News and Facts about Cuba

From Discontent to Joy in Twenty-four Hours

From Discontent to Joy in Twenty-four Hours / Cubanet, Miriam Leiva
Posted on December 20, 2014

Cubanet, Miriam Leiva, HAVANA, 18 December 2014 — Barack Obama
announced a new direction in US policy toward Cuba, on December 17. The
Cuban population has expressed great joy at the news, both within the
archipelago and abroad. It is a brave and historic decision, because it
provides the opportunity to finally eradicate the existing environment
of confrontation of almost 55 years and initiate fruitful relations to
benefit of the Cuban people. The measures taken by the US president have
been greeted with enthusiasm and hope by millions, although other Cubans
remain cautious, because they commonly face harsh living conditions and

President announced he was open to extensive negotiations
with the United States, on all subjects, in a televised appearance
coincident with that of President Barack Obama. The reasons to promote
the rapprochement with Washington may be very extensive, including the
deepening of the Cuban economic crisis, the need for foreign
for recapitalization and development, social discontent over the
socio-economic deprivation, loss of public confidence, and the need to
improve Cuban’s international image. To achieve and democracy,
civil society will have to traverse the long and difficult path imposed
by a totalitarian regime that seeks to prolong itself through its heirs.

The exchange of Alan , imprisoned in Cuba in 2009, for 3 prisoners
sentenced as spies in the United States, was a necessary condition for
the US government to be able to initiate the process of normalization of
relations and to achieve results with new measures directed toward the
Cuban people. In addition, the island government agreed to release an
American citizen after some 20 years, and 53 other political prisoners.
The tradition of the American government is to not abandon any of its
citizens, and to provide for their exchange or rescue with military action.

The efforts of lawmakers from both parties, the diplomacy, and members
from all sectors of American society have had an important role in these
developments. Pope Francis has once again demonstrated his wisdom, aided
by nuncios accredited in Havana, and the Cuban Catholic Church, headed
by Cardinal Ortega and the Conference of Cuban Catholic Bishops who have
continued to accompany the nation and the people with their traditional
patriotic and religious vocation.

The measures announced include initiation of talks to restore diplomatic
relations; regulatory reform to empower the Cuban people with more
efficiency; favoring the expansion of general permits for to Cuba
and increases in the amount of remittances; expanded authorizations for
commercial sales and exports of certain goods and services from the US;
authorization for persons living in the United States to import
additional goods to Cuba; facilitating financial transactions between
the two countries; initiating new efforts to increase access to
communications in Cuba and people’s ability to communicate freely;
updating the application of sanctions on Cuba in third countries;
establishment of negotiations with the governments of Cuba and Mexico to
discuss the unresolved maritime boundary in the Gulf of Mexico;
beginning of the process of reviewing Cuba’s as a state sponsor of
terrorism; discussion of the participation of Cuba in the Summit of the
Americas in April 2015; a firm commitment to democracy, and
civil society, including strong support for improving human rights
conditions and democratic reforms in Cuba (a summary of an extensive
Fact Sheet issued by the Office of the White House Press Secretary).

Source: From Discontent to Joy in Twenty-four Hours / Cubanet, Miriam
Leiva | Translating Cuba –

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