USM history professor: "Time is right" for new U.S.-Cuba relationship

Dr. Matthew Casey, asst. professor of history, joined the USM faculty in 2012.
Dr. Matthew Casey, asst. professor of history, joined the USM faculty in 2012.

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A University of Southern Mississippi assistant professor of history said Wednesday that the "time is right" for a new political and diplomatic relationship with Cuba.

Dr. Matthew Casey, who teaches courses on Latin-American and Caribbean history, reacted to an announcement by President Obama that the U.S. was re-establishing diplomatic relations, as well as increasing economic and travel ties with that communist island nation.

Obama said "isolation has not worked," and "it's time for a new approach."

The president's announcement was accompanied by Cuba's release of American Alan Gross, who's been jailed in that country for five years.

The Cubans also released a U.S. spy held in Cuba in a swap for three Cubans jailed in Florida.

"The Cold War is over and now, in some ways, these governments are able to come at this problem with a clean slate, because the prisoners on both sides were released," said Casey.

Casey also said increasing interaction with the Cuban people could benefit them socially and politically.