Congress and the White House: End the Cuban Embargo
It's UnAmerican and not in the best interest of Cuba or the United States
THE TIME HAS COME TO END THE EMBARGO AGAINST CUBA
President Barack Obama won the electoral vote in Florida, with nearly a majority of Cuban Americans in South Florida voting for him. This majority of Cuban Americans in South Florida and elsewhere agrees with Obama’s relaxation of the Cuba travel rules and would like to see an end to the embargo. This is especially true of those more recent arrivals with family ties to Cuba, which is an increasing segment of the community.
Citizens or not, voters or not (for now), Cuban Americans with family on the island want to visit. Many want to be able to take money, medicine, and other necessities to their families. Some are trying to help their families start businesses on the island.
The new licenses for people-to-people travel have led to an explosion of travel options for U.S. citizens without family on the island. Agriculture, arts, sports, history, architecture, music, food . . . Americans want to see for themselves what Cuba has to offer.
U.S. farmers, manufacturers, and service providers, including travel companies, also want to see free trade and exchange between the United States and Cuba. They follow with interest the continuing evolution of Cuban policy in such fields as private-sector businesses, emigration, and duration of the presidency, usufruct of public lands, transferability of real estate, cooperative enterprises, decentralization, and the eventual elimination of the Cuban peso in favor of convertible currency.
With or without family in Cuba, the people have been voting with their feet against the embargo.
Knowledgeable observers do not understand how Cuba can be seen as a threat to the United States, even if its politics and policies differ, however widely, with those of this country. They understand even less how Cuba can be included in the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism.
Our Latin American neighbors don’t perceive Cuba as a threat either. Not a single nation in the American continent supports the U.S. embargo. In fact, the embargo is opposed by the vast majority of nations in the world; the embargo was supported by only two other nations in this year’s vote at the United Nations. In general, Americans believe that the two nations should draw closer together for the benefit of their respective peoples. So, too, do many members of the United States Congress.
A major obstacle to improving relations is the combined stubbornness of a tiny minority of Senators and Representatives who insist that, after 52 years, the embargo should remain in place, with the fallacious and obsolete argument that strangling the economy of Cuba is the best thing that can be done for Cuba and its people. Very few Cubans on the island, including government opponents, support this policy, and fewer still believe that this embargo still exists for the promotion of democracy. .
The presidential vote of last November will not be enough by itself to overcome the weight of campaign contributions, lobbyists, and some members of Congress who find political benefits in continuing the embargo against Cuba. We need a massive effort to inform Senators and Representatives about the changing realities in Cuba, in South Florida, and throughout the United States. We need to ask, and demand to begin to pursue an end to the embargo and to build a new kind of relationship with the people of Cuba and their government.
The Cuban embargo, which began as a policy of the Executive branch, is now codified into law. Therefore, it is up to the Congress to completely end the embargo, but it is up to the voters to insist that Congress do so. In addition, there are many actions that the Obama administration can take to diminish the harshness of the current measures.
How to Take Part
The Foundation for Normalization of U.S.-Cuba Relations (ForNorm) is ready to lead this effort. We call on all organizations who share our views to join us by calling on their members and friends to take part in the effort to end a policy that has proven to be a colossal failure.
The campaign is simple: send letters or faxes to your Senators and Representatives, or call their offices, and let them know what you think. If your Congressional representatives already oppose the embargo, let them know that you appreciate their position and will support them for it.
Contact information can be found in any number of websites, including the following:
Those of us who have taken part in lobbying efforts in the past have often heard variations on this theme from members of the Senate and House or their staff: “We don’t hear enough from your side. The other guys are here all the time.”
They want to hear from us.
Help us reach President Barack Obama and members of Congress by signing this petition.
FORNORM (Foundation for Normalization of U.S./Cuba Relations)
Signed: Members of the Executive Committee of FORNORM
Ramon Coll Max Lesnik Rosa Reyes Luis Vazquez Diaz
Amaury Cruz Eddie B Levy Julio Ruiz Antonio Zamora
Elena Freyre Xiomara Levy Ricardo Sablon
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