President Obama has come home after his trip to South America. Obama cites the visit as a positive one that was very progressive. The Summit of the Americas, which featured thirty-four countries, helped Obama prove his point that relations in North and South America can be heavily improved, especially after age old ideals are dropped.
President Obama’s major progressions made during his trip were in relationships with both Cuba and Venezuela. Obama admitted that ultimate peace has not been reached, but that their ability to “disagree respectfully” is a major step up.
Obama’s previous adjustment on the policies on traveling to Cuba was the first sign of a relieved tension in the western hemisphere. While Cuban representatives were not at the Summit, other nations did not hesitate to mention their approval of Cuba and their appreciation for the medical assistance that Cuba provides to other nations throughout the hemisphere.
Raul Castro, the Cuban President, has recently expressed his readiness to talk about human rights. However, even with Castro’s inclination to open up the lines of communication more, Obama states he would still like to see the release of political prisoners and more leniency towards the charge of American’s sending packages to family members living on the island.
Obama was not ignorant to the fact that change in Cuba’s policies will not change overnight, but did state that change is expected. Obama said that United States policies were not set in stone and can be changed if Cuba is willing to work with America.
Obama’s recent progressions in the United States relationship with Venezuela have been brought into question. America and Venezuela have very different views on foreign, as well as economic policies. However, Obama says that he does not see anything wrong with having a more positive relationship with Venezuela.
Further criticism of the trip included Obama’s reception of a gift from Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. The gift was a book, Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent. The negativity towards the gift has been highly unwarranted.
The relationship between the United States, Venezuela, Cuba, and the rest of the countries in North and South America has seen vast improvements due to the work of President Barack Obama in the last few weeks. Only more progress is seen ahead for the relations and overall well being of the Western Hemisphere.