LIVE STREAMING: The Obama Administration’s Cuba Moves & The Summit of the Americas


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Yesterday, President Obama’s spokesman Robert Gibbs and National Security Council Director for Latin America Dan Restrepo unveiled the administration’s pre-Summit of the Americas opening move on US-Cuba relations.
In the package, travel and remittance restrictions on Cuban-Americans are completely waived. Japanese-Americans, Scotch-Irish types, Jewish-Americans, non-Cuban descended African-Americans, non-Cuban descended Latinos, and those from Iceland who have naturalized as US citizens are not covered under the Obama plan — along with a lot of other Americans.
Nonetheless, opening up travel and engagement for any group is some progress — just not nearly enough.
Obama also eased humanitarian aid levels and perhaps most interestingly — in a move that not only allows cell phone options for visiting Cuban Americans to Cuba but also matches a similar electronics liberalization step taken six months ago by Raul Castro — the administration is allowing US telecommunications firms to work out communications deals and arrangements with Cuban firms. This is important because it will broaden the ability of Cubans themselves to communicate with the outside world and prevents a potential fiberoptic and communications monopoly from going to Venezuela.
Today at 9:00 am in Washington, DC, I will be chairing a morning conference on US-Cuba relations with a great panel of commentators who will be addressing the upcoming Summit of the Americas and US-Cuba relations.
This event will be “taped” by C-Span and air later — but you can watch live on line here at The Washington Note.
Here is our morning schedule for the program, “Is It Time to End the Cold War in Latin America? America’s National Interests, the Summit of the Americas, and a New Look at US-Cuba Relations

Welcoming Remarks
Steve Coll
President, New America Foundation
Former Managing Editor, Washington Post
Washington Staff Writer, The New Yorker
9:10 am
What Would an Interest-Driven Relationship Between the U.S. and Latin America Look Like if It Existed? Where do US-Cuba Relations Fit In?
Carl Meacham
Senior Policy Advisor for Latin America to Senator Richard Lugar
Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Col. Lawrence B. Wilkerson (USA, Ret)
Former Chief of Staff, Department of State
Chairman, US-Cuba 21st Century Policy Initiative, New America Foundation
Pamela Harriman Visiting Professor, College of William & Mary
Michael Lind
Whitehead Senior Fellow, New America Foundation
Author, The American Way of Strategy: US Foreign Policy and the American Way of Life
Former Executive Editor, The National Interest
Julia Sweig
Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies
and Director of Latin Studies, Council on Foreign Relations
Author, Friendly Fire: Losing Friends and Making Enemies in the Anti-American Century
David Rothkopf
President & CEO, Garten Rothkopf
Visiting Scholar, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Author, Running the World: The Inside Story of the NSC and the Architects of American Power
National Security Blogger, Foreign Policy
Tom Omestead
Senior Writer & Diplomatic Correspondent, US News & World Report
Former Associate Editor, Foreign Policy
The Hon. William A. Reinsch
President, National Foreign Trade Council
Former Under Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration
moderator and provocateur
Steve Clemons
Director, American Strategy Program, New America Foundation
Publisher, The Washington Note
10:30 am

Should be an interesting session.
— Steve Clemons


8 comments on “LIVE STREAMING: The Obama Administration’s Cuba Moves & The Summit of the Americas

  1. Big Time Patriot says:

    My theory is that after Obama meets with some latin american leaders he will say he has been convinced to open up interactions with Cuba more.
    Thus using a policy development that is probably already planned to cement a more cooperative relationship with governments in Latin America.
    Kind of making the point that the current administration actually listens instead of “already knowing everything they will ever know because they were told it by right wing think tanks” like the last administration.


  2. netmw says:

    This looks like an awesome place to begin your academic program! The True Blue Campus at St. Georges University.


  3. Michael Kahn says:

    Daddy, why aren’t all Americans allowed to visit Cuba?
    Well, you see Cuba is a dictatorship that doesn’t permit their
    citizens to travel wherever they want.
    Do we want Cuba to allow its citizens freedom to travel wherever?
    Yes, that’s a democracy.
    So does our government give us that freedom?
    Well not exactly. Our citizens aren’t allowed to travel to Cuba.
    But we are a democracy?
    Then why…?
    When you’re older, I’ll explain it. You see, it’s very complicated.


  4. Kathleen G says:

    Clemons mentioned that he had asked Scowcroft about Cuba
    Scowcroft “U.S foreign policy towards Cuba makes no sense at all”
    Clemons ask panelist how human rights in Cuba should be dealt with.
    Clemons Opens it up to questions from the audience because some of the panelist have to leave early.
    Wilkerson “our Cuba policy is idiocy”
    we could end up in the “same old rut”
    “we should not be satisfied to stay on auto pilot that we have been stuck in for 50 years”
    “U.S. is not governed by logic but by congress”
    Clemons ask whether Cuba policy ” is important enough”


  5. charlie says:

    As I’ve said before, this is a legal and constitutional argument.
    When the US government makes distinctions based on race
    and/or ethnicity, courts apply the strict scrutiny test to the
    equal protection argument. Whether the government’s interest
    here can balance the need to make invidious distinctions is an
    open question. Granted, the result may be we have to cut off
    ALL contact — but that would start to make the Cuban-
    American community (who are the problem) start to realize they
    can’t be coddled.
    Also, from a pure policy point of view, an embargo now seems
    counterproductive. If you want leverage, get the commies
    addicted to US dollars, and THEN threaten to cut them off for
    minor infractions. We have ceded control of the game to them,
    which is just plain stupid.


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