Barack Obama and Fidel Castro's Cuba
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In Latin America and in Washington there's pressure for changing the policy of isolating Fidel Castro's Cuba. As President Obama prepares for the Summit of the Americas, how far is he willing to go? Will he insist that Cuba change its repressive ways? Also, a hijacked crew retakes its ship from Somali pirates, and the State of Nevada has a $3 billion budget shortfall. Will it bridge the gap by taxing prostitution where it's legal?
Banner image: US Democrat congresswoman Barbara Lee speaks during a briefing yesterday at National Hotel in Havana, next to US congresspersons (L to R) Laura Richardson, Emanuel Cleaver, Bobby Rush and Mel Watt. Photo: Adalberto Roque/AFP/Getty Images
Hijacked Crew Re-take Vessel from Somali Pirates ()
Pentagon officials say the crew of a US-flag cargo ship has re-taken the vessel from pirates who seized it after a three-hour chase 300 miles off the coast of Somalia. Refusing to confirm the story, Mearsk CEO John Reinhart said that the crew, though unarmed, is “trained in security details on how to deal with piracy by speed and the way we operate.” Journalist Daniel Sekulich is author of the upcoming Terror on the Seas: True Tales of Modern Day Pirates.
- Daniel Sekulich: author, 'Terror on the Seas'
Barack Obama and Fidel Castro's Cuba ()
For the first time since 2006, American officials met yesterday with Fidel Castro in Cuba. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus reported that he was healthy and talkative as ever. Because it’s not a democracy, Cuba won’t be at next week’s Summit of the Americas, but other nations will want to know how much President Obama will change US policy. There won’t be an end to the 47-year old trade embargo, but other restrictions might be lifted. Even some Republicans want relations improved. They and other critics say US policy has been held hostage by Cuban-Americans in Florida, and has failed to get a repressive country to change its ways. Is it the US rather than Cuba that’s being isolated from the rest of the world? Can the President act without the approval of Congress, presuming he wants to?
- Tom Omestad: Diplomatic Correspondent, US News and World Report
- Armando Vilaseca: Commissioner, Vermont Department of Education
- Mauricio Claver-Carone: Director, US-Cuba Democracy PAC
- William Ratliff: Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution
- Vicki Huddleston: former Chief of Mission, US Interests Section in Havana
Nevada Considers Taxing the Oldest Profession ()
Thirty years ago, Nevada gave rural counties the option to legalize prostitution. The brothels are licensed and regulated locally, but have never been taxed by the state. Now, hard times have led to a budget shortfall of $2.8 billion. At a legislative hearing yesterday in Carson City, prostitutes and brothel owners supported a bill to tax sex acts at $5 each. But four of seven committee members had already indicated their opposition and one prostitution researcher said such a tax would be “an act of legislative pimping.” Historian Guy Rocha is a former Nevada State Archivist who has also studied legalized prostitution.
- Guy Rocha: former Archivist, Nevada State Library and Archives
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