro to discuss human rights, etc. before making that judgment. If things worked out It would probably be beneficial to all to restore relations with Cuba and end the sanctions. This could very possibly be a good step towards our problems with other nations when they see we have reached out our hands in peace.

    April 17, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  37. Peter Harrison

    The idea behind restricting trade and travel to Cuba was to destabilize the Castro regime and promote regime change. These restrictions have been in place since 1963, longer than most people in the United States have been alive. Yet the Castros are still there, still in power.

    Albert Einstein defined insanity as "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Isn't one lifetime of insanity enough?

    Peter Harrison
    Vancouver, Washington

    April 17, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  38. George, Dunedin, Florida

    Not so fast, we still have to remember that the government in Cuba is still in conflict with our government, and until that can be worked out we will need to be content to just help the people of Cuba , and hopefully that will lead to better relationships for all.

    April 17, 2009 at 3:06 pm |
  39. Larry in Florida

    I think we should have tried many years ago to resolve things with Cuba. They are very near by neighbors and taking a few baby steps at a time to help make them freindly neighbors is a pretty damn good idea. I think a half a century of hate has run its course. It's time to get over it.

    April 17, 2009 at 3:07 pm |
  40. DianeMarie

    Dear Jack , Yes . The U.S. are very kind people , It's time to end those sanctions , It's sad to see Americans in Cuba with Our Canadian Flag on there sleve or backpack and not the American Flag . We are only on this earth to be happy and kind . Life is short .

    DianeMarie , Cape Breton Island , Nova Scotia , Canada .

    April 17, 2009 at 3:08 pm |
  41. Venia PA

    Yes! And I applaud President Obama for easing restrictions like he has which is extremely humane and wise because the blockage never heart Castro, just the people. See what diplomacy can get you, Castro is ready to do anything the President asks!

    April 17, 2009 at 3:09 pm |
  42. Katiec Pekin, IL

    These sanctions have remained for far too long. And, with Cuba willing to talk and negotiate is real plus.
    Remember the old saying "Keep your friends close and your
    enemies closer". Well, maybe once problems are resolved they
    will not be such a strong enemy.

    April 17, 2009 at 3:09 pm |
  43. Raj

    It's about time. Why do the current generation have to pay for their father's sin.
    Does anybody really know the reason behind the embargo? If so, then Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and others should be on that list as well.

    April 17, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  44. Daniel Indiana

    Without a doubt. We ended our hostilities against the former Soviet Union, China and Vietnam even though they didn't agree to what we are asking of Cuba. The only difference is that the other countries had something from which America could profit, which gave them a reason to forgive the "problem". Our government views Cuba like it does the Sudan. It has nothing of value to offer America, so why should we really concern with them? Iraq was a different story. They had oil that our corporations wanted to get their hands on, so we did their bidding for them and invaded. Unfortunately, things didn't work as anticipated and the American corporations don't have control of that country like they hoped for.

    April 17, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  45. Vinnie Vino

    Jack,

    Right now is a good time for a new approach bcause of the simple fact of sanctions and no diplomatic strategy with Cuba has not done anything to improve the life of anyone in either country, a Cubean or American. The termination of these cold war obsolete inhumane policies will not only save the U.S. money but also help to achieve the same objective of bring Democracy to Cuba...

    Central Islip, N.Y.

    April 17, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  46. BRUCE, ST PAUL, MN

    I know that many Cuban Americans still harbor ill will after being disposessed all those years ago. But I think that policy that does not seem to be working should be reviewed and replaced. Same with the drug war, the Iraq war, tax policy, deregulation, and so many others. My only reservation is I'm afraid Walmart will start building Cuban factories to undercut the cost of their Chinese factories.

    April 17, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  47. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Jack,

    I just wanted to add now we need a clean break from the past from all parties!

    April 17, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  48. J Georgia

    No fully, and not immediately. There might be a gradual easing toward tensions, depending on how Cuba responds to us.

    April 17, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  49. Dennis North Carolina

    Yes, do we talk and trade with Russia/ soviet union, china, etc?? why not Cuba????

    April 17, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  50. Dan from Alliance, OH

    Why not, Obama wants to talk to Iran and I don't see Cuba as a major treat.

    April 17, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  51. Denny from Tacoma, WA

    Yes, the U.S. should restore full relations with Cuba. I believe that our political differences would be better settled with honey than with vinegar.

    April 17, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  52. Tom in Dubuque Iowa

    Castro will die eventually, so drop the sanctions; open the trade and travel; sooner or later the whole system will fold. I've always found the whole Cuban situation ridiculous; as if we haven't had dealings with communist regimes before. Hard to justify when China the largest Communist country on the planet is also our biggest debtor.

    April 17, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  53. Agnes from Scottsdale, AZ

    Jack: The US needs to restore some form of relationship with Cuba. It needs to be a gradual process. Ignoring them is setting Cuba up for a closer alliance with Hugo Chavez – not good.

    April 17, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  54. Alex in Seattle

    Yes, let's open trade with them. We trade with Viet Nam and Communist China so, except for the electoral votes in Florida, there is absolutely no logical reason not to.

    April 17, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  55. Jim from Chicago

    Yesterday, Jack. The only reason we have not done away with our antiquated approach to Cuba is the venom that some older Cuban-Americans feel for Fidel Castro. The current policy has not worked for 50 years. It's time to get back to reality.

    April 17, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  56. Jeff in Glen Carbon IL

    Yeah, but I like to see in done in stages. Call it statecraft, but I think we should wring some benefits out of their repressive government while they beg for normal relations!

    April 17, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  57. Richard - Knoxville TN

    Personally I think it is idiotic not to continue on the path to establish normal diplomatic relations with Cuba as soon as practical - Perhaps with some basic concessions - I mean, just what the hell are we waiting for - The establishment of a Rusian naval and air base 90 miles away on Cuba ??? -

    RB Knoxville TN

    April 17, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  58. Mike Murphy North Port, Florida

    I do not think it is ever in our best interests to have full relations with brutal repressive regimes. With that said the article states that the US policy on Cuba has instead isolated the U.S. in the region. That is incorrect. The U.S. is not "isolated" in the Carribean but enjoys normal relations throughout. We aslo have normal relations with just about everyone in the Western Hemisphere save the extremist regimes in places like Cuba and Venezuela. Secretary Clinton wants Havana to take certain steps to help improve relations........so did every other US administration, however Cuba refused, hence sanctions, which I agree have not worked, but let's get the facts straight.

    Brutal extreme leaders do not deserve a setting at the same table as American Presidents. (N. Korea, Venezuela, Iran and the likes) Raul Castro may be signalling that Cuba would like to join the civilized world. We should listen.

    April 17, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  59. Paul S. Columbia, SC

    Great idea. Maybe then we can get Miami back.

    April 17, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  60. Jackie in Dallas

    If we can have normalized relations with China and Russia, I see no reason for us to continue the sanctions on Cuba. They haven't done anything in 30+ years to threaten us. I grew up during the Bay of Pigs debacle, and the Cuban Missile Crisis, and although we were justified at the time to impose sanctions, there is no good reason to continue them. Fidel Castro is ill and aging, his son is running the government, and we already have half of the Cuban population in Dade County Florida, so why not open the lines of communication?

    April 17, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  61. Mike of Hot Springs.

    We need to restore relations with Cuba as soon as possible. It was stupid not to maintain relations with them all along.

    April 17, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  62. Jeff in E. Lyme, CT

    We should work toward that goalJack, but only through negotiation & compromise.

    April 17, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  63. Terrance in Hartville, MO

    Sorry Jack but my vote is NO. If and when Castro is dead, along with his brother and they hold free ellections, I'd say it's time to start the process, but not until then.

    April 17, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  64. Paulette,Dallas,PA

    Yes. It's about time. I hope to visit Cuba in my lifetime.

    April 17, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  65. Lynne Parker in N. Augusta, SC

    This should have been done decades ago.

    April 17, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  66. maggie muggins

    Imagine a country that claims it is the land of the free that has a law preventing it's citizens from visiting another country? That pretty much says it all.

    April 17, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  67. Lynn, Columbia, Mo..

    Why not? We have relations with China, another communist country and if we can get them to lighten up it might really help their people. I say go for it.

    April 17, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  68. Allen L Wenger

    Yes, we should have done this 30 years ago.

    April 17, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  69. Beverley, Fredericksburg Va

    Jack,

    I'm too young to remember the "he said – she said" reason why we aren't talking to Cuba. All I know is that in my life time, they have never attack us. Why not start a dialogue and see how sincere they are? If they do something stupid we can always blow them up!

    April 17, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  70. Terry from North Carolina

    Jack
    This country is ninety miles away from us, I would rather have friendly relations with Cuba so we know whats going on in their country. No more surprises Jack.

    April 17, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  71. Greg Mechanicsburg, PA

    Do we demand the things from China or Russia as conditions for normal relations? As we normalize relations with Cuba, we will see benefits in many areas, including improved relations with other Central American nations. We can only enrich our lives by cultivating peaceful and fair relations with all nations.

    April 17, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  72. GM from Mankato MN

    I don't know about ending all sanctions however if Cuba seems willing to talk.......that in itself is a good step forward and one that we should take him up on.

    April 17, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  73. Larry from Georgetown, Texas

    Let the diplomatic process begin and see what happens. It is long overdue to start treating people like humans instead of like animals. If we are all God's kids then we need to stop making everything meet our conditions and especially since we have so many major issues in our own back yard that needs to be fixed.

    April 17, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  74. Jay in Texas

    Most definitely. We should lift the embargo and restore normal and friendly relations with our neighbors in Cuba as soon as possible. We have been held hostage for too many decades by a small group of right-wing fearmongers who have dictated our hateful policies toward Cuba.
    Brownwood, Texas

    April 17, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  75. Joe, Clinton Ma.

    Yes. That blockcade really has not worked and made us lose billions intrade. This country puts more focus of what was in the past, instead of looking to the future.

    April 17, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  76. Duane in California

    It is the year 2009! The cold war is over. Can please step our policies into this century for christ sake.

    April 17, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  77. Chryssa

    Yes, but not without discussion first. This whole thing is nothing more than a multi-generational feud where those who had nothing to do with its beginnings suffer the most.

    Boise, ID

    April 17, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  78. odessa

    yes!.it is about time to restore full relations with cuba.maybe they want a change too. they probably want something different into their lives as well seeing family members.

    April 17, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  79. Melissa

    Yes. The sanctions aren't doing anything anyway.

    April 17, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  80. mitchell, arkansas

    yes. they are not any better communists than China.

    April 17, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  81. Ken M . Millington MI

    Hello Jack. Why don't we establish diplomacy and lift sanctions, 50 years is along time to not half relations with Cuba. Vietnam war is over we trade and deal with them. Russia posed a greater threat and we deal with them. Japan, Italy and Germany reaped distruction across the globe and we deal with them. Last but not least we are in debt up to our eyebrows with Comunist China yet we trade and deal with them.Lets do the smart thing and start a dialoque with Cuba. The time has come to talk and open a new relationship with Cuba .

    April 17, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  82. David Bebeau,Springfield Missouri

    Yes Jack
    Its so long over due it off the chart...............silly almost
    I would love to go to Cuba and see history from the 1700's
    David

    April 17, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  83. Jim S Gardendale, Alabama

    I think it's time that the embargo was lifted and relations normalized as much as possible with Cuba. This just might be the best way to evfen tually overturn the communist government down there by letting their citizens visit us and see what the quality of life here is compared with Cuba after some 50 years of communism. I do think that we have to be very careful with respect to visitors and immigration from this country though.

    April 17, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  84. Susan from Twin Falls Idaho

    Absolutely. Sanctions haven’t worked. Castro is an older man who may have tempered with age and wisdom. Communism is passé and no longer works for Cuba. President Obama is leading by example all over the world. If Cuba would agree to free political prisoners that would show good faith.

    April 17, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  85. Alan - Buxton, Maine

    The relationship with Cuba should have been open from the beginning. Sanctions were appropriate when they were allowing Russian missiles to be installed in their country but beyond that we have been completely unjustified in our demands and behavior.

    April 17, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  86. Chad from Los Angeles, CA

    Well now is as good a time as ever. Their new leadership has created a window for us to create a positive relationship with them. It would be nice to get some good cigars legally..

    April 17, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  87. Jack Martin

    Jack
    We should end all sanctions on Cuba. We look like childish fools perpetuating a farce for a half a century. Forget politics and grow up.
    Jack in Boynton Beach FL

    April 17, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  88. steve in scappoose or

    Jack,
    Great idea!
    If President Obama keeps opening the doors that the past administration shut or kept shut, we won't be able to declare war on anyone. We'll have to spend all that military money on things like saving the planet, growing food and getting America back on it's feet. We could also go after a pirate or two . . . .Just when was the last time a Cuban pirate hijacked a ship anyway?

    April 17, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  89. Susan from Greenfield, WI.

    How long ago did we do that with China? But then again we might want to check with the Conservatives to see if this is a breach of National Security.

    April 17, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  90. Kerry Diehl

    Sure, why not?? Obama is bailing everyone else out, including foreign banks in foreign countries.

    This way he can bail all of Cuba out too after apologizing for being so mean to a communist dictated country. After all, it's only our tax dollars and not his!!

    At the rate he's going, my unborn grandchildren are for sure shafted as probably will now be my great grandchildren!

    April 17, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  91. Tim Uluturk

    Wake up,America:When I was 13 years old my sister took my toy I cried and didn't talk to her 2 days.Cuba took riches money,Mafia Bose's Hotels and Casinos and Soviets took advantage of the situation then our anger and revenge kept both country apart all those years. like me and my sister apart 2 days when I was a kid..Grove up Politicians..Cuban people was poor,Hunger and Socializm was only choice that time for them ,we were rich we wanted poor to accept Capitalizm.End the sanctions and restore full relations.Maybe American dream makes them Capitalist.

    April 17, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  92. Joel, VA

    Jack, the sanctions imposed on Cuba over the past decades has not served the interst of America. If you have a disease and you continue to ignore it, Jack do you think it will just go away or will it take you away instead. Restoring full relations will not only benefit the Cuban nationals as also expartriates, but will subtly do the job of effectively undermining the communist regime.

    April 17, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  93. Keith from Michigan

    Hey Jack,
    We should open relations with Cuba completely. They can finally export their fine cigars to us and we can export American cars to them. It's a win-win for everyone!

    April 17, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  94. rich philadelphia pa

    I say end the sanctions and let's open up a new market, does anyone under the age of 35 even know why we are supposed to hate Cuba?

    April 17, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  95. vivian

    It's long over due. Why we hate other country's but favor other's is petty and stupid. Today is a new day, the U.S. need all the help and friends they can get.

    April 17, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  96. Vegas

    Yes, it's time. And like anything, if people (in this case, Cuba) messes up again, then reinstate the embargo. But I believe we should give it a chance. With a watchful eye, let's do it!

    April 17, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  97. Eric Bracke

    Sure, why not? I'm more than positive that there would be so many benefits in opening up travel to a country run by a vicous dictator, human rights violator, and murderer. From an economic standpoint, just think of the sugar and cigars Cuba can provide the US. Just what we need – more fat people smoking cigars. Let's go for it.

    April 17, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  98. Dakota States

    Absolutely YES!, it is time to allow the newest generation of Cubans to judge Americans for themselves. The newest generation had nothing to do with the original conflict and it is time for their perceptions of America to positively change.

    Dakota States

    April 17, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  99. Lynne from Cherry Hill NJ

    Yes, sanctions are not working and the people of Cuba are suffering from t he poverty it has caused. But Cuba has to give up something to get this. I certainly hope that honest negotiations can result in something positive for everyone involved.

    April 17, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  100. Allen in Hartwell, GA

    I think we've punished ourselves long enough. If the Cubans will accept our apology I think we should try to get along like good neighbors.

    This is ridiculous. As failed national policies go this has to rank at the top.

    April 17, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  101. john christopher - saskatchewan

    Yes! The sooner we begin treating Cubans like human beings, the sooner they will reciprocate. Wow...civility, generosity and decency... what a concept!

    April 17, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  102. Natalia, Albuquerque, NM

    Talking with Cuba and lifting the sanctions against Cuba are both long overdue. For many Cubans, time has stood still and they need to have access to all of the latest innovations that can help the people of their country. Also, Cubans nationals can be treated just like any other immigrant and apply for US citizenship rather than risk their lives in rafts in the hopes of standing on our shores as a path to freedom and a better life. On the other hand, I feel that for the past 40 years Cubans have been given unfair preferential treatment over any other group that immigrates to our country. It is time to restore full relations with Cuba.

    April 17, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  103. Marietta

    Yes it should for Cuba! Your grandchildren where going to be in debt for generations generations even if Pres Obama did nothing nothing nothing-no bail outs, no stimulus package period!

    Already in– massive massive massive debt– $11 Trillion and rolling monthly billions for Iraq war ! More massive debt when all the -----–millions millions millions -when they all–run out of unemployment and have to go on socialist ""Welfare""" and– lost tax revenues- adding more on top to the massive debt with millions millions millions of lost jobs!! Massive debt owned here and the alvanche of debt to China–thanks Bush for handing Pres Obama a fruit basket with no fruits and not even the basket was paid for!

    April 17, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  104. docb

    Not full , Jack. Lets see what the Castro brothers do with this. This is a first step...

    April 17, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  105. Simon in Syracuse, NY

    We should end the sanctions and open Cuba to tourism so that U.S. citizens can witness first hand what our country will soon look like if our government continues down this path of naked socialism.

    April 17, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  106. Gail, Plano Texas

    I remember when Castro became the leader in Cuba. It is time for us to resume relations with this country and lift the sanctions, President Obama is to be commended for taking this action. It is refreshing that we now have a leader who is using peaceful means to bring about resolutions to archaic problems

    April 17, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  107. Diane, Barneveld, NY

    The better question would be, is Cuba any worse than China?

    April 17, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  108. Ken in NC

    Well we have relations with China and relations with each other so why not have relations with Cuba. I mean it's not like the embargo has done anything to Cuba anyway so go for it.

    April 17, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  109. Dave Smith, Oklahoma

    Never! If we keep the sanctions up just another few years, we'll eventually win!

    April 17, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  110. Roland - St George, UT

    I think so, Jack. If we don't reverse our policy and ally ourselves with Cuba, I think it is only a matter of time before they become a breeding ground for Al Qaeda. Even though the Cubans at large are peace loving people, if Al Qaeda (vis-a-vis Iran or North Korea) offered enough money, I believe Castro and/or his brother would try to take them up on it and offer them a safe haven. Yes, we are watching Cuba like a hawk, and we would intervene (which means spreading our military resources even thinner), but all of this still doesn't mean that Castro wouldn't try anything funny. He is not particularly rational.

    (Roland/St George, UT)

    April 17, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  111. Frank

    If freedom of expression and movement for the Cuban people is our prerequisite for lifting sanctions, maybe we should rethink our relations with China, Russia, and the Middle East, including Israel.

    April 17, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  112. Kevin McKenzie

    Yes, it's time to end our sanctions on Cuba. Sanctions harm the citizens of a country, not their government. It also gives an oppressive leader something to point to and incite hatred among their citizens for the United States.

    Canton, Ohio

    April 17, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  113. Patricia

    My student Matt says...

    Yes. The sanctions on Cuba have not gotten Cuba to stop being communist. If we want to put pressure on Cuba to end human rights violations, reform, etc., then we should at least act nicely and cooperate with them. You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. (My mom says that all the time.)

    Boise

    April 17, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  114. Mike Syracuse, NY

    Although the embargo hasn't toppled Castro, it has effectively hamstrung him by denying him the resources he would need to effective export communism to the Western Hemisphere. But in the interest of Obama's Official Cave-in Policy, sure Jack, just as soon as Castro legalizes other political parties, holds free elections, and releases all political prisoners.

    April 17, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  115. Linda in Arizona

    Our continued sanctions and refusal to acknowledge Cuba were only a sop to the right-wing Batista exiles. Now, most of them are dead, and their descendants are not so rabidly anti-Castro. Yes, it's time to normalize relations with Cuba, and the sooner the better.

    April 17, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  116. Betty, San Diego, Ca.

    The American policies toward Cuba of the last fifty or so years have failed. Today, the baby steps taken to lift some restrictions are a start to correct those policies. The previous policies have done more to harm the Cuban people than the Cuban government. However, we must be alert for the Cuban government exploiting any type of agreement. Do you remember the Cuban boat people.

    April 17, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  117. Pugas-AZ

    Yes. Let's get it over with and move on to more important things before the Chineese get a foothold on the isle.

    April 17, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  118. Bruce Marshall

    Jack I lived in Florida when I went to bed one day and got up with every runway holding fighters. We need to treat Cuba the same way we did Russa. end the sanctions and restore full relations with Cuba
    It is long over due.

    April 17, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  119. Tim in Texas

    Of course we should. We will have much more influence in Cuba if we can actually go to Cuba. We will have leverage in Cuba when we have trade with Cuba. And you can't negotiate with people if you're not talking to them. Look at North Korea – we have no influence there, because other than out and out military action, we have nothing to leverage. It should, of course, be done in steps, but that is exactly what's happening.
    Tim in Texas

    April 17, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  120. Ronald Holst

    Yes we should loosen and in time get rid of the sanctions on Cuba If we have to put sanctions on any one how about TEXAS since the Governor Parry says he would would like to secede Form the rest of the US.
    Ronald Holst
    San Antonio, TX

    April 17, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  121. Paula in Albuquerque

    Most definitely! Only the most flagrant and ignorant of bigots seize upon ways of maintaining misunderstandings...grudges...and, juvenile name-calling...as a means of making a stupid point of being "superior', and "Godly"...while baldly and intimidating...and, literally STARVING an entire nation of people because they have differing political philosophies!

    The most effective way of conducting diplomacy, and, perhaps "converting" Fidel Castro, would have been to encourage a diplomatic relationship with him, in the first place...rather than acting like a mammoth bully, spoiling for a fight, and inflaming this stupid schism that we've all lived with, since the 1950's.

    It isn't Castro, who has appeared foolish...for he has had the cajones to resist American pressure! It is the United States which has acquitted itself like an overgrown "thug", who has plenty nof everything...but no brain with which to utilize it all...

    April 17, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  122. Troy

    Jack the U.S should not. We have to many illegal immigrants now because of loose immigration policies of this and many failed administration.

    April 17, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  123. Simpliticus

    The US should have sought this years, decades ago! I guess when the country is in bad shape, a better economy can be gauged by reengaging with CUBA once again!

    April 17, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  124. Tom, Avon, Me, The Heart of Democracy

    Cuba offered to send doctors after Hurricane Katrina.

    Why punish this one country for decades, when there are plenty of governments that we have human rights records as bad as Bush's?

    April 17, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  125. AndyZ Lynn, MA

    State needs to make a road map with definitive mile posts to chart reciprocal progress toward normalization of relations between the two countries. Once accomplished, let me know. I need a vacation.

    April 17, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  126. Chi Town

    JFK did this because of how bad Cuba made him look.

    It's time to stop 50 years of Kennedy revenge.

    April 17, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  127. William Courtland

    Yes Cuba is just another part of the inhabited earth.

    What is a communist: and why does American Freedom make being a communist a punishable offense? Marxism is just the point that currency has a bad effect on the nuclear family. While a communer is a hypnotist who might do evil.

    A communist government is just a different format of Republic, and still replaces royalty.

    April 17, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  128. Jane - WI

    We should not restore full relations with Cuba until cuba is willing to give something in return. For all those Democrat black Congressmen who wail about human rights in Iraq or Afghanistan, where was their outcry on their recent junket to Cuba? Their silence on human rights, while praising Dictator Castro, was appalling and they should be ashamed of themselves. It's funny how "human rights" is a big deal when their is a Republican President, but give us a Democrat and a communist dictator, and suddenly all is silent when it comes to concern over human rights.

    April 17, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  129. Gigi in Alabama

    Why not? Cuba is no worse that China and we have normal relations with them. The only people we have hurt in the last 50+ years is the people of Cuba. Fidel and Raul Castro are doing just fine.
    I had an invitation to visit Cuba over 15 years ago, but could not because of our lack of relations with Cuba. My exchange student's mother had relations in Cuba that wanted to meet their niece and asked me to bring her. I could not and I wish that I could have done that much for her and her family.

    April 17, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  130. Jane - WI

    If Cuban Americans will be able to travel to Cuba, will Cubans be free to travel to America to visit their relatives?

    April 17, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  131. Stephen Ohs

    Yes it about time.

    April 17, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  132. Victor Tonelli

    The answer is resoundingly YES. Decades of blockades has done absolutely NOTHING to deter Castro. He has outlasted president after president and make the United States a laughing stock. Just like the Vatican finally acknowledged it was wrong all along in censoring Galileo Galilei, the US government needs to admit it has FAILED and let US dollars change the hearts and minds of Cubans.

    And for those who say we will soon turn into a 'socialist' nation...I hope they are RIGHT. After all, public freeways, libraries, police and firefighters are all supported by taxes. Is this not socialist? You people should spend 6 months to a year in a European Socialist country and find out how bad services in the United States really are.

    April 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  133. michael

    Like everything else, Obama is handling this issue nearly perfectly. We should make every attempt to normalize relations with Cuba but they must also make some compromises.

    April 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  134. Bob Wislon

    Yes, we should renew relations with our neighbor who is 90 miles away. We have complete relations with China and they are no better with human rights than Cuba. Hey we can't go to Mexico anymore for a good cheap vacation right?

    April 17, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  135. Karl from SF, CA

    Yes, it’s time has come. I would imagine the problem with Cuba all these years was more a case of they don’t have money to loan us or we would be sucking up to them like we do the Chinese barbarians, which means money always wins over morals.

    April 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  136. Eddy Laroche

    Our relations with Cuba needs to be no less than what we have with Russia or China. We have been bashing Cuba while we kiss China's butt.

    April 17, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  137. carol bierer

    I believe strongly that President Obama made the right decision in revealing the torture memos. It would benefit this country, ultimately, to select a special prosecutor to pursue those responsible for the horror of torture, especially since America constantly pats itself on the back for being a country of laws. If this is not done, I will not object if another country or an international courst pursues these illegal actions, and indeed enforces the law.

    April 17, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  138. Wm Thygerson

    The danger is not in releasing the memos; it's in declaring' that they methods they describe are not torture, and that those who implement them can walk free.

    By doing this, the 'BushBama' administrations have given blanket permission for any enemy to use these techniques against OUR captured soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and civilians.

    As a Vietnam veteran, I'm deeply disappointed that our veterans organizations have not joined the call for prosecution of these war crimes..

    April 17, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  139. Ceci

    Not until Castro or his darling brother let out of jail the innocent Cuban citizens that have been put and torchered in jails for freedom of speech. Many, even students of the University of Cuba to elderly are in jail for the disagreement of the communism way of life. If Americans seem to adore Cuba as it is they should live as Cubans and see what it is to be placed and torchered for disagreement with Castro and his little brother.

    April 17, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  140. Rich Monk

    Yes, time for intelligent change. Communism is dead, and dying. The Cold war is over Republican, Military industrial crooks.
    We trade with China and Russia the largest Communist countries now you republican idiots!
    The failing foreign policy of the republicans and Bush of
    "Our way or no way" is arrogant, intolerant pig headedness.
    Finally we have an American President with intelligence, insight, compassion and humility to lead the USA into the 21st Century.
    I applaud President Barrack Hussein Obama, for his courage and strength.
    Rich Monk, San Diego, CA

    April 17, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  141. Richard

    Hell yes! This has gone on far too long, and serves no purpose.

    Richard
    Newport, OR

    April 17, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  142. Ann Omdahl

    Of course, sanctions should be lifted with Cuba. We do business with other communist countries so why should Cuba be any different. 40 years of sanctions didn't change anything, did it, or did I miss something?

    April 17, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  143. FRANK MAZER

    Yes! It's long overdue.

    April 17, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  144. Tim from Hot Springs, AR

    We absolutely should, but not until we see tangible reform from Cuba, which I think is coming soon. Raul and Fidel are well aware of the predicament they are in and they don't want their legacy to be one of a revolution to poverty. This sudden change of heart reminds me of most older people who start some reflection of what they have accomplished. The Castros know that if they truly want Cuba to move forward into the 21st century, they will have to make serious concessions to the U.S. Once those begin to happen, then we should begin lifting our sanctions.

    April 17, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  145. B-Koi Vancouver Island, BC

    I just think it's about time we ALL grew up! If the US does not change towards Cuba, Russia will ! Think of the huge market that will open up for the US. Those poor people have suffered enough for the whims of their leader, and US policy. Let freedom be the CHANGE, they can believe in.

    April 17, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  146. Farrell Sacramento, CA

    Yes, it's the only logical thing to do.

    April 17, 2009 at 6:35 pm |