Obama Hopes for U.S. Embassy in Cuba Before April Summit in Panama
REUTERS: "O.K. and on Cuba, do you expect to have relations, diplomatic relations restored between Cuba and the United States before the Panama summit?"
OBAMA: "My hope is that we will be able to open an embassy, and that some of the initial groundwork will have been laid. Keep in mind that our expectation has never been that we would achieve full normalization immediately. There is a lot of work that still has to be done. But we are going down a path in which we can open up our relations to Cuba in a way that ultimately will prompt more change in Cuba. And we’re already seeing it. The very fact that since our announcement, the Cuban government has begun to discuss ways in which they are going to reorganize their economy to accommodate for possible foreign investment, that’s already forcing a series of changes that promises to open up more opportunities for entrepreneurs, more transparency in terms of what’s happening in their economy, and that’s always been the premise of this policy. That after 50 years of a policy that didn’t work, we need to try something new that encourages and ultimately I think forces the Cuban government to engage in a modern economy. And that will create more space for freedom for the Cuban people."