Our Opinion: Symbolic end to an outdated Cuba policy

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President Obama's visit to Cuba Sunday symbolizes the end of a failed half-century-old US policy. Dead-enders will continue to slow this change but they can't stop it.

Nine American presidents preceded Mr. Obama since the Cuban revolution led by Fidel Castro, which testifies to the utter futility of economically and diplomatically isolating the Cuban nation. This Cold War era anachronism gave Fidel and his brother Raul an excuse for the struggles of the Cuban people and angered Latin American nations who interpreted this policy as American imperialism.

Critics who claim the Castro regime hasn't responded positively to the reforms instituted by the president are naive. Change will take time, and it is hindered by Republican opposition to lifting the trade embargo or returning Guantanamo to Cuba, even though no American politician would accept the presence of a foreign military base on US soil.

Polls indicate that 75 percent of Americans support President Obama's Cuban overtures. The Cuban exile community is dying off and being replaced by young immigrants who are eager for Cuban ties. The US business community wants those ties as well, along with improved relations with Latin America, which is why Republicans will eventually give in. Closer relations will enable the US to pressure Cuba on human rights, which the president will do during his visit. This policy change should have come decades ago, but without President Obama, it wouldn't have happened at all.


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