The Journey Begins...

"A Journey Of A Thousand Miles Begins With A Single Step" -  Interpreted from a Chinese Proverb, Chapter 64 of the Tao Te Ching ascribed to Laozi.
Thus the journey towards normalizing relations  with Cuba begins. It's been 55 years since ties with the Communist Island Nation were severed. Since that time, the whole world has shifted. Nixon went to Communist China to start the normalization of relations with them. We now have exchanged Ambassadors and trade with each other. Relations with the Soviet Union went from Glasnost  to seeing the USSR break apart. Germany is one country again. The one thing that remained constant was the hostility between the United States and Cuba.
  Now, I understand the feelings of those in the Cuban-American community who do not want to see the US recognize Cuba until the Castro brothers, and communism, have passed into history. Many have suffered under the regime. 
Many families were torn apart... many were killed or disappeared. 
  It was thought that if an embargo was put in place, the communist government would soon fail. It did not. When the Soviet Union came apart, it was again thought that Cuba could not last long. It's still there. Isolation did not work. The only people who suffered from the embargo were the Cuban people. Not the Castro brothers.  Not those in the ruling Communist government. Only the common people, the people who's hearts and minds the US wished to win over, suffered from the isolation and deprivation.
  Things change only through the open and free dialogue between peoples. You cannot bring about change by turning your back on a problem. Only by talking can barriers be brought down, Only by talking can differences be addressed and solutions found. 
 By opening the door to tourism and trade, we can begin the healing so sorely needed. We can reach the everyday people of this nation 90 miles off of our coast. Perhaps, sometime in the near future, we can once again become real friends. I hope so.
  In my lifetime, I have seen the specter of nuclear annihilation grow and then diminish as the nuclear powers talked and reached treaties. MAD was not an option that anyone wanted. I have seen the constant rise and fall of threats to peace and security. I have seen governments and dictators come and go. We are faced with so many threats to our security, and yet we seem to endure. I hope that we can put the animosity of the past behind us and work towards a new day of friendly relations with Cuba and the rest of Latin America. Nixon opened the door to China. Obama has now done the the same in Cuba. The first step has been taken. Let us see where the path leads.
  As always, I wish you all Peace, Love, and Tranquility.

 John Zaffino, Kent Lakes, New York March 23, 2016
  

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