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04/24/2015

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast: Hardliners Offer Concessions on Cuba — Concessions to Reality

This week, we want to tell you a story about Rep. Ros-Lehtinen’s sudden about-face on President Obama’s decision to drop Cuba from the state sponsors of terror list. It’s a little “in the weeds,” but it dramatizes how much the debate on Cuba has changed since we learned that Presidents… read more »

04/17/2015

Stating the Obvious — Obama says Cuba’s not a Terror State

Here at Cuba Central, the remarkable changes in U.S.-Cuba relations have inflicted collateral damage on two of our most cherished metaphors. Once, we were fond of the phrase, “U.S.-Cuba policy is stuck in the amber of its own ineffectiveness.” But, after the 2009 and 2011 travel and remittance reforms, the… read more »

04/10/2015

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast: Surprisingly Substantive Summit

If the past inevitably was prologue, Western Hemisphere leaders attending the 7th Summit of the Americas in Panama could simply mail (or email) in the predictable results. The U.S. President would brush aside criticisms of having ignored the region, yet again. He’d lecture the attendees on reducing deficits and trade… read more »

04/02/2015

Terror List: Weekend change in the talking points

As we listened to this interview of Stefan Selig, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, we began to wonder if the talking points had changed over the weekend.

On Wednesday, Selig, who spoke at the Cuba Opportunity Summit, was interviewed by Rhonda Schaffler for The Street.com. About 50 seconds into the video, the following exchange occurs:

MS. SCHAFFLER: There are challenges, too, just in the normalization of relations. Cuba is still on the terror watch list (sic) from the State Department…

UNDER SECRETARY SELIG: It is, but the State Department is working to lift that and hopefully, we’re making real progress, and hopefully that will happen in the future.

04/01/2015

New Survey Heralds Rising Support in Diaspora for Cuba Reforms

A new, national survey of 400 Cuban Americans living in the U.S. shows majority support for President Obama’s decision to normalize relations and increasing numbers for ending the embargo itself. Fifty-one percent of respondents favored President Obama’s decision to normalize relations, a rise of 7% since December, and a plurality… read more »

03/30/2015

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast: Walls and Doors — A Good Week for Diplomacy

Last December, when President Obama announced he had reached an agreement with President Raúl Castro to restore diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba, you’d have thought it was a dark day for diplomacy given the reaction of some Senators on Capitol Hill. “I think it stinks,” New Jersey… read more »

03/20/2015

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast: Cuba: On Drugs

On Wednesday, Cuba got the results of its annual drug test. It passed. If we had to guess, no one on the island was sweating out the wait for the 2015 edition of the U.S. State Department narcotics control strategy report. But several pro-sanctions hardliners had to be disappointed by… read more »

03/18/2015

NATIONAL JOURNAL: Havana-Bound: Cuba Rapidly Becomes a Favorite Member Destination

The first wave of American tourists hasn’t yet hit the beaches of Havana, but members of Congress are—in record numbers. Even before President Obama’s December announcement of normalization of relations with the country, congressional travel to Cuba had spiked following a 50-plus year standoff between the two countries. A LegiStorm… read more »

03/13/2015

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast: If Eight Polls Run Against You, You Run Against Conan

Since December 17, 2014, eight public opinion polls have been released that all show strong public support for President Obama’s decision to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba and his call to end the embargo. That’s got to bother the hardliners who have devoted their careers to punishing Cuba with U.S…. read more »

03/12/2015

SENATOR CLAIRE MCCASKILL: What I Learned in Cuba

Since the U.S. and Cuban governments announced they would begin normalizing relations, there’s been a lot of talk about what that could mean—for the politics of both countries, and for agricultural and job opportunities in Missouri. A lot of that talk has been about the actions of politicians. Presidents Obama… read more »