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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Cuban and American Reconciliation Day

On the second night of my first visit to Havana, I had one of those dreams that always stay with you, that seemed so real, prescient of what is possible. I saw Air Force One parked at Jose Marti Airport. There assembled were thousands of Cubans, waving Cuban and American flags, cheering what was taking place.
There were tears in the eyes of the people, joyful tears, with a look of relief as if some giant weight had been lifted from their backs. And so the President of the United States went to Havana himself, to forge and celebrate a peace that had been long overdue. Clearly, this will be the day when two old friends, the U.S. and Cuba, can put aside their differences and come together and be the friends they were always meant to be. A day that awaits to be a holiday. Each side, still blocks such a day from coming.
My hope, as an American, is that America will do what is needed to allow such a day to occur. And certainly from the U.S. side, travel restrictions and an embargo have no place, no space, in the setting for peace that both the majority of Americans, Cuban-Americans, and Cubans themselves demand now.
I don't have to ask the average Cuban what they think of our travel restrictions and the embargo -- they detest the harm our policies have caused them. And every American who I have met who has traveled to Cuba tells me two things - they want to go back to visit and believe our policies make no sense and are the wrong way to inspire anything positive in Cuba. When I have shared this inspiration with others, I am told, may your dream come true. I say, make this your dream as well, for a new chapter, a renaissance of U.S. Cuba relations, as it was meant to be.
Mr. President, you were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The audacity of hope as you wrote, requires just that, audacity. Join me in making this dream of peace, a reality - TM

"...We must, therefore, purge ourselves of hatred..." - Mahatma Gandhi - Quit India Speech August 8, 1942

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