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October 28, 2009
Posted: 1610 GMT

...THAT is the question.

Today, as in the last 17 years, the United Nations is taking up a resolution, demanding that the United States end its trade embargo on Cuba. Every year, the measure has overwhelmingly passed. This year, the same is expected.

But, this year, the resolution comes with a bit of a change, in the American attitude towards Cuba. Since President Barack Obama took power, he's slowly tried to ease tensions with the communist island. Yet, the embargo remains in place. And, there are no signs that that will change. Some say the reason is simple: Florida.

The southern U.S. state is among the most important, when it comes to national politics. Arguably, no one can become president of the U.S. without winning the "Sunshine State" - as we all saw in 2000, when George W. Bush took the White House, thanks to the close vote in Florida. Cubans make up a significant portion of that vote, in the heavily populated area of Miami. And, in Washington, the Cuban lobby is also quite strong - with 5 Cuban-American members of Congress.

As a result, presidents from BOTH political parties have shyed away from eliminating the embargo. But, will Barack Obama be different?

One thing going in his favor is the growing generational divide within the Cuban-American community. Namely, younger Cubans are more and more inclined to support the end of the embargo. I can make that claim, because I am one of those young Cuban-Americans. My generation (known by some, as "Generación Ñ") did not grow up, during the early years of the Castro regime. We did not experience the brutality of the revolution. We did not see the drastic changes that happened in Cuba, after Fidel Castro took power. And, for a large group of us (myself included), we weren't even born on the island. Therefore, a lot of people in "Generación Ñ" see the embargo elimination, as a good change. After all, the embargo hasn't resulted in democratic change on the island. So, a new plan is probably a good idea. No??

Only time will tell what Pres. Obama plans to do. But, like he said during the presidential campaign, it's time for a "change" - both in U.S. policy and in Havana's government.

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Filed under: Cuba


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