Florida Roundup: Obama's Plan To Visit Cuba

Feb 19, 2016

This week, the White House announced President Obama and the First Lady will visit Cuba.

The trip will include meetings with a Castro as well as with Cuban entrepreneurs.

The decision for a presidential trip to Cuba comes with all the historic overtones that have accompanied the changing relationship between America and Cuba since late 2014 when the president announced a new strategy of engagement. It also came with the familiar criticism of the efforts.  We discuss the history and controversy surrounding the trip.

Here are some thoughts about President Obama's visit to Cuba from members of the Public Insight Network:

"If the President [Obama] goes [to Cuba] I would very disappointed if he doesn't call out the Cuban government for its human rights abuses and if he doesn't make an effort to meet with the people in Cuba who are fighting for democracy. The silence only legitimizes the oppression of the Cuban people." -Victor Arrieta, Miami

"Presidential visits have nothing to do with approval or disapproval of a country's form of government. They are about diplomatic and trade issues. At the moment, the United States and Cuba are trying to establish the rules for their tentative tries at rapprochement. There are many issues involved that require guidance from the national leaders so that the individuals who will actually work out the details of the agreement can fully understand each nation's goals and limits." -Arnold Slotkin, Hollywood

"The timing of the visit, while practical for the work of this administration on the surface, seems to arguably go against basic principles of negotiation as taught in academia. This pattern in the administration of conceding a lot for little reward, however, allows the succeeding president of either party the advantage of arguing that the United States has done more than enough and that the Cuban government needs to reciprocate." -Eduardo Hernandez, Miami

“His visit will instill passion, hope, and opportunity for all Cubans to move slowly but surely toward a more normal life, more freedom of self expression and speech. It will bring dignity to the concept of reaching out and being more humane, more understanding of human values.” -Robert Burr, Coral Gables