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#CubaNow Statement On The Reopening Of U.S. And Cuba Embassies

Ric Herrero

#CubaNow Press Release

Jul 20, 2015

WASHINGTON- #CubaNow Executive Director Ric Herrero issued the following statement today on the reopening of U.S. and Cuba embassies and the restoration of full diplomatic relations:

"The reopening of embassies signals the start of a long-overdue era of constructive engagement between the United States and Cuba. If Americans are to help build a better future for the Cuban people, it’s critically important to have a diplomatic presence on the Island. Now more than ever, the U.S. is in a better position to address differences with Cuba over issues such as human rights, migration, and outstanding legal claims while working together on areas of mutual interest like law enforcement, environmental protection and trade. The President should nominate and the Senate should confirm a suitable ambassador to ensure that we see this work through to the best of our ability.

"Congress should also act immediately to end what remains of our counterproductive embargo laws toward Cuba. Eliminating travel and trade sanctions is the right thing to do and a step that will give Americans the best means to fully support the changes taking place on the Island. However, any delays caused by congressional inertia should not keep officials in Havana from proactively ushering Cuba into the 21st century. While normalization enjoys broad bipartisan support in the U.S., the numbers are even higher among Cubans on the Island. That support provides the Cuban government an opportunity to show that it is willing to leave its own Cold War policies in the past and help pave the path to better relations with the United States and a brighter future for the Cuban people. While we’ve already begun to see a renewed focus on areas like improved Internet access, Cuba has much to gain by ending arbitrary dissident arrests, unleashing the power and creativity of its entrepreneurs, and further aligning growth opportunities with the renewed interest of the American private sector.

"The reopening of embassies in Washington and Havana is a beginning, not an end, and much remains to be done. We’re optimistic that with increased trust and a firm understanding of the political realities in place, the U.S. and Cuba are today embarking on a productive and beneficial new relationship."