"Obama Is Gonna Let Me Go Home?"

My mother was born on January 8, 1958 in Havana, Cuba at the height of the Cuban Revolution. She was the daughter of an Italian-born American World War II veteran living and working in Havana and a Cuban dancer who descends from Spanish and Italian descent herself. (Yes, my grandma was a dancer, still is when the arthritis doesn't act up)

It was not even a year after her birth that my mother, my uncle (her twin brother), and my grandparents moved from Havana to Miami, Florida (then later to Manhattan in 1967). They came to Miami by plane only weeks before Batista was forced from power a little more than two years before the US broke relations with Cuba. My grandfather passed 20 years ago. As lung cancer took him away, my abuela told him she would see him in heaven soon. Grandpa told her "Not until you go home first"

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President Obama Lifts Some Travel Restrictions To Cuba

Lucas had an excellent post yesterday arguing that the time has come to loosen travel restrictions to Cuba.

Turns out, Lucas is really powerful:

President Obama lifted all restrictions Monday on the ability of individuals to visit relatives in Cuba, as well as to send them remittances.

The move represents a significant shift in a U.S. policy that had remained largely unchanged for nearly half a century. It comes days before Obama leaves for a key meeting of hemispheric powers, the Summit of the Americas, in Trinidad and Tobago.

"President Obama has directed that a series of steps be taken to reach out to the Cuban people to support their desire to enjoy basic human rights and to freely determine their country's future," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said. [...]

Several key components of America's embargo on the island nation will be preserved, however. Among other things, Americans will still be barred from sending gifts or other items to high-ranking Cuban government officials and Communist Party members.

Travel restrictions for Americans of non-Cuban descent will also remain in place.

This is a great development and one wonders if with it, President Obama single-handedly turned Florida forever blue.

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Just Like Bush? My ASS. Obama Lifts Cuba Travel Restrictions

Crossposted fromMY LEFT WING


 Huffington Post:

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama is allowing Americans to make unlimited trips and money transfers to family in Cuba and easing other restrictions Monday to usher in a new era of openness toward the island nation ruled by communists for 50 years.

The formal announcement was being made at the White House Monday afternoon, during presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs' daily briefing with reporters, a senior administration official told The Associated Press. The official spoke on condition of anonymity before the announcement.

With the changes, Obama aims to lessen Cubans' dependence on the Castro regime, hoping that will lead them to demand progress on political freedoms, the official said. About 1.5 million Americans have relatives on the island nation that turned to communist rule in 1959 when Fidel Castro seized control.

Jesus fucking christ, it is about goddamned time.

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Your congresspersons visit Cuba - UPDATED

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/americas /cuba/story/989566.html

Put aside the fact that we're the democracy, and they're the dictatorship, and thus we're good and they're bad.

Put aside the fact that there have been thousands and thousands of political prisoners incarcerated and killed in Cuba since the revolution (not according to just any crazy right wing bigot, but according to Amnesty International), hundreds of whom still languish in prison for purely political reasons.

Put aside the fact that the U.S. is expected to make pre negotiation concessions, but Cuba doesn't have to. (Cuba, not the U.S., gets to commence negotiations without preconditions, or any advance showing of good faith.)

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ACTION: Fight for your Freedom to Travel

(Cross-posted to Daily Kos.)

U.S. Citizens can travel to any country in the world except one. It's not the one that the U.S. fought a bloody war with 40 years ago. It's not the one that seized the U.S. embassy 30 years ago. No, we cannot travel to the country which 50 years ago overthrew a military dictator who had taken power in a coup d'état. None of these countries are democracies, but only one is subject to a travel ban.

With the announcement of the "Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act", a bipartisan initiative introduced by Sens. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Reps. Bill Delahunt (D, MA-10) and Jeff Flake (R, AZ-6) in March, it seems as if we may at last be approaching a sane policy on travel to Cuba. But first, we need to overcome the obstructionism of the gang who thinks that 50 years of failed policy isn't enough.

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