April 17th, 2009
07:40 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama: 'We can move U.S.-Cuban relations in a new direction'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/04/17/obama.latinamerica/art.obama.trinidad.afp.gi.jpg caption="President Obama is saluted as he arrives Friday in Trinidad for the Summit of the Americas."]

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago (CNN) - In remarks to be delivered Friday to representatives of 34 countries at the Summit of the Americas here, President Obama says he is seeking "a new beginning" in U.S. relations with Cuba.

"Every one of our nations has a right to follow its own path," a transcript of his prepared remarks reads. "But we all have a responsibility to see that the people of the Americas have the ability to pursue their own dreams in democratic societies.

"Toward that end, the United States seeks a new beginning with Cuba."

Obama arrived in Trinidad and Tobago on Friday evening for the Summit of the Americas, a key meeting of hemispheric powers. Although it was not represented at the talks, the subject of Cuba dominated the president's speech.

In the prepared remarks, Obama adds that "decades of mistrust" must be overcome, but notes that he has already loosened restrictions that limited Americans from traveling to visit relatives in Cuba and from sending money to them.

Obama lifted all restrictions Monday on the ability of individuals to visit relatives in Cuba, as well as to send them remittances.

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Filed under: Cuba • Obama administration • President Obama
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