Christopher Dickey reports: President Barack Obama made the dramatic announcement Wednesday that his administration is ending efforts to isolate Cuba that go back more than 50 years. While Congress will have to decide whether to end a formal economic embargo and a ban on casual tourism, senior administration officials said in a White House conference call that they would do everything within their power to end what Obama called a “failed policy.”
“Isolation has not worked,” said Obama from the White House.
Isolation has not helped to promote human rights in Cuba, it has not led to the downfall of the Castro government, and it is a policy carried out by the United States alone in the world. “I do not believe we can continue doing the same thing for five decades and expect a different result,” said Obama in a none too subtle allusion to a popular definition of insanity.
The initiative comes after 18 months of secret talks, with a major impetus provided by Pope Francis, who hosted the final discussions between Cuban and U.S. officials at the Vatican in the fall. [Continue reading…]