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#CubaNow Statement on the Anniversary of Our New Approach Toward Cuba

Ric Herrero

#CubaNow Press Release

Dec 17, 2015

MIAMI - #CubaNow Executive Director Ric Herrero issued the following statement on the anniversary of the announcement that the United States would re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba and shift its policy approach toward one of engagement with our island neighbor:

“Only the Cuban people can build a better future for themselves, and for the first time in decades, Americans are playing a constructive and impactful role in that process. On the one-year anniversary of the momentous announcement that the United States and Cuba would set out to normalize relations, we applaud the negotiators on both shores whose tireless work and commitment on behalf of Presidents Obama and Castro broke through decades of inertia and distrust to forge a new era between our countries. In the past year, they opened embassies in Washington and Havana and began the process of addressing the myriad contentious issues that have divided us for over half a century. Their efforts have already yielded notable progress in law enforcement and environmental cooperation, civil aviation, direct mail service, and property claims. It is our hope that human rights, labor rights, and migratory policy will soon be added to that list.

“We also praise the scores of Republican and Democratic Members of Congress who recognize the urgency of normalization and are actively growing a coalition in support of a more pragmatic approach toward Cuba focused on removing external barriers to meaningful change, such as trade, travel, and financial sanctions.

“Most importantly, we celebrate the countless Americans, Cuban-Americans, and Cubans on the Island who are seizing every opportunity presented by this new era of engagement to expand spaces for free expression and strengthen socioeconomic ties between our societies. It is their collective ingenuity and dreams of a better future for the Cuban people and between our nations that will ensure the changes announced a year ago not only become irreversible, but continue to grow.

“The Obama Administration has proven it is fully committed to improving the lives of the Cuban people. It is obvious to all that there is much more the Cuban government could be doing to reciprocate the measures taken by the United States to help Cuban entrepreneurs, and to stimulate momentum in Congress to end the embargo. We strongly encourage Cuban leaders to take full advantage of the opportunities presented by President Obama’s last year in office to double down on reform and forge a better outlook for their fellow citizens.”