President Barack Obama Announces a New Course on Cuba

Today, President Barack Obama announced that the United States has agreed to formally re-establish diplomatic relations with the Republic of Cuba and open embassies in both countries. The President referred to this decision as a “historic step forward in our efforts to normalize relations with the Cuban Government and people, and begin a new chapter with our neighbors in the Americas.

In his speech in the Rose Garden at the White House, President Obama emphasized that the best way for America to support its values is through engagement, and that American engagement through embassy activity, business, and most of all through people, is the best way to advance American interests and support democracy and human rights. Later this summer, Secretary of State Kerry will travel to Cuba to raise the American flag over the U.S. Embassy once more.

President Obama called for Congress to listen to the words of both Cubans and Americans, as well as “the words of proud Cuban-American Carlos Gutierrez, who recently came out against a policy of the past saying: ‘I wonder if Cubans who have to stand in line for basic necessities in the hot Havana sun feel that this approach is helpful to them.’” Meridian International Center was pleased to welcome Secretary Gutierrez as Chairman of its Board of Trustees in 2014.

As a leading public diplomacy organization and a principal partner of the U.S. Department of State, Meridian International Center looks forward to playing a key role in developing and implementing cultural exchange programs that will promote mutual understanding between the U.S. and Cuba and strengthen relationships between the people of both countries.

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