Cubans Hoping for a Thaw
Posted on Jan 7, 2009
The 50-year U.S. relationship with revolutionary Cuba may warm up this winter, with some on the island seeing an Obama presidency as an indicator of potential change in the two countries’ diplomatic and trade status. A Havana barber is quoted as holding hope for reconciliation despite the fact that Obama “is a capitalist and likely an imperialist.”
The Washington Post:
Vicente González says that although Barack Obama is no Karl Marx—“he is a capitalist and likely an imperialist”—he has high hopes that the new president could begin to warm the relationship between Cuba and the United States, which remains frozen in a Cold War time warp. “It is time,” the Havana barber said, perhaps unwittingly repeating the Obama slogan, “for a change.”
The world has numerous expectations of the incoming president, but many Cubans, who live on state salaries that average $20 a month, seem to possess an outsized hope that Obama will somehow transform their lives.
All along Neptune Street, a chaotic, dusty, crowded avenue that runs through the heart of central Havana, people in ration-card shops, state-run cafeterias and crumbling hallways spoke relatively openly about their desire to see the new U.S. president do something—almost anything—to help end the official hostilities between the two countries.
Cubama: Obama, at the Cuban American National Foundation, criticized the Bush adminstration’s policy toward the island.