Speaking, during his visit to Cuba, at the Gran Teatro de La Habana ‘Alicia Alonso’ and after being informed of the attacks in Brussels that caused 20 dead in a subway station and 14 at the airport of the capital, the president said the prayers of the people of the United States go to the Belgian people.
“We will do everything necessary to condemn those guilty and reiterate the need to be together to address the scourge”, he said.
The president’s statements opened his message to the Cuban people that was broadcast live on local television and foreign media of about 55 countries.
Obama then quoted the poem by the National Hero of Cuba, José Martí, ‘Cultivo una rosa blanca’ (I Cultivate a White Rose), whose verses are devoted to friends and peace.
He kept on saying that the Cuban People and its characteristics defined the new scenarios for the relations between Cuba and his country that evolve toward normalization. The people of the island arouse recognition and admiration in the United States.
That was fundamental, he explained, for his administration to decide to change the policy of isolation in which Washington had plunged Havana for over half a century, since the triumph of the Revolution in 1959.
Cubans are as innovative as any other people of the world, said Obama, who believed the inhabitants of the island can be completely inserted in global economy for their creative and endeavoured capacity.
In this regard he said, “Cubans can invent from air”, a phrase of contemporary slang in the country which denotes nationals with capacity to grow and persevere before material shortages, many of these caused by the U.S. economic blockade, that still persists despite recent measures to make it more flexible.
Obama recognized Cuban talent, promoted by an educational system that ‘revalues all boys and girls’.
In the last years, Cuba is opening up to the world, allowing for that talent to develop and, together with the U.S. people many things can be achieved, he emphasized.
On the other hand, the US blockade is an obsolete burden that weighs on the people of Cuba, US President Barack Obama admitted. As the president of the United States, he said, I asked the Congress to lift the blockade, because it is an obsolete burden on the Cuban people.
The president pointed out that based on a policy aimed at supporting Cuba, his government is already making changes that are possible from the administrative sphere to favor bilateral relations.
In that regard, he noted that there will be exchanges in the scientific field to find cures to diseases.
He also mentioned the flexibility to send remittances and the promotion of travel by US citizens to Cuba, which will contribute to increasing revenues.
Obama noted the potentialities of development in Cuba and mentioned, as an example, the entrepreneurship of self-employ workers, who can innovate and adjust to the current times without losing their identity.
The President of the United States, Barack Obama, also praised the Cuban internationalist doctors, who assist, in solidarity, disadvantaged population segments in dozens of countries around the world.
In addition to the recognition of the doctors, the result of a system of universal free public health, the president celebrated the Cuban talent, which in his words is derived from the educational system, similar to the health sector, ‘that values all boys and girls’.
Obama’s speech to civil society, witnessed by Cuban President Raul Castro and other authorities of the island, is one of the latest activities of his official three-day visit, which ends in the afternoon and is described as historical as it is the first by a head of the White House to Cuba in 88 years.
The stay and the program he fulfilled, which concludes with his attendance to a baseball game between the Cuban national team and the team of Major League Tampa Bay Rays, reaffirm the common will of the two nations to pursue a joint path towards normalization of bilateral links.
This process began in December 2014, when Obama and Raul Castro announced the decision to initiate a process towards restoring diplomatic relations and subsequent normalization.
With information from agencies