Obama Cuba speech

So after more 50 years finally there is some hope for the Cuban ppl. Made a remix from it.

Here is the full transcript of the speech

The President:

Good afternoon.
Today, the United States of America is changing
its relationship with the people of Cuba.
In the most significant changes in our policy in more than
fifty years, we will end an outdated approach that,
for decades, has failed to advance our interests,
and instead we will begin to normalize relations
between our two countries.

Through these changes, we intend to create
more opportunities for the American and Cuban people,
and begin a new chapter among the nations
of the Americas.
There’s a complicated history between
the United States and Cuba.
I was born in 1961 — just over two years after
Fidel Castro took power in Cuba, and just
a few months after the Bay of Pigs invasion,
which tried to overthrow his regime.
Over the next several decades, the relationship between our
countries played out against the backdrop of the Cold War,
and America’s steadfast opposition to communism.
We are separated by just over 90 miles.
But year after year, an ideological and economic
barrier hardened between our two countries.
Meanwhile, the Cuban exile community in the United States
made enormous contributions to our country —
in politics and business, culture and sports.
Like immigrants before, Cubans helped remake America,
even as they felt a painful yearning for
the land and families they left behind.
All of this bound America and Cuba in a unique
relationship, at once family and foe.
Proudly, the United States has supported democracy
and human rights in Cuba through these five decades.
We have done so primarily through policies that aimed
to isolate the island, preventing the most
basic travel and commerce that Americans
can enjoy anyplace else.
And though this policy has been rooted in the best of
intentions, no other nation joins us in imposing
these sanctions, and it has had little effect
beyond providing the Cuban government with
a rationale for restrictions on its people.
Today, Cuba is still governed by the Castros
and the Communist Party that came to power
half a century ago.
Neither the American, nor Cuban people are well
served by a rigid policy that is rooted in events
that took place before most of us were born.
Consider that for more than 35 years,
we’ve had relations with China — a far larger
country also governed by a Communist Party.
Nearly two decades ago, we reestablished relations with
Vietnam, where we fought a war that claimed
more Americans than any Cold War confrontation.
That’s why — when I came into office —
I promised to re-examine our Cuba policy.
As a start, we lifted restrictions for
Cuban Americans to travel and send remittances
to their families in Cuba.
These changes, once controversial,
now seem obvious.
Cuban Americans have been reunited with their families,
and are the best possible ambassadors for our values.
And through these exchanges, a younger generation
of Cuban Americans has increasingly questioned
an approach that does more to keep Cuba closed
off from an interconnected world.
While I have been prepared to take additional steps for some
time, a major obstacle stood in our way — the wrongful
imprisonment, in Cuba, of a U.S. citizen
and USAID sub-contractor Alan Gross for five years.
Over many months, my administration has held
discussions with the Cuban government about Alan’s case,
and other aspects of our relationship.
His Holiness Pope Francis issued a personal appeal
to me, and to Cuba’s President Raul Castro,
urging us to resolve Alan’s case,
and to address Cuba’s interest in the release
of three Cuban agents who have been jailed
in the United States for over 15 years.
Today, Alan returned home — reunited with his
family at long last.
Alan was released by the Cuban government
on humanitarian grounds.
Separately, in exchange for the three Cuban agents,
Cuba today released one of the most important intelligence
agents that the United States has ever had in Cuba,
and who has been imprisoned for nearly two decades.
This man, whose sacrifice has been known to only a few,
provided America with the information that allowed
us to arrest the network of Cuban agents that included
the men transferred to Cuba today, as well
as other spies in the United States.
This man is now safely on our shores.
Having recovered these two men who sacrificed for our country,
I’m now taking steps to place the interests of the people
of both countries at the heart of our policy.
First, I’ve instructed Secretary Kerry to immediately
begin discussions with Cuba to reestablish diplomatic
relations that have been severed since January of 1961.
Going forward, the United States will reestablish an embassy
in Havana, and high-ranking officials will visit Cuba.
Where we can advance shared interests,
we will — on issues like health, migration,
counterterrorism, drug trafficking
and disaster response.
Indeed, we’ve seen the benefits of cooperation
between our countries before.
t was a Cuban, Carlos Finlay, who discovered that mosquitoes
carry yellow fever; his work helped Walter Reed fight it.
Cuba has sent hundreds of health care workers to Africa
to fight Ebola, and I believe American and Cuban
health care workers should work side by side
to stop the spread of this deadly disease.
Now, where we disagree, we will raise those differences
directly — as we will continue to do on issues
}related to democracy and human rights in Cuba.
But I believe that we can do more to support the Cuban
people and promote our values through engagement.
After all, these 50 years have shown
that isolation has not worked.
It’s time for a new approach.
Second, I’ve instructed Secretary Kerry to review
Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism.
This review will be guided by the facts and the law.
Terrorism has changed in the last several decades.
At a time when we are focused on threats from
al Qaeda to ISIL, a nation that meets our
conditions and renounces the use of terrorism
should not face this sanction.
Third, we are taking steps to increase travel, commerce,
and the flow of information to and from Cuba.
This is fundamentally about freedom and openness,
and also expresses my belief in the power
of people-to-people engagement.
With the changes I’m announcing today,
and Americans will be able to use
American credit and debit cards on the island.
Nobody represents America’s values better than the American
people, and I believe this contact will ultimately
do more to empower the Cuban people.
I also believe that more resources should be able
to reach the Cuban people.
So we’re significantly increasing the amount of money
that can be sent to Cuba, and removing limits on remittances
that support humanitarian projects, the Cuban people,
and the emerging Cuban private sector.
I believe that American businesses should not
be put at a disadvantage, and that increased commerce
is good for Americans and for Cubans.
}So we will facilitate authorized transactions
between the United States and Cuba.
U.S. financial institutions will be allowed
to open accounts at Cuban financial institutions.
And it will be easier for U.S. exporters
to sell goods in Cuba.
I believe in the free flow of information.
Unfortunately, our sanctions on Cuba have denied Cubans
}access to technology that has empowered individuals
around the globe.
So I’ve authorized increased telecommunications
connections between the United States and Cuba.
Businesses will be able to sell goods that enable Cubans
to communicate with the United States and other countries.
These are the steps that I can take as President
to change this policy.
The embargo that’s been imposed for decades
is now codified in legislation.
As these changes unfold, I look forward
to engaging Congress in an honest and serious
debate about lifting the embargo.
Yesterday, I spoke with Raul Castro to finalize
Alan Gross’s release and the exchange of prisoners,
and to describe how we will move forward.
I made clear my strong belief that Cuban society
is constrained by restrictions on its citizens.
In addition to the return of Alan Gross and the release
of our intelligence agent, we welcome Cuba’s decision
to release a substantial number of prisoners whose cases
were directly raised with the Cuban government by my team.
We welcome Cuba’s decision to provide more access
}to the Internet for its citizens, and to continue
increasing Nations and the International Committee
of the Red Cross that promote universal values.
But I’m under no illusion about the continued
barriers to freedom that remain for ordinary Cubans.
The United States believes that no Cubans should face harassment
or arrest or beatings simply because they’re exercising
a universal right to have their voices heard,
and we will continue to support civil society there.
While Cuba has made reforms to gradually open up its economy,
we continue to believe that Cuban workers should
be free to form unions, just as their citizens should
be free to participate in the political process.
Moreover, given Cuba’s history, I expect it will
continue to pursue foreign policies that will
at times be sharply at odds with American interests.
I do not expect the changes I am announcing today to bring
about a transformation of Cuban society overnight.
But I am convinced that through a policy of engagement,
we can more effectively stand up for our values and help
the Cuban people help themselves as they move
into the 21st century.
To those who oppose the steps I’m announcing today,
let me say that I respect your passion and share
your commitment to liberty and democracy.
The question is how we uphold that commitment.
I do not believe we can keep doing the same thing for
over five decades and expect a different result.
Moreover, it does not serve America’s interests,
or the Cuban people, to try to push Cuba toward collapse.
Even if that worked — and it hasn’t for 50 years — we know
from hard-earned experience that countries are more
likely to enjoy lasting transformation if their
people are not subjected to chaos.
We are calling on Cuba to unleash the potential of 11
million Cubans by ending unnecessary restrictions
on their political, social, and economic activities.
In that spirit, we should not allow U.S.
sanctions to add to the burden of Cuban citizens
that we seek to help.
To the Cuban people, America extends a hand of friendship.
Some of you have looked to us as a source of hope,
and we will continue to shine a light of freedom.
Others have seen us as a former colonizer
intent on controlling your future.
José Martí once said, “Liberty is the right
of every man to be honest.”
Today, I am being honest with you.
We can never erase the history between us,
but we believe that you should be empowered
to live with dignity and self-determination.
Cubans have a saying about daily life:
“No es facil” — it’s not easy.
Today, the United States wants to be a partner
in making the lives of ordinary Cubans
a little bit easier, more free, more prosperous.
To those who have supported these measures,
I thank you for being partners in our efforts.
In particular, I want to thank His Holiness Pope Francis,
whose moral example shows us the importance
of pursuing the world as it should be, rather than
simply settling for the world as it is; the government
of Canada, which hosted our discussions
with the Cuban government; and a bipartisan
group of congressmen who have worked tirelessly
or Alan Gross’s release, and for a new approach
to advancing our interests and values in Cuba.
Finally, our shift in policy towards Cuba comes
at a moment of renewed leadership in the Americas.
This April, we are prepared to have Cuba join the other
nations of the hemisphere at the Summit of the Americas.
But we will insist that civil society join us so that
citizens, not just leaders, are shaping our future.
And I call on all of my fellow leaders to give
meaning to the commitment to democracy and human rights
at the heart of the Inter-American Charter.
Let us leave behind the legacy of both colonization
and communism, the tyranny of drug cartels,
dictators and sham elections.
A future of greater peace, security and democratic
development is possible if we work together — not
to maintain power, not to secure vested interest,
but instead to advance the dreams of our citizens.
My fellow Americans, the city of Miami is only
200 miles or so from Havana.
Countless thousands of Cubans have come to Miami —
on planes and makeshift rafts; some with little but
the shirt on their back and hope in their hearts.
Today, Miami is often referred to as the capital
of Latin America.
But it is also a profoundly American city — a place that
reminds us that ideals matter more than the color
of our skin, or the circumstances of our birth;
a demonstration of what the Cuban people can achieve,
and the openness of the United States to our
family to the South.
Todos somos Americanos.
Change is hard — in our own lives,
and in the lives of nations.
And change is even harder when we carry
the heavy weight of history on our shoulders.
But today we are making these changes
because it is the right thing to do.
Today, America chooses to cut loose the shackles
of the past so as to reach for a better future —
for the Cuban people, for the American people,
for our entire hemisphere, and for the world.
Thank you.
God bless you and God bless
the United States of America.

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