Tags: Barack Obama | Castro-Cuba | MidPoint | Obama | Cuba | embargo | Latin America

Professor: Latin America Is 'Fed Up' With US Treatment of Cuba

By    |   Monday, 27 Oct 2014 04:12 PM

Cuba's presence at the upcoming Summit of Americas gives President Barack Obama the opportunity to engage with Cuba in light of strained relations, says American University professor of government William LeoGrande.

"It's not a big security threat anymore since the end of the Cold War when the Soviet Union disappeared," LeoGrande told Ed Berliner on "MidPoint" Monday on Newsmax TV.

"Right now, the big block actually is the embargo against Cuba," he said.

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"The U.S. economic embargo is written into law," LeoGrande explained. "For the president to lift it, he has to get an act of Congress and of course the president has had some problems with Republicans in Congress getting a whole variety of pieces of legislation through."

"Nevertheless," he added, "if the president wanted to, he could use his executive authority in this area just like he's talked about using it in other areas, like immigration to make some real progress in relations with Cuba."

Obama will be attending the Summit of Americas in April 2015, and he was pressured by other Latin American countries to allow Cuba to attend.

"The United States blocked Cuba's participation in the previous summit, but Latin America just got fed up with that and Latin American heads of state at the previous summit in Cartagena, Colombia warned President Obama that if the Cubans were not invited to this coming summit, then Latin America would boycott it," LeoGrande said. 

"The administration wisely decided that our relations with the whole hemisphere were important enough that we should go to the summit, even though the Cubans are likely to be there," he said.

"This actually presents President Obama with an opportunity —  he's been saying since he was elected that Cuba policy doesn't make sense, hasn't worked for 50 years, we need to try something new," LeoGrande said.

"This will be the first time when he sits across the table from [Cuban President] Raul Castro in a diplomatic meeting, and he'll have an opportunity to talk about something new."

LeoGrande is the co-author of "Back Channel to Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations Between Washington and Havana," which was released on Oct. 13.

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Cuba's presence at the upcoming Summit of Americas gives President Barack Obama the opportunity to engage with Cuba in light of strained relations, says American University professor of government William LeoGrande.
Obama, Cuba, embargo, Latin America, Summit of Americas
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2014-12-27
Monday, 27 Oct 2014 04:12 PM
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