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Academic & NGO Reports

The following academic resources cover a full range of U.S. Cuba issues from a diverse pool of academic and non-governmental institutions. For additional resources, the Center for Latin American and Latino Studies at American University has assembled over 160 of the most current documents. We hope that this archive will better inform an engaged public about the changing realities in our US-Cuba policy.

Economic Reforms

Soft Landing in Cuba? Emerging Entrepreneurs and Middle Classes
By Richard Feinberg (Brookings Institution, December 2013)

The New Cuban Economy: What Roles for Foreign Investment?
By Richard Feinberg (Brookings Institution, December 2012)
This paper explores Cuba’s historic stance on foreign direct investment and considers the possibility of incorporating greater participation from international markets into the Island’s economy. The author estimates that Cuba could bring much-needed revenues to its citizens by partnering with core global financial institutions.

Supporting Small Business in Cuba: Recommendations for Private and Public Sector Leaders
By Cuba Study Group (April 2011)
This document, which originated as a working paper from a summit on economic development in Cuba, explores how small businesses can help the Cuban economy grow to the benefit of both private and public sectors. Based on the actions of similar governments like Bolivia, China, Vietnam, and Singapore, it outlines ideas and plans to encourage the development and success of small business in Cuba for optimal economic expansion. It also encourages the U.S. to reform its economic policy toward Cuba for the benefit both countries.

The United States and Cuba: Implications of an Economic Relationship
Edited by Jose Raúl Perales (Woodrow Wilson Center Latin American Program, August 2010)
Based on discussions that took place at a conference on U.S.-Cuban relations, this article summarizes the economic relationship between the United States and Cuba. The author argues that lessening trade and travel restrictions between the two countries would drastically improve both nations’ economies and prompt major growth in the industries of agriculture and tourism.

Estimated Economic Impacts of the Travel Restriction Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2010
By Parr Rosson, Flynn Adcock, and Eric Manthei (Texas A&M University, March 2010)
This study estimates the potential economic value of removing the travel ban from Cuba. It estimates that thousands of new U.S. jobs would be created, and that the ability to freely export U.S. agricultural products would prompt major economic growth in that sector.

Vacation Over: Implications for the Caribbean of Opening U.S.-Cuba Tourism
By Rafael Romeu (IMF Working Paper, July 2008)
This working paper from the International Monetary Fund considers the ramifications of opening Cuba to tourism. It claims that increased levels of U.S. tourism in Cuba would threaten the economic well-being of other Caribbean island nations, which are dependent on the hospitality industry fueled by American travelers.

U.S. Agricultural Sales to Cuba: Certain Economic Effects of U.S. Restrictions
United States International Trade Commission, July 2007
This report analyzes Cuban purchases of U.S. agricultural products, the role of government restrictions in preventing the purchase and sale of Cuban products, and the potential increase in exports that would result from lifting the travel ban and embargo. Considering a variety of scenarios, this report indicates that “all agricultural sectors would likely benefit from the lifting of financing restrictions” on U.S. exports to Cuba.

Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000
FAS Online, 2000
This piece of legislation requires unilateral agricultural and medical sanctions to be terminated toward countries with which the United States is not at war. It does not, however, allow for expanded trade with nations on the State Sponsors of Terrorism list held by the State Department, and it strengthens travel restrictions to Cuba.

Political Reforms

US Policy and Executive Authority

Action Memo to the President: Cuba & Entrepreneurship
AS/COA Cuba Working Group
With the help of President Obama’s reforms to expanded travel and remittance policies, more and more Cubans are starting their own businesses in the island’s growing private sector and creating their own independence from the state. But these entrepreneurs still face a number of challenges that the President has the power to address.

Restoring Executive Authority over U.S. Policy toward Cuba
Cuba Study Group, February 2013
The current U.S. policy toward Cuba has not only failed to achieve its goals of restoring democracy to Cuba, but has become counter-productive. The Cuba Study Group thus advocates for the Helms-Burton Act and related provisions to be repealed, allowing the executive branch the power to respond to developments on the Island flexibly and strategically.

Presidential Authority to Modify Economic Sanctions Against Cuba: A Legal Analysis
By Stephen F. Propst (Brookings Institution February 2011)
While the termination of economic sanctions against Cuba is predicated on the implementation of a Cuban transition government, the President does have power to ease specific provisions of those sanctions without Congressional approval. Propst reviews statutory regulations and the precedents set by successive U.S. presidents starting with President Clinton in 1996 in easing specific provisions.

U.S. Embargo on Cuba: Recent Regulatory Changes and Potential Presidential or Congressional Actions
GAO Report 09-951R, September 2009
In September 2009, President Obama eased several restrictions of the embargo including travel for family members, limitations on remittances, and U.S. provision of telecommunication services. This report describes the changes that were made, options available to the President to further modify the embargo, actions that the President can or must take in the event of certain changes in the Cuban government, and possible congressional actions to end the embargo.

Office of Foreign Assets Control Regulations Regarding Cuba
This website offers an online version of rules and regulations about who can and cannot travel to Cuba. It also details restrictions regarding what can and cannot be brought to and from Cuba and how remittances are managed.

Dissidents and Human Rights

2013 World Report on Cuba
Human Rights Watch, 2014
This report details how the Cuban government has become increasingly brutal and draconian to instill fear and punish dissenters. It includes information about government-sponsored beatings, threats, and imprisonments that target journalists, activists, and dissidents.

Candidature of Cuba to the Human Rights Council, 2014-2016
UN Human Rights Council, September 2013
The Government of Cuba put forth its candidacy to the Human Rights Council for the period of 2014 to 2016. Included with this request are Cuba's voluntary pledges and commitments to the Council, which generally ensure its commitment to human rights and to cooperate with the international community.

Cuba Report 2012
Human Rights Watch, January 2013
This report summarizes human rights violations perpetrated by the Cuban government. Cuba remains the only country in Latin America that represses virtually all forms of political dissent. In 2012, the government of Raúl Castro continued to enforce political conformity using short-term detentions, beatings, public acts of repudiation, travel restrictions, and forced exile.

Report on Human Rights in Cuba
Amnesty International, 2012
Like the U.S. Department of State’s report, this document explores changes in human rights violations from 2012. Key findings include higher levels of repression of free speech and movement, more imprisonments and short-term detainments than the year before.

Cuba 2012 Human Rights Report
U.S. Department of State, 2012
This report summarizes human rights violations perpetrated by the Cuban government, presenting a list of the main abuses, such as abridgement of the right of citizens to change the government; government threats, intimidation, mobs, harassment, and detentions to prevent free expression and peaceful assembly; and a record number of politically motivated and at times violent short-term detentions.

Annual Report 2013
Amnesty International
The State of Cuba’s Human Rights


Bridging Cuba’s Communication Divide: How U.S. Policy Can Help
By Ted Piccone, Christopher Sabatini, and Carlos Saladrigas (Brookings Institution, July 2010)
This paper from the Brookings Institution calls for the United States Government to broadly lift all bans that are currently hindering economic growth in Cuba. They argue that strengthening the Cuban economy will promote the establishment of greater information technology infrastructure and perhaps begin to open the country to greater political freedoms.


Migration Policy Reform: Cuba Gets Started, U.S. Should Follow
By Phillip Peters (Lexington Institute, December 2012)
After the Cuban government’s overhaul of major travel restrictions to foreign nations, Peters encourages the United States to reexamine its own immigration policies that appear to favor migrants from Cuba. Because the previously isolated government has promised to make it easier for its citizens to leave, the author claims that the U.S. should adjust its policy towards Cuba for fiscal, economic, and security reasons.

Cuba: U.S. Restrictions on Travel and Remittances
By Mark Sullivan (Congressional Research Service, November 2012)
This Congressional Research Service report details past legislative efforts to lessen travel restrictions from the United States to Cuba, and focuses on the response to President Obama’s decision to ease restrictions in 2009 and again in 2011.

U.S.-Cuba Academic and Science-Based Exchanges
By Stephen Johnson (Center for Strategic and International Studies, August 2012)
Johnson calls for an open exchange of academic information with Cuba to promote advances in several areas of study. Although Cuba is a closed society, the authors point out that past relationships between the United States and other restricted nations such as North Korea and Iran proved to be mutually beneficial. Based on historic relations with Cuba, the author believes that an open educational dialogue would catalyze advances for both U.S. and Cuban scholars.

Cuba: What You Need to Know about U.S. Sanctions Against Cuba
Office of Foreign Assets Control, Department of the Treasury; January 2012
The Office of Foreign Assets Control details the regulations and sanctions against Cuba and provides information about what can and cannot be done to legally access the closed nation. It includes regulations about travel, remittances, and imports and exports.

Comprehensive Guidelines for License Applications to Engage in Travel-Related Transactions Involving Cuba
Office of Foreign Assets Control, U.S. Department of the Treasury, April 2011
These guidelines inform those under the jurisdiction of U.S. law of the various licenses available to travel legally to Cuba, as well as regulations on importing/exporting merchandise.

Reaching Out to the Cuban People
The White House, January 2011
In 2011 President Obama eased travel restrictions with Cuba to increase contact between Cuban civil society and those living in the United States. The President asks to continue the embargo, while allowing charter flights for purposeful travel from the United States to Cuba.

Memorandum: Amendments to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (Letter to the Committee on Foreign Affairs)
National Security Network, September 2010
Signed by several retired military generals, this letter calls for legislative action to end the Cuban embargo. Claiming that the embargo restricts American movement and only strengthens the Castro regime, the authors argue that thawing U.S.-Cuban relations would promote democracy, national security, and economic growth.

Letter from Cuban Citizens to the United States Congress
Cuban Civil Society (Intramuros blog, May 2010)
Cuban citizens sent the letter below to Congress, encouraging them to remove the travel ban. The letter reminds the Congress members that there are many non-profit organizations, constituencies, and human rights councils concerned with Cuban isolationism. By easing travel restrictions, the signatories of this letter hope to promote development and to curtail governmental repression. Link to the full text via Intramuros

Chairman Berman’s Opening Statement at Hearing, ‘Is it Time to Lift the Ban on Travel to Cuba?'
Chairman Berman's Opening Statement, November 2009
Before the United States’ House of Representatives, Chairman Berman demonstrates Congressional desire to lessen travel restrictions to Cuba for the benefit of citizens from both countries. While agreeing that a trade embargo should remain in place, Berman urges greater contact with Cubans to advance each nations’ economy and culture while also protecting Cuban citizens from potential human rights violations.

Fact Sheet: Reaching Out to the Cuban People
The White House, April 2009
President Obama’s plan to modernize and globalize Cuba by removing travel restrictions and limits on remittances while adding telecommunications technology and an improved diplomatic relationship with their leaders is detailed here. This fact sheet also lists advisories and changes to policy regarding travel to Cuba.

Promoting Democracy and Human Rights in Cuba
The White House, April 2009
The White House releases Obama's plan to promote contact between the United States and Cuba through the removal of travel restrictions and limitations on remittances.

Letter on Easing the Travel Ban to Cuba
Congress of the United States, February 2009
Several members of the House of Representatives to then-Secretaries of State and of the Treasury, describe the Congressional support President Obama gained when he announced plans to lessen travel restrictions to Cuba. The signers of the letter indicate their agreement with travel for educational, religious, and cultural experience and make suggestions to facilitate an easier process for American citizens.

Vacation Over: Implications for the Caribbean of Opening U.S.-Cuba Tourism
by Rafael Romeu (International Monetary Fund Working Paper, July 2008)
Rafael Romeu considers the ramifications of opening Cuba to tourism. He claims that U.S. tourism to Cuba would threaten other Caribbean nations’ that are economically dependent on U.S. travelers.

Retreat from Reason
Latin American Working Group, September 2006
This position paper from the Latin American Working Group criticizes the George W. Bush administration’s stringent policies towards Cuba and Cuban-American immigrants. Despite harsh restrictions, the authors point to academic relationships between scholars of the two nations as a sign of cooperation and the promise of an eventual restored relationship.

Economic Benefits to the United States from Lifting the Ban on Travel to Cuba
By Ed Sanders and Patrick Long (Cuba Policy Foundation, 2002)
Sanders and Long explore the potential economic benefits to the United States that would result from easing trade and travel restrictions with Cuba. Considering three different scenarios, the report gives both conservative and high estimates about the probability of mutual economic growth.

Cuban-American Cuba Visits: Public Policy, Private Practices
By Susan Eckstein and Lorena Barberia (January 2001)
Survey results from first- and second-generation Cuban immigrants to the U.S. indicate a generation gap concerning visitation, aid, and government relations between the United States and Cuba. According to the researchers’ findings, first-generation immigrants are much more likely to oppose an open relationship with Cuba for moral and political reasons. In contrast, their children have fewer moral qualms about traveling to Cuba and are more likely to support a normalized relationship.

Chronology of Cuba Travel Licensing Program
Office of Foreign Affairs Control, Department of Treasury, 2000
This timeline traces the evolution of trade restrictions with Cuba from the Kennedy Administration through 2000.