WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
12 Mar 2009 |

More than 1200 US Artists, Performers Support travel to Cuba

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

To sign the letter, please visit:


Download the letter here


March 3, 2009

President Barack Obama

The White House

Washington, DC


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 )