(Community Matters) Senator Obama spoke on Friday in Miami at the Cuban American National Foundation:
. . . . It’s time for more than tough talk that never yields results. It’s time for a new strategy. There are no better ambassadors for freedom than Cuban Americans. That’s why I will immediately allow unlimited family travel and remittances to the island. It’s time to let Cuban Americans see their mothers and fathers, their sisters and brothers. . . .
We cannot ignore suffering to our south, nor stand for the globalization of the empty stomach. Responsibility rests with governments in the region, but we must do our part. I will substantially increase our aid to the Americas, and embrace the Millennium Development Goals of halving global poverty by 2015. We’ll target support to bottom-up growth through micro financing, vocational training, and small enterprise development. It’s time for theUnited States to once again be a beacon of hope and a helping hand. . . .
Trade must be part of this solution. But I strongly reject the Bush-McCain view that any trade deal is a good deal. We cannot accept trade that enriches those at the top of the ladder while cutting out the rungs at the bottom. It’s time to understand that the goal of our trade policy must be trade that works for all people in all countries. Like Central America’s bishops, I opposed CAFTA because the needs of workers were not adequately addressed. I supported the Peru Free Trade Agreement because there were binding labor and environmental provisions. That’s the kind of trade we need – trade that lifts up workers, not just a corporate bottom line.There’s nothing protectionist about demanding that trade spreads the benefits of globalization, instead of steering them to special interests while we short-change workers at home and abroad. If John McCain believes – as he said the other day – that 80 percent of Americans think we’re on the wrong track because we haven’t passed free trade with Colombia, then he’s totally out of touch with the American people. And if John McCain thinks that we can paper over our failure of leadership in the region by occasionally passing trade deals with friendly governments, then he’s out of touch with the people of the Americas. . . .