So What Do The People Of Cuba Think Of Obama?

Posted May 21st, 2009 21:43 by Elisabeth

You may very well ask. So I did.
Responses ranged from “He seems a good bloke, the future looks more hopeful now” to “The future looks more hopeful now, he seems a good bloke”. I am, in the interests of political science, obliged to report what I get and it really was that unvaried. I phoned friends in Havana in case this was a rural aberration and got the same answer. The people of Cuba seem to be agreed on the following: Mr Obama Seems A Decent Bloke And The Future Looks Better With Him In Charge.
‘Better’, of course, is a relative term. Better than the last three US Presidents? The illiterate homicidal maniac Bush, whose family fortune came from his grandpa’s banking service for Hitler and his pals and enabled daddy to buy the presidency? Poor old President Gore, the only US President ever to have won an election and lost it in a coup d’etat? Or Clinton, chiefly remembered for his loose zip?
Usually the US President is not a popular guy around here. Cubans do not want Yanqui imperialism any more than they ever did, though in big towns you can see them developing a taste for the sort of consumer goods that US investment would bring. That’s been their way into other countries that fought them at great cost (e.g. Vietnam) and then found US business worming its way into their economy. The Cuban people are aware of the risks of doing biness with them, but they’d also quite like the latest mobile.

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So why is Obama acceptable? I modified my question and asked what Cubans like about him. What impresses Cubans about Obama is his actions. A politician who acts, rather than just talks about acting, is an amazing creature.
He closed Guantanamo. Cubans feel very strongly about this. It’s bad enough that the US has a naval base on Cuban soil but torturing and abusing prisoners there is just too much to bear.

  • He is taking troops out of Iraq. Probably a higher percentage of Cubans than Americans can actually find Iraq on a map and we care what happens there.
  • He sent a delegation from congress to meet with Castro. Cubans love visitors. The visit was enormously positive for both sides with the congresspeople returning to Washington to report that both sides were ready to talk.

And what do Cubans hope for from Obama? Top of the agenda are resumption of diplomatic and economic relations and the release of the Miami Five, held in US jails after an unfair trial for spying on a group suspected of planning terrorist attacks on Cuba.
Everybody loves him now, although there is some consternation in Cuba of the constant references to the first ‘black president’. We don’t think he’s very black at all.

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One Response to “So What Do The People Of Cuba Think Of Obama?”

  1. Daily News About Cuba : A few links about Cuba - Thursday, 21 May 2009 15:46 Says:

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