More than 1200 artists, arts presenters, arts educators and other sectors of the arts/cultural community signed a letter to the president supporting unfettered cultural exchange between the US and Cuba.
In this letter from the US-Cuba Cultural Exchange, more than 1200 artists, arts presenters, arts educators and other sectors of the US arts/cultural community call on President Obama to support unfettered cultural exchange between the United States and Cuba, including unrestricted travel.
Among the signatories are:
Carlos Santana, Musician
Herbie Hancock, Musician/Chairman, Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz
Jackson Browne, Songwriter
Download the letter here
March 3, 2009
President Barack Obama
The White House
Dear President Obama:
We are artists, arts presenters, arts educators, cultural entrepreneurs and scholars, and cultural heritage and policy professionals from diverse political persuasions. We have been adversely affected by the cultural embargo imposed by the U.S. government against both Cuban and American artists and cultural institutions. We are writing to request that you make concrete changes in U.S. policy towards Cuba that will allow for the uninhibited flow of art, culture, information, ideas and debates, as well as travel by artists, cultural workers and professionals, and arts and cultural aficionados between the two countries.
U.S. policies towards Cuba worsened many times over by the previous administration and criticized throughout the world have prevented us from engaging in critical communication and collaboration with our Cuban counterparts, compromising our nation s cherished ideals of freedom of expression and preventing cultural interchange between two societies that share a historic relationship lasting over two centuries.
In 2007 we requested policy changes from the Bush Administration so that respectful, critical dialogue and principled exchange could take place between the peoples of Cuba and the United States and our respective governments. Our petition fell on deaf ears. As citizens, artists, scholars, educators and cultural workers from all artistic practices and from advocacy and service organizations in the arts, we now call upon your Administration to:
1. open a respectful dialogue with the government and people of Cuba in
accord with established protocols supported by the community of
2. end the travel ban that prevents U.S. citizens from visiting Cuba, and
allow for Cuban artists and scholars to visit the United States, thus
eliminating the censorship of art and ideas, and
3. initiate, by working with the U.S. Congress, a process that can result in the
development of normal, respectful bilateral relations between our countries.
The artistic and cultural communities in the United States and in Cuba are
catalysts of imagination and creativity. We are committed to serve as bridges
for our fellow citizens. Now, we need our government to take leadership and
re-open the pathways of exchange.
We look forward to working with you to advance the interests of the United States and of Cuba.
(Sampling of over 1,200 signatures from Americans in the arts & culture as of March 10, 2009, viewable online at http://www.cubaresearch.info/cubaletter2009 )