Emily Chow

From Miami: Cuban Americans Call for Change in Outdated Cuba Policy

The buzz in Miami on March 15th could probably be heard all the way in Cuba. Last weekend, Cuban Americans for Engagement (CAFE), FORNORM (Foundation for the Normalizations of Relations with Cuba), Generacion Cambio Cubano and Cuba Educational Travel hosted a conference to highlight the growing majority of Cuban Americans that are in favor of normalizing relations with Cuba.

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Obama and Castro Shake Hands and Bring Positivity to the State of U.S.-Cuba Relations

Yesterday at Nelson Mandela's memorial service in South Africa a small but significant gesture took place between President Barack Obama and President Raúl Castro: they shook hands. While this normally wouldn't have been such a noteworthy action of civility, it has highlighted the need to address the current state of broken relations between the United States and Cuba. The Latin America Working Group (LAWG) supports this development and encourages further steps by both countries to move us along the path towards engagement and normalization.

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The UN Voted to Condemn the U.S. Embargo for the 22nd Time

For the twenty-second time, the United Nations General Assembly voted to bring an end to the United States' economic embargo on Cuba. The truth is that we're not too shocked that this happened again. The world has consistently been against us for our out-dated policies towards the island nation.

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Diana Nyad Makes the Swim from Cuba to U.S: An Inspiration to All

Diana Nyad has finally made it. Last Monday she swam onto the shores of Key West, FL, from the Hemingway Marina in Cuba. The 110 mile trek took 64-year old Nyad 52 hours, 54 minutes and 18.6 seconds. You can watch her arrival to Key West here. This is quite the monumental moment for Nyad who has been dreaming about completing her swim since she was 8 years old. This was her fifth attempt at voyaging the Florida Straits, and she claimed that it would be her final attempt even if she didn’t make it this time.  

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What Cuban-American Lawmakers Don't Understand About Cuba

75_support_travelOn July 17th
, 2013 the House Appropriations Committee passed the Fiscal Year 2014 Financial Services bill that included language proposed by Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL-25) that would negatively impact two key points in President Obama’s plan to promote engagement and people-to-people contact with the Cuban people.

As Cuban Americans for Engagement (CAFE) explained in their press release, “Section 124 would effectively dismantle the "people-to-people" licensing program, allowing American citizens to travel to Cuba for educational purposes, by defunding the program. These licenses have allowed U.S. citizens to legally visit Cuba and experience the island first-hand, ending their reliance on the skewed portrayals of Cuban reality by either the U.S. government or the corporate-controlled media.”

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Latin America Says Goodbye to Leader Hugo Chávez

In light of the passing of Venezuela's President, Hugo Chávez, we think the following statements are well worth reading 

Representative Jose Serrano: '"His focus on the issues faced by the poor and disenfranchised in his country made him a truly revolutionary leader in the history of Latin America. He understood that after 400 years on the outside of the established power structure looking in, it was time that the poor had a chance at seeing their problems and issues addressed. His core belief was in the dignity and common humanity of all people in Venezuela and in the world."...

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Can Senator Kerry and President Obama Do More for Alan Gross and Cuba policy?

Cuba policy faces a new era with a second Obama Administration and a State Department soon to be led by Senator John Kerry (D-MA). We could well have have some friends in high places, and that’s not at all wrong. President Obama has made some serious changes to U.S.-Cuba policy in allowing for Cuban Americans to travel freely to Cuba without restriction and liberalizing purposeful (people-to-people), religious, academic and cultural travel. Senator Kerry has been a strong congressional ally in advocating for a rational policy towards Cuba. In 2011 he placed a freeze on $20 million in USAID funding that was designated for “democracy promotion” in Cuba, until a report on the ineffectiveness of these programs was produced by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). While there has been progress made in the last four years in pursuing a more sane Cuba policy, there is still a cloud hanging over a real change in our relations with Cuba. That cloud is Alan Gross, a USAID subcontractor who has been detained in Cuba since December 3, 2009. Why? Well, Arturo Lopez-Levy shares some important facts in his piece on The Havana Note, “Is Obama Acting Pragmatically in the Alan Gross Case?”...

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