Washington, D.C.—On March 21-22, President Obama will travel to Havana, Cuba in a historic visit following 15 months of efforts to normalize U.S.-Cuba relations. It is the first such visit by a sitting U.S. president in over 80 years, and is sure to highlight the biggest issues facing Cuba today, including human rights challenges, ongoing economic reforms, and the 55-year-old U.S. trade embargo on the island. The trip comes just as the Obama administration has released new regulations that will ease restrictions on travel and commerce in Cuba.
The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), a leading research and advocacy organization that has been advocating for the normalization of U.S.-Cuba relations for the last 20 years, will have key experts on the ground in Havana and in Washington available for commentary.
WOLA has also produced a series of commentary pieces and factsheets on the wide range of issues at play ahead of the visit, including:
- The ways in which the Obama administration can advance trade and engagement with Cuba even further, outlined in a 14-step policy memo.
- How engagement with Cuba can encourage improvements in human rights and political freedoms there.
- The latest updates on the economic and political reforms underway in Cuba.
- Recent public opinion shifts in the United States, in which a majority of Americans of all political stripes now support ending the U.S. trade embargo.
Senior Associate Marc Hanson, an expert on U.S. foreign policy towards Cuba, will be in Havana during the president's trip. Program Director Geoff Thale, who founded WOLA’s Cuba Program in the 1990s and is deeply familiar with both the reforms underway and the human rights situation on the island, will be available for comment from Washington.