Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 9, 2006

Contact: Michael Bustamonte, 916-425-0839

Letter to Congressman Charles B. Rangel from Antonio Gonzalez and Other Latino Leaders on Cuba Policy

Dear Congressman Rangel:

Congratulations on your reelection to Congress and your presumptive path to the chairmanship of the House Ways and Means Committee.

As you consider your priorities for the 110 th Congress, we urge you to continue playing a leadership role in the effort to change U.S. policy toward Cuba.

Efforts to isolate Cuba – diplomatically and economically – have been in place since the Kennedy Administration. After more than forty-five years, it is time to concede the obvious: this policy doesn’t work, it takes away freedoms from American citizens and businesses, it divides Cuban families on both sides of the Florida Straits, it has served as a rallying point for the Cuban government against the United States, and it harms America’s image abroad.

For years, our organizations have worked closely with Members of Congress on a bi-partisan basis to change Cuba policy. We have supported your legislation to repeal the embargo, and other bills to repeal the ban on legal travel by Americans to Cuba, to permit oil and gas exploration by U.S. firms in Cuban waters off the Gulf of Mexico, and efforts to remove restrictions on the sales of agriculture products, to name just a few.

We are eager to work with you going forward to advance these and other objectives. A historic transition is already taking place in Cuba without participation or influence by the United States. We need a new Cuba policy, and you are in a vitally important position to lead the way.

Sincerely,

Sarah Stephens, Director, Center for Democracy in the Americas

Antonio Gonzalez, President, William C. Velasquez Institute

Steven Clemons, Director, American Strategy Program, New America Foundation

John McAuliff, Director, Fund for Reconciliation and Development

Mavis Anderson, Senior Associate, Latin America Working Group

Geoff Thale, Program Director, Washington Office on Latin America

Kirby Jones, President, Alamar Associates

Silvia Wilhelm, Executive Director, Puentes Cubanos

Alvaro Fernandez, President, Cuban American Commission for Family Rights

Ruben Rumbaut, Ph.D., Steering Committee of ENCASA (Emergency Network of Cuban American Scholars and Artists)

Wayne Smith, Senior Fellow and Director, Cuba Program, Center for International Policy

Lissa Weinmann, Senior Fellow and Director, National Summit on Cuba World Policy Institute, The New School

About the William C. Velasquez Institute

Chartered in 1985, The William C. Velásquez Institute (WCVI) is a non-profit, non-partisan Latino-oriented research and policy think tank with ottices in San Antonio , Texas and Los Angeles , California . For more information regarding WCVI, please visit our website at www.wcvi.org

 

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