WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas

(Yamil Lage/AFP)

17 Dec 2020 | Publication

The United States and Cuba: A New Policy of Engagement

Washington, D.C.—The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) and the Center for Democracy in the Americas (CDA) created a roadmap for how the Biden-Harris administration can implement a policy of engagement toward Cuba in The United States and Cuba: A New Policy of Engagement.

Six years after President Barack Obama’s December 17, 2014 announcement that he would begin normalizing relations with Cuba, we continue to emphasize the importance of engagement to advance the interests of the U.S. and of the Cuban people. Engagement accomplished more in two years than the policy of hostility achieved in sixty, and is a more effective strategy to advance the cause of human rights, political liberty, and economic reform. Engagement will expand the market for U.S. businesses, raise the standard of living for the Cuban people, and encourage economic reform on the island. A new policy of engagement entails relatively little political risk and has the potential to mobilize a wide variety of constituencies in support.

The report expands on why Cuba should be a priority given that a variety of bipartisan stakeholders including the business community, Congress, and Cuban Americans support policies of engagement. The roadmap lays out a series of sequenced recommendations in three sections “Repairing the Damage: The First Nine Months,” “Taking the Initiative: The Second Year,” and “Finishing the Job: A Legislative Agenda” detailing with how the Biden-Harris administration can move quickly to implement much-needed change in U.S.-Cuba policy.

Read the Report