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Expert Says Improved U.S-Cuba Relations Good Lesson for Zimbabwe

U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuba's President Raul Castro shake hands during their first meeting on the second day of Obama's visit to Cuba, in Havana, March 21, 2016.

U.S. President Barack Obama is meeting with Cuban President Raul Castro in Havana, where the two leaders are expected to discuss ways to advance normalization and areas of disagreement, such as human rights.

President Obama began the second day of his three-day visit with a wreath laying ceremony at the monument of Cuban Independence hero Jose Marti at the plaza of the revolution. He then walked to the nearby revolutionary palace, where he was greeted by Castro with a formal ceremony.

Obama made history Sunday as the first sitting U.S. President in nearly 90 years to visit the island nation. The U.S. president is scheduled to meet with a range of people, from government leaders, to young people, entrepreneurs, members of civil society and dissidents.

Zimbabwean, Alex Magaisa, a university lecturer based in London, who visited Cuba last year, told VOA Studio 7 Zimbabweans have a lot to learn from relations between Cuba and the United States.

"I think it's a significant development. I think it's important to learn from the way other nations deal with problems that are similar to ours. We are currently a pariah state mostly in regard to the West there are problems yes but they are not problems that cannot be solved. I think Cuba shows us that even after so many decades and decades it's still possible to find a solution," said Magaisa.

He added that "I think there is a bright future for Cuba and I think people like us in Zimbabwe should also take lessons from that to see that it’s possible to resolve challenges and move forward," he added.

Magaisa, however, cautioned that Zimbabwe can only re-engage the West under a new leadership as the current ruling elite is not interested in changing its political rhetoric.

"Zimbabwe has had challenges with the United States and other countries in the West and the source of the problems they need to be dealt with. It’s not to say that Zimbabwe takes 100% of the blame, I think there are also challenging things that the United States should look at but they is also a point at which both parties will stop demonizing each other and find a solution but that solution has to be grounded on development within Zimbabwe itself," said Magaisa.

"Our system, democracy, human rights and all sort of things these are critical things these are not just to please the Americans or British or anyone but it’s for the good of our own people, so it's not impossible that there will be change and I am sure there will be change at some point,” said Magaisa.

Interview with Alex Magaisa
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