Is President Obama really changing
- The Herald’s Carol Rosenberg reports that U.S. and Cuban troops have conducted small joint exercises at and around the
base. The latest took place last week, on both sides of the fenceline, involving firefighting and medical assistance. The exercises have been taking place for “more than a decade,” Guantanamo reports. What is new is that the Obama Administration, unlike its predecessors, released information about them. Rosenberg
- Last week’s migration talks represented the resumption of twice-yearly conversations on that topic that the Bush Administration had suspended. A Voice of America editorial (“Engaging with Cuba”) seems to indicate that talks on other subjects would be possible. It cites “the
interest in pursuing constructive discussions with U.S. to advance Havana interests on issues of mutual concern.” U.S.
- This one, like the Microsoft Instant Messenger case discussed here, could be a case of a new Administration carrying out actions initiated by its predecessor. Treasury issued an announcement (pdf) last week that it had fined Philips Electronics of North America $128,750 for “an employee’s travel to
in connection with the sale of medical equipment by a foreign affiliate.” President Obama has made it clear that he wants to maintain the embargo, but cracking down on the sale of medical equipment seems pretty extreme. This report says the equipment was made by a Cuba subsidiary, but I have seen no report that indicates exactly what was sold to Brazil . In his Spanish-language blog, Fernando Ravsberg of the BBC argues that the action sends a peculiar political message, and notes that “not even two countries at war sabotage the functioning of public medical services.” Cuba