U.S. and Cuba to normalize relations frozen since JFK was president

President Obama reaches out to Cuba

“Todos somos Americanos.” We are all Americans.

With those words, President Obama made an epic and overdue announcement today: the United States and Cuba will normalize relations that were broken off in January 1961 as President John F. Kennedy took office. “These 50 years have showed that isolation has not worked,” the president said.

Not only will the United States open an embassy in Havana, it will release three Cubans imprisoned for decades on trumped-up spying charges. The Cubans will release U.S. government contractor Alan Gross, held for five years on trumped-up charges, and a previously unknown U.S. intelligence agent imprisoned for many years in Cuba.

This diplomatic breakthrough would have happened much sooner had it not been for the assassination of President Kennedy.

Fifty one years ago, Fidel Castro indicated his openness to rapprochement with the U.S. in a May 1963 interview with ABC News. JFK responded positively, if stealthily. He was intrigued by the “sweet approach” to U.S.-Cuba relations. He was moving quietly toward negotiations in the fall of 1963 when he was assassinated. When Castro heard the news from Dallas, he said “everything has changed.”

Everything changed — and then nothing changed for a half century.

11 comments

  1. Arnaldo M. Fernandez says:

    There are reportedly four Cubans in Castro´s jail under charges of espionage: Rolando Sarraf, intelligence officer arrested on September 1995; Claro Fernando Alonso, another intelligence officer arrested on February 1996; Ernesto Borges Pérez, a secret police´s captain arrested on July 1998; and Juan Antonio Torres, the correspondent of the newspaper Granma in Santiago de Cuba, who was arrested in 2011.
    The “spy of Cuban origin” referred by Raúl Castro might be Sarraf, involved in the Bill Gaede´s affair of industrial espionage, but the other three are surely included in the exchange packet among those mentioned by Castro as prisoners of interest for the U.S.
    Besides the return of the last three Cuban spies known as The Cuban Five, the Castro super spy Ana Belen Montes is also ready to be released.

  2. Bill Simpich says:

    I’ve been to Cuba twice in recent years. Anyone who hasn’t been there should try to go in the next few years – it’s incredible.

    The music scene in America and around the world is going to get a big jolt, now that Cuban musicians have more ways to get their music out!

    Among all the other terrific things that are coming to fruition in this historic moment, there will be JFK and Cold War conferences in Cuba and opportunities t share information with people who can offer deep insight into this time period.

    With improved internet access and mutual access to the archived American and Cuba documents, there will be a series of enormous breakthroughs.

    Mary Ferrell and other websites will probably see some new subscribers wanting to learn about their history, and people like myself will be seeking access to the Cuban archives.

  3. bogman says:

    Wow. Will this remove the “national security” excuse for the CIA for not releasing the remaining JFK files?

  4. kennedy63 says:

    WND EXCLUSIVE
    CIA hit in 1950s mirrors JFK assassination
    Neither accused killer lived to tell his story
    Published: 11/03/2013 at 4:43 PM
    Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/11/cia-hit-in-1950s-mirrors-jfk-assassination/#X03JGWSfCo1syoi4.99

  5. First reactions appear to be that the people of Cuba will gradually be pleased, but not so much the Cuban government. Bold move here, indeed.

  6. David Regan says:

    Kennedy Sought Dialogue with Cuba – Key Documents: http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB103/

  7. Photon says:

    ” Trumped up charges”?
    Perhaps you should explain how admitted spys committing espionage get convicted on “trumped up ” charges.
    Perhaps you can explain to the families of four dead members of Brothers to the Rescue how their loved ones were killed by “trumped up” charges.
    These guys were spys , got caught and were sentenced to the appropriate terms. It was an occupational hazard.

    • Mike says:

      Were they spying on the US government or on the anti-Castro Cubans? Contrary to Marco Rubio, these entities are not one and the same.

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