MIAMI - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is leaping into the long-running Cuba debate by calling for the U.S. to ease restrictions for Cuban-Americans who want to visit the island or send money home.
Obama's campaign said Monday that, if elected, the Illinois senator would lift restrictions imposed by the Bush administration and allow Cuban-Americans to visit their relatives more frequently, as well as ease limits on the amount of money they can send to their families.
"Senator Obama feels that the Bush administration has made a humanitarian and a strategic blunder," spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in an e-mail. "His concern is that this has had a profoundly negative impact on the Cuban people, making them more dependent on the Castro regime, thus isolating them from the transformative message carried by Cuban-Americans."
Obama was explaining his position in an op-ed piece Tuesday in The Miami Herald.
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It's been long since past the time that the embargo should be lifted. I want it lifted so that we can tell the Cubans to stay the hell where they are as we do the immigrants from Haiti, who get thrown back into the water even if they get here.
Oil was found near Cuba.
I stand by my belief that the next President of the United States, irrespective of party, is going to lift the embargo. Obama is putting this out there, and will be seen as having taken initiative. While, of course, the old horses will scream bloody murder, the New Generation of Cubans do not take such a hard stance, and this will not offend them.
Good one, Senator Obama.