HAVANA TIMES — California Congresswoman Barbara Lee has delivered a personal letter along with a letter signed by 56 organizations to President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry expressing appreciation for the changes the President has made in U.S. policy toward Cuba since taking office in 2009 and appealing for further steps to be taken.
In particular the letters calls on the President to use his executive authority to:
- Initiate direct high-level dialogue with Cuba’s government.
- Remove Cuba from the State Department’s State Sponsor of Terrorism list.
- Lift all restrictions on permissible travel to Cuba by anyone under U.S. jurisdiction.
The letters also stress that all signers, and the vast networks they represent, support full normalization of relations between the U.S. and Cuba.
Emily Chow of the Latin America Working Group, who collaborated with Rep. Lee to send this message to the White House says that the action shows that “there is a broad and deep level of support that exists in this country to change our failed policy towards Cuba.”
Chow points out that today “the majority of Cuban Americans are in favor of engagement, as well as the majority of U.S. citizens.” Indeed several of the organizations endorsing the missive represent hundreds of Cuban Americans: Cubapuentes, Cuban Americans For Engagement (CAFÉ), Progreso Weekly, Cuban American Alliance, and FORNORM.
Ben Willis of CAFÉ explains that his organization signed the letter because it “conveys the collective desires of our members to bring about positive, productive change in U.S.-Cuba relations. A change that will benefit both nations and their citizens.”