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State Department Archives > JFK Facts

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Obama meets Raul Castro as U.S.-Cuba Cold War nears its conclusion

The meeting of the two presidents–and the dissolution of the six-decades long Cold War between the two governments–was accompanied by the announcement that the Starwood Hotels and AirBnB are competing in Havana.

You could say the evolution of Cuban socialism has taken a new turn. You could say that the wall of economic embargo and diplomatic hostility that Washington built between the American people and the Cuban people is coming down. Either way, President Obama is making good on a signature promise of his 2008 campaign: to sit down and talk to America’s enemies in an effort to find a more productive relationship.  …

Like Obama, JFK wanted to make peace with Cuba

Fifty one years before President Obama normalized diplomatic relations with Cuba, President John F. Kennedy was thinking of doing the same. To start the negotiations, Obama sent one of his aides, Ben Rhodes, to talk to the Cuban government.

Likewise in the fall of 1963, JFK authorized a U.S.diplomat, Bill Attwood, to make contact with Cuban representatives to discuss the outlines of an agreement between the two countries.

In a new document collection, Cuba – United States Secret Diplomacy Documents (1961-1977), published by Paperless Archives, you can follow how JFK’s pursuit of peace with Cuba, right up to the moment he was assassinated.

After JFK was dead, LBJ had no interest and the initiative died. It would take a half century before JFK’s goal was achieved.

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