WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
8 Nov 2013

NGOs, Member of Congress Unite to Call for Further Action in U.S. Policy towards Cuba

On November 8, 2013, Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) sent a letter to President Obama praising past executive actions to improve U.S.-Cuban relations and called on the president to take further action.

In her letter, Representative Lee highlighted a similar letter to the President signed by 55 NGOs—including WOLA—that also called for future administrative action on U.S. policy toward Cuba. The signers of this letter composed a diverse range of organizations, including human rights organizations, public policy and research foundations, and religious groups, as well as businesses with tourism or travel interests.

The NGOs commended President Obama specifically for his 2011 reforms, which loosened many travel restrictions. Yet they also urged the president to deepen these policies through the same three measures urged by Representative Lee:

1)      The removal of Cuba from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism, which they argued is outdated and, based on the current actions of Cuba, unwarranted.

2)      The creation of a general license for all purposeful travel to Cuba. The need to apply for specific licenses for many categories of travel limits people-to-people exchanges between the United States and Cuba.

3)      High level diplomacy and dialogue between Cuba and the United States, through initiative on the U.S. side.

Please click here to read the letters. 

Photo via Wikimedia Commons.