WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
1 May 2009 | News

WOLA’s Geoff Thale Testifies Before Congress

On April 27, 2009, WOLA Program Director Geoff Thale testified before the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce regarding U.S. trade with Cuba. Thale explains while there are “serious human rights” in Cuba today, “Cuba’s social accomplishments… are real, and should not be lightly dismissed.” He asserts that due to the U.S. embargo, the United States “is in no position to play a useful or constructive role in urging Cuba to improve the human rights situation.”

Thale discusses other countries’ approaches to Cuba and underscores that U.S. engagement with Cuba will be more effective than isolation in encouraging greater respect for human rights and democratic practices. He argues that “For the United States to move toward travel, trade, and engagement is not to abandon our human rights concerns about Cuba, but to advance them in a more constructive way … Only when trade is accompanied by political and diplomatic engagement with human rights issues, and with homegrown pressure for the respect of human rights, can the potential to affect human rights be realized.”

Please click here to read the testimony.