The Alliance for Cuba Engagement and Respect (ACERE) announced last week that more than 200 Cuban-American supporters of President Biden, 30 Cuban-American-led organizations, and hundreds of concerned U.S. citizens and civil society organizations have penned a letter to President Biden asking him to fulfill his 2020 campaign promises on Cuba policy.

At a time when the White House begins to court Cuban-American voters in Florida and other immigrant communities decry the humanitarian impacts of the administration’s foreign policy in their countries of origin, this initiative led by Cuban Americans proves unprecedented during Biden’s term in office,” reads the statement from the group.

The group of Cuban-American leaders delivered the letter to the Department of State’s Coordinator for Cuban Affairs and to leading Democrats in Congress focusing on the dire economic crisis that has fueled the migratory wave out of Cuba in recent years.

The letter calls on the administration to help alleviate the situation on the island by issuing regulations to support the growth of Cuba’s private sector; rescinding Cuba’s unfounded designation as a state sponsor of terrorism; fully funding and staffing the U.S. Embassy in Havana to resume the processing of nonimmigrant visas; and further easing restrictions on travel to facilitate people-to-people exchange and family reunification.

The signers also urged President Biden to return to a path of normalization of U.S.-Cuba relations. Polling indicates broad support among a vast majority of Cuban-American Democrats in Florida and an overwhelming majority of U.S. citizens.

The signers include former federal, state, and local officials; academics and university administrators; business owners, executives, and investors; lawyers; architects; doctors; scientists; educators; artists, musicians, and filmmakers; non-profit administrators; social workers; veterans and other prominent individuals.

Your campaign promise to undo the havoc left by the previous administration for Cuban families was one of the main factors so many of us supported you,” reads the letter to Biden. “While you have taken minor positive steps, we are deeply upset that you are far from fulfilling your campaign’s promises to revert to the Obama-era policies on Cuba. We are extremely disappointed and appalled by your inaction, lack of courage, and sensibility to undo the drastic and unfounded executive measures imposed by your predecessor. They cause great damage to people in Cuba as well as here in the United States. With the stroke of a pen, you could easily reverse these policies and end the pain and suffering.” 

Some of the signers include Former Vice Chair of the DNC Hispanic Caucus, Jorge Quintana, President of the University of Washington, Ana Mari Cauce,6x Grammy Award-winning musician and composer, Arturo O’Farrill, Hollywood executive and former DNC Finance Committee member, Andy Spahn, and Former National Intelligence Officer for Latin America, Fulton Armstrong.

Background

The unilateral embargo against Cuba has been described as a complex web of sanctions restricting trade, economic interactions, and travel between Cuba and the United States. The sanctions began in the early 1960s after the overthrow of brutal dictator Fulogencio Batista by Revolutionary Forces led by Fidel Castro, Raúl Castro, Che Guevara, and Camilo Cienfuegos among many other Cuban leaders.

The core element of the Cold War against Cuba prevents U.S. businesses, farmers, and individuals from conducting business with Cuba. While some argue that there are exceptions for food and medicine, the United States has historically limited those to the bare minimum to comply with the United Nations and international law. These actions have often been compared to other countries such as Israel which has only allowed enough food to meet the minimum caloric needs of Palestinian civilians in Gaza.

Due to the unilateral sanctions, Cuba can’t trade freely with the U.S. This denies access to goods, technology, and investment that could boost Cuba’s economy. The sanctions also make it harder to import certain goods leading to food shortages, medicine, construction materials, and other necessities. In addition, tourism restrictions on U.S. citizens traveling to Cuba limit a potentially lucrative source of income for the island nation.

Nearly every other country on Earth has demanded the U.S. lift the sanctions on Cuba and argue that the United States is infringing on Cuba’s sovereignty. In the United Nations, a vote is held each year to demand the U.S. end the embargo on Cuba with the United States and Israel voting against it each time Because the sanctions only hurt the Cuban people and don’t achieve the U.S. capitalistic and exploitative goals.

Whether President Biden even acknowledges the letter is anyone’s guess.

Read the Letter to President Biden


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Arturo Dominguez

Arturo is an anti-racist political nerd. He is an upcoming author, journalist, advocate for social justice, and a married father of three. He is a top writer on Medium and a regular contributor to several news media outlets. He writes educational and informative material about systemic racism, white supremacy, and racial injustice.

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