US Women and Cuba Collaboration joins all our friends and allies in the Cuba solidarity movement in celebration and thanks to President Barack Obama for making the most important policy changes towards Cuba in over 50 years! We are particularly happy for the release of Gerardo Hernandez, Antonio Guerrero and Ramon Labanino – the remaining three of the Cuban Five – who were unjustly imprisoned for 16 years in US prisons. The freedom of the Cuban Five has been central to the US Cuba solidarity movement’s agenda, and together with the international campaign waged by governments, institutions, media outlets and thousands of people worldwide (including 10 Nobel laureates and even Pope Francis) we ultimately won their release.
In acknowledging that the US cold war policy of isolation towards Cuba has not accomplished US goals, President Obama has called for re-engagement with Cuba and the establishment of diplomatic ties between the countries including the opening of official embassies in Havana and the US. (See the White House’s “Charting a New Course on Cuba” here
and the White House Fact Sheet here
.) The changes that Obama announced in his momentous speech lie within his Executive authority and they include the expansion of travel for US peoples and Cubans, increasing the amount of money Cuban Americans can send to their families, and easing banking and commerce restrictions to facilitate greater trade between our two countries. Furthermore, Obama has requested US Secretary of State John Kerry to examine the criteria used to place Cuba on the list of terrorist countries, hopefully paving the way for Cuba’s removal from the list. (Call the White House at 202.456.1111 or email President Obama and say THANK YOU.)
Barack Obama began his presidency with reopening travel for Cuban Americans and allowing this community to send remittances to their families (after the two Bush administrations made and maintained these things as unlawful). Therefore, we applaud Obama’s use of his Executive powers to do what nine other US presidents failed to do, which is to begin dismantling the 54-year old US blockade and to join the rest of the world in accepting Cuba into the world of nations. This comes at a crucial time especially as the US prepares for the upcoming Seventh Summit of the Americas scheduled for April in Panama.
Like so many others, US Women and Cuba Collaboration has worked very hard to see this day. Working from multicultural women's perspectives, we have educated US citizens, forged relationships with Cuban citizens, led petition and mail campaigns to President Obama, and worked with groups who lobby Congress for reform. But the work is not finished and we need your ongoing support. For all of us who have worked ceaselessly to see this day of change in Cuba policy, we realize that we have much left to do, especially in light of the Republican control of both the House and Senate beginning next year.
We call on Congress to act now to lift the blockade and work with the President to establish political and economic relations based on mutual respect and Cuba’s right to self-determination. (Email your Senators and Members of Congress to let them know you support normalization of relations with Cuba and repeal of the Helms-Burton and Torricelli legislation against Cuba.)
And we call on you, our base, to continue supporting the work we do. For those of you who have already responded to our Annual End-of-Year Appeal, we are grateful! And if you haven’t yet responded, you can donate now
, before December 31, and your donation of any size to the Collaboration will be matched by a generous donor. Checks should be written to CAR/Hermanas and mailed to Cindy Domingo, Co-Chair US Women & Cuba Collaboration, 6508 27th Avenue NW, Seattle, WA 98117.
Another world is possible in solidarity with you and all the people and groups who have worked for these new bridge-building policies between the US and Cuba.