Viewpoint by Somar Wijayadasa*
NEW YORK (IDN) - On March 20, 2016, President Barack Obama became the first sitting United States President to visit Cuba since Calvin Coolidge visited the island in 1928, marking a historic moment in the diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Referring to a fragment of one of the best known “Simple Verses” of Cuba’s national hero José Martí, “I Have A White Rose To Tend”, Obama said: “I’ve come to Havana to extend the hand of friendship to the Cuban people. I'm here to bury the last vestige of the Cold War in the Americas and to forge a new era of understanding to help improve the daily lives of the Cuban people.”
Obama came to office in 2009 promising to review the U.S. policy on Cuba but made only a few modest changes on travel restrictions and allow remittances under certain conditions – because the U.S- Congress refuses to rescind the trade embargo on Cuba.