FROM Carlos Alzugaray
Will Pope Francis Be an Agent of Change? Yesterday, Pope Francis met with Cuban President Raúl Castro and former President Fidel. He said Mass in Havana's Revolution Square. He also delivered what's being called a "gentle" critique of Communist ideology and Cuba's suppression of dissenters. Later this week, he'll be in Washington, where some Catholic Republicans are already angry about his very un-gentle critique of free enterprise Capitalism. He'll address a joint meeting of Congress — and also visit with homeless people, laborers, immigrant children and prisoners. Cuba's Castro Brothers were educated and raised as Catholics, but their Communist revolution in 1959 made Cuba an atheist state. More recently, they have reached out to the Church, and Francis is the third Pope to visit the island since 1998.
Will American Tourists Spoil Cuba? Next week, the Presidents of the US and Cuba will meet for the first time since Fidel Castro's revolution of 1959. The US embargo is still on, but there's now an opening for American tourists who want to see Cuba before it becomes "Americanized." Historic buildings and old cars create nostalgia for life in the 50's — but when average wages are $20 a month they also illustrate poverty and decay. Is Havana a museum piece that's about to be "spoiled," or the capital of a desperate nation hungry for change?
Washington Opens Ties with Havana President Obama says isolation and punishment have not forced Communist Cuba to change, so he’s reversing 50 years of diplomatic policy. He said the US will end its isolation of Cuba and begin establishing normal relations by opening an embassy in Havana. Critics call normalizing relations an "undeserved bailout" of the Castro regime, based on the "illusion" that renewed ties will translate into political freedom. But supporters say it puts the onus on Cuba itself to further liberalize its economy, allow more dissenting voices and, ultimately, to establish democracy. Will it produce a historic transition or more of the same?
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?
Janesville and the American Dream Janesville, Wisconsin is the hometown of Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan. But he couldn’t prevent the closing of the General Motors factory after 100 years. On this Memorial Day rebroadcast of To the Point, we hear what’s happened to what once was a model of American middle-class unity.
Replacing Obamacare: Now you see it… now you don’t As the Senate deliberates replacing Obmacare, health coverage for millions of people is at stake. There've been no public hearings, and a draft measure won't be made public. Is the House version so unpopular that that Senate is hiding a version that looks much the same?