Thursday, July 30, 2015

A New Day for Cuba

"We don’t have to be imprisoned by the past.” Those were words spoken by President Obama last month when he announced that the U.S. and Cuba are reopening embassies in each other’s countries after more than a half a century of hostility.
Ten days ago, on July 20, the Cuban embassy in Washington, D.C., did open after being closed for 54 years. The U.S. embassy in Havana, which was also closed in 1961, was opened that day as well, although the U.S. flag will not fly there until Secretary of State Kerry travels to Cuba to raise the embassy flag on August 14.
Four days ago many Cubans celebrated the 62nd anniversary of the beginning of the Cuban Revolution, often referred to as the 26th of July Movement. The first revolutionary activity led by Fidel Castro on July 26, 1953, ended in failure, but it was the beginning of the movement that resulted in Castro proclaiming victory and the start of a new day for Cuba on January 1, 1959.
Castro made that victory proclamation from the balcony of the city hall in Santiago, Cuba’s second largest city. That city of about 500,000 residents was the site of this year’s main commemoration activities, headed by President Raul Castro. Santiago (meaning Saint James) was also celebrating its own anniversary: its founding by Spanish conquistadors 500 years ago, on July 25, 1515.
An embargo on exports to Cuba except for food and medicine was imposed by the United States on Cuba in October 1960. In February 1962 the embargo was extended to include almost all imports. Much of the economic problems of Cuba—and Cuba’s embrace of the USSR—was to a large degree due to that embargo.
Since 1992 the U.N. General Assembly has passed a resolution every year condemning the ongoing impact of the embargo and declaring it to be in violation of the Charter of the United Nations and international law. Several human rights groups, such as Amnesty International, have also been critical of the embargo.
Since the restoration of relations with Cuba is largely because of the President’s initiative, many Republicans are against it—and perhaps none more so that presidential hopeful Marco Rubio.
In the past Rubio often told audiences that he was the “son of exiles who left an island governed by a ‘thug’ (Castro).” But in 2011, The Washington Post reported that the senator’s parents and grandfather had arrived in the United States in 1956, when Castro was still in exile in Mexico.
On his original Senate website Rubio stated that his parents “came to America following Fidel Castro’s takeover.” It now correctly says that they first arrived in this country in 1956.
Of course, many of the Cubans that fled Cuba in 1959 and afterward are strongly opposed to the new relations also. But whose voice do you listen to, the thousands who lost some of their wealth in the Cuban Revolution or the tens of thousands of the peasants who gained a better livelihood because of that Revolution?
It is also a new day for Christianity in Cuba. In May, Pres. (Raul) Castro visited Pope Francis in the Vatican, and after that visit he said, “When the pope goes to Cuba in September, I promise to go to all his Masses, and with satisfaction.”
It was also announced in January that Cuba’s first Catholic church since the 1959 revolution took power is set to be built over the next two years.
Thank God it’s a new day in Cuba—and no longer imprisoned by the past!
I encourage you to take a look at Thinking Friend (and good personal friend) David Nelson’s article “Ten Observations - Reflections About Cuba” posted at in February.


  1. For those of you who would like to read more about this matter from a Christian perspective, take a look at

  2. The renewal of relations between the two countries is a marvelous event, something I've hoped would happen for many years. The embargo never made sense to me. Thanks for the informative blog today.

    1. According to the Miami Herald (and many other media outlets), Hillary Clinton was scheduled to be in Florida today and she was going to declare her allegiance to President Barack Obama’s Cuba policy in the hometown of Republican rivals who oppose it, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.

      "In a speech at Florida International University, Clinton will call for lifting the U.S. trade embargo."

      Read more here:

  3. Thanks Leroy for your excellent information about one of our neighboring country's. It amazes me how a country like ours, who claims to be Christian, could bring about such suffering to so many people over so long a time.
    We should be thanking our LORD for his patience with us and some of our actions.
    John(Tim) Carr

  4. Thinking Friend Glenn Hinson writes,

    "The U.S. maintains relations with other Marxist countries, e.g., China and Vietnam, why not one closer to our shores. Are we just catering to the “exiles” and politicians like Rubio?

    "Exchanges with Cuba could change their adherence to the Marxist model in the way they have changed Vietnamese and Chinese functions as a society. We won’t revolutionize Cuba as we haven’t revolutionized Vietnam and China, but we’ve left our mark on them."

  5. Last night one Thinking Friend wrote, "We should have done this long ago."

    My reply: "Agreed."

  6. Here is the comment from another Thinking Friend: "I thought it was interesting that you feel that the masses have done well in Cuba under Castro."

  7. I was mainly referring to the early years of the Cuban Revolution, when many of the more well-to-do people left and when there was considerable redistribution of land on which many poor lived--including some of the land owned by the Castro family.

    Over time, I don't know that the masses were better off--partly because of some poor decisions made by the Castro government and mainly because of the negative effects of the U.S. embargo.

  8. As usual, I find comments shared by Thinking Friend Eric Dollard to be worth considering well:

    "Although Cuba has hardly been a human rights paradise under the Castros, they did bring universal healthcare and education to the Cuban people. I had read that prior to the revolution, eighty percent of the land in Cuba was foreign owned.

    "In addition, the Batista regime was hopelessly corrupt and the U S mob had considerable control and influence. (I have also read, however, that the Castros may be worth up to $900 million--I doubt that wealth came just from their salaries.)

    "So Cuba needed some serious reforms. The embargo has not worked and I have opposed it for many years. It would be easier for us address human rights issues by being engaged with the Cuban government rather than boycotting it.

    "Cuba would have been better off, however, if Castro had adopted a mixed economic system, rather than full-fledged socialism. He should have looked to Western Europe rather than the Soviet Union and we should have adopted a more conciliatory approach, although that may not have worked initially."