President Barack Obama visited Cuba on March 20, making him the first American President in 88 years to be on Cuban soil. One of Obama’s goals throughout his presidency was to use a different approach when trying to recreate a relationship with the country that sits 90 miles off of Florida’s coast. In the past, American Presidents have attempted to pressure Cuba into reforming their policies, however, Obama has decided to form a diplomatic relationship with the country.
The creation of a relationship with Cuba is a work in progress. However, Obama’s visit is a first step towards positive diplomatic relations.Unfortunately, during his visit, the terrorist attack on Brussels occurred. The President was informed of the attack the morning of March 22 and soon after called the Belgium Prime Minister, Charles Michel, to offer his condolences.
On the day of the attacks, the President prepared to give a speech in Havana regarding the hopes for a new relationship with Cuba. During the speech he addressed the attack in Brussels and angered many people because he spent less than a minute on the topic.
After the speech, Obama and Raul Castro, Cuba’s President, attended a historical baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban National Team. Many believed that the President should have returned to Washington once he learned of the attacks, or at least not attended the baseball game. At the game, the President gave an interview with ESPN, where he once again mentioned the attack in Brussels, but only briefly. The brief mention again angered many as they viewed the President’s response as too casual with not enough emotion.
Obama’s response to the upset reactions was to remind people the importance of the Cuba visit. The visit proved important in recreating a relationship with the Cuban people. The President also reminded people that terrorists should not dictate America’s schedule. If he would have dropped everything and returned to America then that would give the terrorists more power than they deserve.
While Obama’s response to the attack in Brussels did not measure up to people’s expectations, it does not mean that the American government is ignoring or overlooking the terrorist attack.