In December 2014, the United States and Cuba began working to thaw relations between the two nations, which hadn’t changed since the Cold War, despite the dissolution of the Soviet Union. However, in the last year of his presidency, Obama hopes to visit the island nation just 90 miles south of Miami -- on the condition that he can meet with pro-democracy political dissidents.
“If I go on a visit, then part of the deal is that I get to talk to everybody,” Obama told Yahoo News. “I’ve made very clear in my conversations directly with President [Raul] Castro that we would continue to reach out to those who want to broaden the scope for free expression inside of Cuba.”
Obama said he hopes to make the trip “sometime next year” and that his aides have recognized enough change in Cuba that “now would be a good time to shine a light on progress that’s been made, but also maybe [go] there to nudge the Cuban government in a new direction.”
According to CNN, Obama also reaffirmed his commitment to shutting the military base and prison at Guantanamo Bay, saying: "Between myself and the Bush administration, hundreds of people have been released. ... We assume that ... a handful of them are going to be embittered and still engaging in anti-U.S. activities and trying to link up potentially with their old groups.
"The bottom line is that the strategic gains we make by closing Guantanamo will outweigh, you know, those low-level individuals who, you know, have been released so far."