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VOA双语新闻 - 年终报道:美国古巴修复关系举步

时间:2011-06-09 07:12来源:互联网 提供网友:wiyto08   字体: [ ]

  President Barack Obama has been under pressure to recast the nation's relations with Cuba and ease decades of restrictions1 on the Communist government. Already the president has ended travel limits on Cuban-Americans and called for new talks between the nations, but Havana says Washington is not going far enough.
As many people make plans to visit family for the holidays, Cuban-Americans are hoping to take advantage of new rules that ease travel to the island. Earlier this year, President Obama reversed a 2002 rule that limited how often Cuban-Americans could visit relatives or send remittances2 to the island. Supporters of the rule say fewer travelers meant less U.S. money was getting to the Cuban government, but critics say the rule simply kept families apart.
Since the change, travel agents say activity is up and some charter companies have added more flights to accommodate the flood of Cuban-Americans making trips back to the island.
In Miami, Alvaro Fernandez advocated against the U.S. travel restrictions for years. He was one of the first to take advantage of the new rules and return to Cuba earlier this year, and he says many other Cuban-Americans are doing the same.
"This time of the year is when people travel," he explained. "It's a family thing, they want to spend the end of the year together. So now with travel easier, more people are going."
At the same time, the Obama administration has been reaching out to the Cuban government to end decades of isolation3 and mutual4 distrust. Officials met in September to discuss renewing direct mail. They also plan to reopen talks on migration5 issues, which were canceled by former President George W. Bush in 2003.
Officials on both sides say it will take numerous efforts and a prolonged commitment to bring together the former Cold War foes6.
Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly in September, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said the ball is in Washington's court. He acknowledged the steps that U.S. officials have taken this year, but said they were moving far too slowly.
Rodriguez told the assembly that the chief problem is that the U.S. embargo7 against trade and financial activity remains8 in place.
Washington has enforced the embargo for nearly 50 years, in part to press the Communist nation to move toward democratization and greater respect for human rights. Some U.S. leaders say the hard-line stance has clearly failed to achieve the goal.
Now, lawmakers are working on a bill that would enable all Americans to travel to Cuba, not just Cuban-Americans. Supporters of the House measure say one of the best ways to spur democratic change in Cuba is through direct contact with Americans visiting the island.
Phil Peters, a Cuba analyst9 for the Lexington Institute near Washington, says the bill has a good chance of winning approval early next year.
"They got 180 co-sponsors of this bill to end all the travel restrictions, so that certainly puts them in striking distance," he said.
Critics of the proposal say it could have the opposite effect in Cuba, and actually empower the repressive government. Cuba's government controls all major economic sectors10 on the island, so critics say an increase in tourist activity would increase the flow of government revenue.
At a recent congressional hearing, Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen attacked the travel proposal, saying scores of other foreign visitors have had little impact inside Cuba.
"European visitors, visitors from Mexico. Canada sends so many visitors to Cuba. What has the Cuban regime done? Has it unclenched its fist? Did I miss that?" she asked.
Critics of Havana also point to recent events on the island as evidence that Cuban officials have no desire to release political prisoners or stop violent crackdowns on dissidents. Popular Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez claims that plain-clothes officers beat her on the way to a recent protest. Authorities also detained several dissidents during a march to celebrate Human Rights Day in December.
University of Nebraska at Omaha professor Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado recently visited Cuba to explore opportunities for rapprochement between the two governments. He says many Cuban leaders have a sincere interest in improving ties, but there are rogue11 elements in the Cuban government who are not prepared to relax political control on the island.
"They want to remind people that yes, there certainly is hope for the future, but we are still in control here," he said.
In coming months, Benjamin-Alvarado says U.S. officials will have a delicate job of pressing Cuba to open up while at the same time not appearing to bully12 its smaller neighbor. He says there are a number of non-political areas, such as anti-drug operations, where the two governments can begin to cooperate. But it may be a long and slow process to overcome five decades of tension and mutual distrust.


1 restrictions 81e12dac658cfd4c590486dd6f7523cf     
约束( restriction的名词复数 ); 管制; 制约因素; 带限制性的条件(或规则)
  • I found the restrictions irksome. 我对那些限制感到很烦。
  • a snaggle of restrictions 杂乱无章的种种限制
2 remittances 1fe103ae250a4b47c91d24b461c02b7f     
n.汇寄( remittance的名词复数 );汇款,汇款额
  • He sends regular remittances to his parents. 他定期汇款给他父母。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Remittances sometimes account for as much as 20% of GDP. 在这些国家中,此类汇款有时会占到GDP的20%之多。 来自互联网
3 isolation 7qMzTS     
  • The millionaire lived in complete isolation from the outside world.这位富翁过着与世隔绝的生活。
  • He retired and lived in relative isolation.他退休后,生活比较孤寂。
4 mutual eFOxC     
  • We must pull together for mutual interest.我们必须为相互的利益而通力合作。
  • Mutual interests tied us together.相互的利害关系把我们联系在一起。
5 migration mDpxj     
  • Swallows begin their migration south in autumn.燕子在秋季开始向南方迁移。
  • He described the vernal migration of birds in detail.他详细地描述了鸟的春季移居。
6 foes 4bc278ea3ab43d15b718ac742dc96914     
敌人,仇敌( foe的名词复数 )
  • They steadily pushed their foes before them. 他们不停地追击敌人。
  • She had fought many battles, vanquished many foes. 她身经百战,挫败过很多对手。
7 embargo OqixW     
  • This country put an oil embargo on an enemy country.该国对敌国实行石油禁运。
  • During the war,they laid an embargo on commerce with enemy countries.在战争期间,他们禁止与敌国通商。
8 remains 1kMzTy     
  • He ate the remains of food hungrily.他狼吞虎咽地吃剩余的食物。
  • The remains of the meal were fed to the dog.残羹剩饭喂狗了。
9 analyst gw7zn     
  • What can you contribute to the position of a market analyst?你有什么技能可有助于市场分析员的职务?
  • The analyst is required to interpolate values between standards.分析人员需要在这些标准中插入一些值。
10 sectors 218ffb34fa5fb6bc1691e90cd45ad627     
n.部门( sector的名词复数 );领域;防御地区;扇形
  • Berlin was divided into four sectors after the war. 战后柏林分成了4 个区。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Industry and agriculture are the two important sectors of the national economy. 工业和农业是国民经济的两个重要部门。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
11 rogue qCfzo     
  • The little rogue had his grandpa's glasses on.这淘气鬼带上了他祖父的眼镜。
  • They defined him as a rogue.他们确定他为骗子。
12 bully bully     
  • A bully is always a coward.暴汉常是懦夫。
  • The boy gave the bully a pelt on the back with a pebble.那男孩用石子掷击小流氓的背脊。
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