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#CubaNow Statement on Latest Round of Talks Between the US and Cuba and Banking Services to Cuban Interests Section

Ric Herrero

#CubaNow Press Release

May 22, 2015

MIAMI - #CubaNow Executive Director Ric Herrero issued the following statement on the latest round of talks between the United States and Cuba and the news that Florida-based Stonegate Bank has struck a deal to provide banking services to the Cuban Interests Section:

"This is why engagement matters. The United States government has been able to sit down with Cuban counterparts to advance its interests, promote the greatest freedom possible for its diplomats, and in so doing, set the stage to better support the Cuban people once embassies open in Havana and Washington. Half a century of isolation, confrontation and mistrust will make any normalization process difficult, but the Cuban government is now having to stand on the world stage and be held accountable for its positions, and American policy can no longer be used as an excuse for inaction. What is important is that both sides remain committed to these negotiations, are building confidence in the process, and getting closer to an equitable agreement every time they speak. That's measurable progress and must continue to be supported.

"Speaking of measurable progress, we commend the State Department, Stonegate Bank and our friends at Engage Cuba for helping to facilitate the deal to provide banking services to the Cuban Interests Section. Supporting the Cuban people at this critical juncture requires an increased flow of information, better communications and more people-to-people contact. All of that depends on banking services, particularly for the hundreds of thousands of Cuban-Americans who rely on consular services from the Cuban Interests Section to be able to visit and help their families in the island. It made no sense for the Interests Section to be denied banking services, and it worked against our ability to promote our values and champion the rights of the Cuban people. Now Congress should move forward and end the travel restrictions on Americans that stand in our way of fully engaging with our brothers and sisters in the Island."