SJU Expert Comments on President Obama's Trip to Cuba
Friday, March 18, 2016
When Air Force One lands in Cuba on March 20th, President Obama will be the first sitting U.S. president in 90 years to visit the island nation. Cuba expert Richard N. Gioioso, Ph.D., assistant professor of political science at SJU offers his thoughts on the significance of the visit and the message President Obama will bring to the Cuban people.
“President Barack Obama's visit to Cuba early next week will offer new hope to Cuban citizens that change is possible on the island and elsewhere. This trip solidifies a major foreign policy feat for President Obama. Since the process of U.S.-Cuba normalization began in December 2014, we have witnessed the mutual release of prisoners, increased travel, business and investment opportunities for Americans in Cuba, the reestablishment of formal diplomatic relations and the opening of embassies in Washington and Havana, as well as a new approach to facilitating greater change, both economic and political, in Cuba. President Obama will travel with a large group of Congress members, and he will meet with both President Raúl Castro, as well as with Cuban dissidents. In his remarks while on the island, he will undoubtedly extend support to the Cuban people. At the same time, he will criticize aspects of the Cuban government that restrict freedoms and suppress the attainment of human rights ideals.
In short, his visit will serve to further encourage and inspire Cuban citizens to believe that greater change is possible, and they can and should take an active role in making that happen.”