Just hours after terrorist attacks in Brussels left dozens dead or wounded, President Barak Obama spoke directly to the Cuban people Tuesday morning. He condemned the violence saying, “We must unite, we must be together regardless of race, nationality, or faith,” and then shifted his focus to US Cuban relations.
In the televised broadcast from the Gran Teatro in Havana, he urged the citizens of Cuba to embrace American democracy, outlining the steps he believes they should take in order to ease the path to normalization of relations between the two neighboring countries.
“I have come here to bury the last remnants of the Cold War in the Americas,” Obama said.
“Here’s what the Cuban people need to understand: I welcome this open debate and dialogue.” —@POTUS in Havana https://t.co/qexT2H7zuZ
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) March 22, 2016
Since Obama announced the historic move to restore relations in December of 2014, questions have repeatedly arisen concerning the timing of this reconciliation after more than five decades of hostilities. On Tuesday, Obama said that the approach employed by the United States since the Cold War was no longer working and that “we have to have the courage to acknowledge that truth.”
He also called on Congress to lift the embargo to help expedite the normalization process.
Donald Trump, the Republican front-runner, took no time to respond to Obama’s speech, slamming the president for being in Havana at all.
President Obama looks and sounds so ridiculous making his speech in Cuba, especially in the shadows of Brussels. He is being treated badly!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 22, 2016