Barack Obama's Cuba visit marked by controversy in US

 Barack Obama will head to Cuba next month for the first visit by a US president to the Caribbean island nation in 88 years, in a trip fraught with controversy at home though it is being hailed across the world as a progressive development.

IANS| Updated: Feb 19, 2016, 15:11 PM IST
Barack Obama's Cuba visit marked by controversy in US

Washington: Barack Obama will head to Cuba next month for the first visit by a US president to the Caribbean island nation in 88 years, in a trip fraught with controversy at home though it is being hailed across the world as a progressive development.

Obama announced last summer the re-establishment of relations with the island nation in a historic move, putting an end to the chill that has featured relations between the two neighbours for more than 50 years, Xinhua reported.

But critics in the Republican Party and among the Cuban-American community have decried the move, saying the Obama administration would give Cuba what they called undeserved recognition and would get nothing in return.

In an online post after the trip`s announcement, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes wrote: "There is much more that can be done -- by the US and by the Cuban government -- to advance this opening in ways that will be good for Cubans, and good for the United States. That is why President Obama is travelling to Cuba."

But many Republicans continue to view Cuba in an unfavourable light. Two of the biggest critics of Obama`s move are Republican presidential hopefuls Senator Ted Cruz and Senator Marco Rubio.

Experts said both of them have a shot at clinching the Republican nomination for the 2016 race to the White House.

Both senators, sons of Cuban immigrants, hold opinions that reflect a long-standing argument among the Cuban-American community -- namely, Washington should not open up to full relations with Havana till certain stipulations are met on issues such as human rights.