Cuba was not represented at the summit, but Obama noted that the leaders of other countries highlighted Cuba's program that sends "thousands of doctors" throughout the hemisphere. A number of countries depend heavily on Cuba's medical assistance program.
"It's a reminder ... that if our only interaction with many of these countries is drug interdiction - if our only interaction is military - then we may not be developing the connections that can over time increase our influence and have a beneficial effect," he said.
Obama called Cuban President Raul Castro's recent indication of a willingness to discuss human rights issues "a sign of progress." But he said the Cuban government could send a much clearer, more positive signal by releasing political prisoners or reducing fees charged on remittances that Americans send to relatives in the country.
Change in Cuba will not come quickly, but it is good for other countries to see that "we are not dug in into policies that were formulated before I was born," Obama said.
What do you think? Should the U.S. lift the trade embargo against Cuba?
– Can’t fit into a single seat
– Can’t properly buckle the seat belt using an extender
– Can’t put the seat’s armrests down when seated
If there are extra seats available, the passenger will be
moved next to an empty seat at no charge. But if the
flight is full, they either have to buy an upgrade to
business or first class where the seats are bigger or
change to another flight and buy a second seat.
What do you think?
Here are some of the stories that will be making news later today:
Congress gets back to business today after a two-week spring recess. The Senate will convene at 2pm ET. Before leaving town, both the House and Senate passed versions of the president's proposed budget. Now lawmakers must work out a final version.
Throughout the day in Colorado, vigils will be held for victims of the Columbine shootings. It was 10 years ago today that 13 people were killed when two students went on a shooting rampage before killing themselves.
At 9am ET, a suit brought by Hurricane Katrina flooding victims will finally go to trial. The four-week trial won't have a jury. A federal court judge will decide whether the Army Corps of Engineers should be held liable for failed levees that caused catastrophic flooding in New Orleans and St. Bernard Parish. Billions of dollars in damages are at stake.
Here are the big stories on the agenda today.