New Lobby Group TV Ad Calls for End to Cuba Travel & Trade Ban

By Progreso Weekly

James Wiliams heads up the Engage Cuba lobbying campaign.
James Wiliams heads up the Engage Cuba lobbying campaign.

HAVANA TIMES – To mark its official launch, Engage Cuba began airing a new television ad highlighting the outdated restrictions on Americans that deny them the right to travel to and conduct business in Cuba. The 30-second ad titled “Guess What?” highlights the fact that Americans are free to travel anywhere in the world – except Cuba – and that an estimated $5.9 billion in annual U.S. exports are currently blocked by the outdated, Cold War-era ban on trade with Cuba.

Engage Cuba is a bipartisan public policy organization dedicated to coalescing and mobilizing American businesses, non-profit groups and concerned citizens for the purpose of supporting the ongoing U.S.?Cuba normalization process and enacting legislation to reform U.S. travel and trade restrictions with Cuba.

The bipartisan group’s ad buy began running on June 16th in cable television on Fox News Channel, MSNBC and CNBC.

“Since December, we’ve heard from Americans around the country who can’t believe the U.S. government is denying us the right to travel anywhere in the world,” said James Williams (in photo above), president of Engage Cuba. “Public polls show that Americans are saying, ‘We are tired of the Cold War-era policy that won’t let us trade or travel to Cuba. We want our government to let us play a role in this significant period of transition.’ That’s why we’re launching Engage Cuba.”

Engage Cuba’s bipartisan leadership team has already been recognized for its work, including:

Brokering a historic deal that made it possible for the Cuban Interests Section and future Cuban embassy to have banking services critical to the normalization process.

Building support for the Flake-Leahy Freedom to Travel to Cuba bill (S. 299), which now has 40 co-sponsors in the Senate.

“There is growing bipartisan agreement that our 54-year-old policy of isolation is broken and is hurting our own businesses and farmers,” said Steven Law, who was Chief of Staff to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and serves as a Senior Advisor to Engage Cuba in addition to his role as President of American Crossroads. “The future of engagement with Cuba has arrived, and it’s time for Congress to help lead the transition process.”??“One of these days, our legislative branch of government is going to have to start to function,” concluded Luke Albee, a Senior Advisor to Engage Cuba who served as Chief of Staff to Senators Mark Warner and Patrick Leahy. “There is no better issue to help make this happen than changing our archaic Cuba policy. It is in our national interest. And it is right for America and the Cuban people.”

Engage Cuba’s membership includes organizations and businesses across sectors, with major trade groups like the National Foreign Trade Council, National Association of Manufacturers, the Consumer Electronics Association, Council of the Americas, and the American Society of Travel Agents. Engage Cuba’s members also include civil society organizations such as Third Way, #CubaNow, Cuba Study Group and the Center for Democracy in the Americas. In addition, Engage Cuba is already working directly with leading companies who share its goals of lifting the travel and trade bans with Cuba, including Procter & Gamble, Cargill, Caterpillar, Choice Hotels, The Havana Group, among others.

2 thoughts on “New Lobby Group TV Ad Calls for End to Cuba Travel & Trade Ban

  • I have read the engage cuba blog and like the opposite end of the spectrum all have an agenda.
    Kinda sad since the one’s who get in the middle are the average Cuban’s living in Cuba and so what’s the deal? basically we have two sides of the aisle, one anti- castro, rich and powerful and rightfully so and those who wish to benefit with any reconciliation but some who genuinely would like to move towards the center, perhaps. I’m not naive, as a businessman, i’m sure there are some who post on this board and perhaps, only perhaps, are getting paid or perks and rum, to give their “opinion” and for me, as skeptical as i am, i think i know who they are. it’s all ok but i, for one, have no agenda politically and have stated time and time again am very upset that it’s easier for yoani sanchez to travel to the US than for me to just go to the airport and visit Cuba. Please don’t BS me with the ways for me to do that but as an anti- communist and conservative i’m pissed that those who oppose change in Cuba continue to make this happen. i am not going to cuba unless i can go to the airport, buy a ticket, spend as much as i like, before i venture there. so engage cuba becomes more of an ally than my fellow conservatives who sadly, because of their pandering will lose another presidential election.

  • Capitalism is amoral. As a result, it comes as no surprise that Engage Cuba would promote engagement with Cuba based on lost business opportunities. No mention is made of the lack of basic human rights in Cuba or the prevailing anti-business, anti-capitalism national policy in Cuba. But at some point, when the debate on the Senate floor takes place, and it will, proponents of increasing ties the Castro dictatorship will have to face the facts that doing business with the Castros will make them stronger and not weaker. Is that in our interests?

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