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Cuba is our neighbor now we are beginning to act like it

Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. | 3/22/2016, 9:52 p.m.
President Barack Obama is setting a high bar for the next --man or woman who sits in the Oval Office. ...

President Barack Obama is setting a high bar for the

next --man or woman who sits in the Oval Office. His history-making family

trip to Cuba today is just the latest example of why he will be such a

tough act to follow and sorely missed by the country and the world.

The trip brings us a step closer to peace and economic development for us

and our neighbors throughout the entire hemisphere – a hemisphere in which

English is the minority language. A good neighbor policy is smart and

productive and the right thing to do. Cuba is our neighbor and now we are

beginning to act like it.

Cuba has been open to such a policy for a long time. That is what President

Fidel Castro told me in 1984 when I visited the island nation on a mission

of mercy and peace. Two days later, I brought home 48 Cuban American and

Cuban prisoners turned over to me by the Cuban government in a sign of good

faith and a deep desire for normalization.

“Whatever our conflicts have been in the past, we must forgive each other,

we must redeem each other, respect each other, and move on,” I said then

after Fidel Castro met me at the airport in Havana. “We must give peace a

chance.”

It took President Obama to do it, despite a do-nothing Congress committed

to obstruction. The world can only hope that the next President of the

United States has the good sense and the courage to follow in his footsteps.