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?
Barack Obama and Fidel Castro's Cuba
- Tom Omestad - Diplomatic Correspondent, US News and World Report
- Armando Vilaseca - Vermont Department of Education (former)
- Mauricio Claver-Carone - Cuba Democracy Advocates
- William Ratliff - Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution
- Vicki Huddleston - former Chief of Mission, US Interests Section in Havana