Cuba: The Phantom Menace

Why Barack Obama hasn’t heard the end of Cuba—and why he should.

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Will the president announce any new changes to Cuban policy while in Port of Spain? That remains to be seen—we know the president likes last-minute surprises. And Carl Meacham, a senior policy adviser to Sen. Richard Lugar, who has been an outspoken advocate in Congress for lifting the embargo entirely, says “the president didn’t just talk about the fact that we need to make reforms on remittances on travel, he also said that we need to have dialogue.” But by making his first move in advance of the summit, Obama has put Cuba and its allies in the hot seat. Both Castros may say that they side with the popular new president, but, since the age of Kennedy (the last global phenom to fly Air Force One), they’ve used the U.S. embargo as a foil and a source of blame for any governmental failures. What will they do without it?

Most likely, whatever they can—and the same goes for Americans traveling to and from the troubled regime. While all the nations in Port of Spain have agreed to put Cuba on the radar this weekend, there’s no reason to think the president should spend his time courting its approval.

 

Dayo Olopade is Washington reporter for The Root.

Covers the White House and Washington for The Root. Follow her on Twitter.

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