Common Core State Standard
SL.CCS.1/2/3/4 Grades 6-12: An essay of a current news event is provided for discussion to encourage participation, but also inspire the use of evidence to support logical claims using the main ideas of the article. Students must analyze background information provided about a current event within the news, draw out the main ideas and key details, and review different opinions on the issue. Then, students should present their own claims using facts and analysis for support.

FOR THE WEEK OF APR 20, 2015

President Obama brings us closer to restoring ties with Cuba

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Read a Cuba article from the paper's archive. Why do or don't you want to visit?
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Look for news from another Western Hemisphere country and tell at least one fact you learn.
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Now find coverage of a different U.S. foreign policy topic. Summarize the key issue or issues.

Cuba and the United States, separated by just 90 miles of water, are taking historic steps to become more neighborly. President Obama and President Raul Castro shook hands and spoke for an hour two weeks ago – the first time each country's leaders had met in nearly 60 years. Three days later, Obama said he'll remove Cuba from a list of terrorist nations. Negotiations are under way to reopen embassies in each capital and restore diplomatic ties that were cut in 1961 by President John Kennedy.

The Communist island and America still are far apart politically, and our president has to tip-toe carefully as he takes politically sensitive steps to ease more than five decades of distrust and confrontation. "Our governments will continue to have differences,” the U.S. president said after meeting Castro at a regional summit in Panama. "We agreed that we can continue to take steps forward that advance our mutual interests." Relations deteriorated after a 1959 Cuban revolution led by Fidel Castro, brother of the current president. President Kennedy in 1962 imposed a trade embargo that still makes it illegal for U.S. corporations to do business with Cuba. He also barred Americans from visiting the island, a restriction Obama is relaxing gradually.

Obama last week notified Congress that he'll remove Cuba from the terror-sponsor list because it hasn't aided international terrorism during the past six months and vows not to do so. Republican critics of efforts to ease Cuban-U.S. strains include two 2016 presidential candidates -- Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, the son of a Cuban exile father, and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, whose Cuban parents immigrated before Fidel Castro seized power. Rubio calls Obama's moves "concessions to a tyranny." Cruz says: “America is, in effect, writing the check that will allow the Castros to follow Vladimir Putins playbook of repression."

Obama says: "Those controversies date back to before I was born. We're caught in a time warp, going back to the 1950s." – April 11 news conference in Panama

Raul Castro says: "Let's not fool ourselves. We have a lot of differences. We're willing to talk about everything with patience, with a lot of patience." – After meeting Obama

U.S. Republican says: "President Obama's decision to remove Cuba from the state sponsor of terror list is based on politics and not facts." – Congresswoman Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Miami (Cuban-born)

Front Page Talking Points is written by Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2015
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