President Obama's first overture to Cuba is a good one.

It is useful to remember that the Bush administration inherited a policy that allowed U.S. residents with families in Cuba to visit relatives on the island once per year. In the election year of 2004 it tightened that restriction to one visit of 14 days every three years.

Whatever its merits from a geopolitical standpoint (and we don't imagine there are many), this arbitrary limit was a hard blow to Cuban-American families.

As step one in the long task of bringing about constructive change in our relationship with Cuba, we can't think of a better place to start.

Fidel himself (the ailing former president blogs on a Cuban website) called the move "positive in itself, although minimal," adding that "many others are needed." In a separate post, he said, "The conditions have been created for Obama to employ his talent in a constructive policy that would put an end to the one that has failed for almost 50 years."

Castro said, and has said, a great deal more than that, and not all of it was remotely conciliatory, but there is a hint of an opening here, and we hope both sides can make the most of it.

We realize that much has to happen before the U.S. and Cuba can begin to normalize relations, but as far as we're concerned it can't happen soon enough.

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