Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Prominent Cubans and Americans oppose new Cuba policy in letter to Congress

Full page ad published in The Washington Post today February 11, 2015 by prominent diplomats, businessmen, academics, and Cuban opposition leaders calling on Congress to oppose unilateral concessions to the Castro regime and criticizing the Obama administration's actions on Cuba. If you would like to add your name click on this link and fill out the form.

 Open Letter to Congress

President Barack Obama’s New Cuba Policy is a big win for the repressive Communist regime in Cuba and for the Castro brothers who still rule the island. The regime, faced with the possible loss of its Venezuelan financial lifeline, will receive, under the President’s policy, a major U.S. diplomatic and economic boost.

This without having to take any credible steps to democratize the country or to give up its outrageous demands, including the return of the U.S. Naval Base of Guantanamo and compensation for the alleged multibillion dollar losses incurred by Cuba as a result of the U.S. embargo.

This is a one-sided policy, which circumvents the 1996 LIBERTAD Act and other statutes, ignores the views and sacrifices of the Cuban dissident movement, puts U.S. security at risk, and further erodes America’s reputation as a champion of human rights and freedom.

• NORMALIZING U.S. RELATIONS WITH CUBA, under current conditions, will embolden the Castro regime to continue intensifying repression. Several dozen political prisoners were recently released, but 8,889 peaceful dissidents were arrested and rearrested in 2014—close to 40% more than in 2013.
• REMOVING CUBA FROM THE LIST OF TERRORIST STATES will reward the Castro regime for smuggling 240 tons of heavy weapons to North Korea, training and equipping Venezuela’s repressive forces, offering Russia’s Putin an espionage listening post in Cuba, and harboring dozens of fugitive terrorists and criminals, including one of the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted Terrorists, Assata Shakur. Cuba is the only “state-sponsored of terrorism” nation to openly harbor a fugitive on the most-wanted terrorist list.
• INCREASING U.S. TRAVEL TO CUBA UNDER THE CASTRO-MANIPULATED PEOPLE-TO-PEOPLE PROGRAM will benefit the military, which owns all of Cuba’s hotels and tourist infrastructure.
• SHIPPING TELECOMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY AND HARDWARE TO CUBA, without assurances of affordable public internet access and an end to censorship, will help tighten the government’s control of information available to Cubans.
• OPENING ACCOUNTS IN CASH-STRAPPED CUBAN GOVERNMENT BANKS will expose U.S. capital to the same politicized financial institutions that froze $1 billion of foreign deposits in 2009.
• GRANTING EXPORT CREDITS TO THE CASTRO REGIME, which has reneged on its international debts and is now virtually insolvent, will pose inordinate risks to U.S. taxpayers, who ultimately will shoulder any losses.
• LIFTING THE U.S. EMBARGO, as requested by the President to Congress, will channel the dollars of American tourists and investors to Cuban government enterprises, which control the economy, assign Cuban workers to foreign companies, and keep 92 cents of each dollar of every worker’s salary.

We urge Congress to oppose unilateral concessions that bail out the failed and oppressive Castro regime. Unless and until fundamental human rights are respected in Cuba and a path to freedom is clearly charted in accordance with the LIBERTAD Act of 1996, the U.S. should ramp up economic pressure on the dictatorship and increase support for the pro-democracy dissident movement.

Signed by,
 Elliott Abrams – FMR Assistant Secretary of State for Latin America and the Caribbean; FMR Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Democracy
Emilio Alvarez-Recio – FMR VP Worldwide Advertising, COLGATE-PALMOLIVE
Lew Amselem
– FMR Deputy U.S. Representative to the Organization of American States
Sebastián Arcos Cazabòn – Political prisoner, dissident, Associate Director, Cuban Research Institute, FIU
Jorge Blanco – FMR President and CEO, AMEX NICKEL CORPORATION
John Bolton – FMR U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations; FMR U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations
Everett Ellis Briggs – FMR U.S. Ambassador to Honduras, Panamá and Portugal; FMR President of the Council of the Americas and Americas Society
Frank Calzon - Executive Director, Center for a Free Cuba
Nestor T. Carbonell – FMR VP International Government Affairs, PEPSICO
James Cason – FMR U.S. Ambassador to Paraguay; FMR Chief of Mission U.S. Interests Section, Havana, Cuba
José R. Cárdenas – FMR Acting Assistant Administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean, U.S. Agency for International Development
Beatriz Casals – Founder, Casals and Associates and Principal, Global Ethics Advisors.
Eduardo Crews – FMR President, Latin America, BRISTOLMEYERS SQUIBB
Graciella Cruz-Taura – Associate Professor, Latin American Cultural and Cuban Studies, Florida Atlantic University
Mary Curtis Horowitz – President, Transaction Publishers
Rosa Maria Cutillas – civic leader
Miriam and Mario de la Peña – Parents of Mario M. de la Peña, one of four pilots murdered by Cuban warplanes in international airspace in 1996. One of the spies exchanged by President Obama was serving a life sentence for his role in those murders.
Rafael de la Sierra – FMR VP International Coordination, WARNER COMMUNICATIONS (now Time Warner)
Jaime Daremblum – Director, Center for Latin American Studies, The Hudson Institute, and former Ambassador of Costa Rica to the United States
Eugenio Desvernine – FMR Senior EVP, REYNOLDS METALS
Paula Dobriansky – FMR Undersecretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs and FMR Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs
Carlos M.N. Eire – T. Lawrason Riggs Professor of History and Religious Studies, Yale University
Enrique Falla – FMR EVP and Chief Financial Officer, DOW CHEMICAL
Luis Fleischman – Editor, The Americas Report
Sara Marta Fonseca – Spokesman, Cuban National Resistance Front, Havana, Cuba
Steve Forbes – Chairman and Editor-in-Chief, Forbes Media
Jorge Luis Garcia Perez (Antunez) – Secretary, General, Cuban National Resistance Front, former Cuban political prisoner [17 years in prison], Placetas, Cuba
Michael González – Senior Fellow, The Heritage Foundation
Edward González
– Professor Emeritus of Political Science, U.C.L.A.
Emilio González – FMR Director, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, Department of Homeland Security; FMR Director for Latin America, National Security Council.
Alexander Guerrero – Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Medical Ethics and Health Policy, University of Pennsylvania
Orlando Gutierrez Boronat – Secretary General, Cuban Democratic Directorate
Basilio Guzman – former Cuban political prisoner [22 years in prison]
Dennis Hays – FMR U.S. Ambassador to Guyana; FMR Director of Cuban Affairs, State Department
Philip Hughes – FMR Executive Secretary, National Security Council; FMR U.S. Ambassador to the Eastern Caribbean.
Sylvia Iriondo – President, Mothers Against Repression
Michael Ledeen
– Freedom Scholar at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies; FMR Special Advisor at the National Security Council, State and Defense Departments
Mel Martínez
– FMR U.S. Senator; FMR Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Alberto Martínez-Piedra – FMR U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala
Sergio Masvidal – FMR Vice Chairman, AMERICAN EXPRESS BANK
Nancy Menges – Editor, The Americas Report
Alberto Mestre – FMR President for Venezuela, GENERAL MILLS
Roger Noriega – FMR U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere; FMR U.S. Ambassador to the Organization of American States
Robert O’Brien – Treasurer, Center for a Free Cuba and business leader.
Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo – Visiting Writer, Brown University
Roger Pardo-Maurer – FMR Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphere Affais, Defense Department
Yris Tamara Perez Aguilera – President, Rosa Parks Civil Rights Movement, Placetas, Cuba
Joaquin P. Pujol – International Economist, former functionary, International Monetary Fund
Ana Rosa Quintana – Latin America Foreign Policy Analyst, The Heritage Foundation
Otto Reich – FMR U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere; FMR U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela
Tomás P. Regalado – Mayor of Miami, Florida
Antonio G. Rodiles – Director, Estado de SATS, Havana, Cuba
Ruben Rodríguez-Wallin – FMR Chairman and CEO, BACARDI
Enrico Mario Santi – William T. Bryan Professor of Hispanic Studies, University of Kentucky
José Sorzano – FMR Deputy U.S Ambassador to the United Nations; FMR U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Economic and Social Council
Rebeca Sosa – Commissioner of Miami Dade County, Florida
Armando Valladares – FMR U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission
Ray Walser – FMR U.S. Foreign Service Officer; FMR Director for Latin America, The Heritage Foundation


  1. The writers of this letter say that taking Cuba off the list of state sponsors of terrorism "will reward the Castro regime for smuggling 240 tons of heavy weapons to North Korea, training and equipping Venezuela’s repressive forces, offering Russia’s Putin an espionage listening post in Cuba, and harboring dozens of fugitive terrorists and criminals." That is complete bullshit. Shipping arms to another country or offering a country an eavesdropping facility are not acts of terrorism. I'm sure Obama will defy the contents of the letter and take Cuba off the list.

  2. Smuggling ballistic missiles, MiGs and tons of weapons to North Korea in violation of international sanctions while that regime and Cuba both have long track records of international terrorism is serious. The Bush administration took North Korea off the list for BS reasons and the behavior of the regime did not improve.

  3. There are more reasons to keep the Castro regime on the list

  4. Fair warning. All are welcome to debate but foul language may lead to being deleted and banned.