Obama Calls For 'New Beginning' With Cuba

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 17, 2009 10:58 PM CDT

(Newser) – Adding warm words to the ongoing thaw in US-Cuba relations, President Obama said today he sought "a new beginning" with the island's communist regime, the Los Angeles Times reports. Obama spoke after arriving at the Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. "I am prepared to have my administration engage with the Cuban government on a wide range of issues," he said.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also responded to Cuban President Raul Castro's offer to engage in talks, saying Washington had "failed" in its policy toward Cuba and was "taking a very serious look at how to respond," the BBC reports. Cuba is banned from the summit, because its leaders are not democratically elected, but some Latin American leaders say they want the island nation readmitted.