Recent Posts

October 2, 2015 |

CUBA CENTRAL NEWSBLAST: Letter from Cuba – Where Technology is More Than Bright Shiny Objects

This week, we visited Cuba with a delegation of highly knowledgeable and engaged women leaders;  enabling us to share what we have learned, expand what know, and engage with Cubans – new and familiar, in government, civil society, and among the self-employed -with fresh eyes and ears.  One story of… read more »

September 25, 2015 |

CUBA CENTRAL NEWSBLAST: The hardliners’ autumn

This Tuesday, on the eve of the autumnal equinox, Pope Francis flew north to Washington from Santiago de Cuba to meet President Obama. The meeting joined the moral authority of the Pontiff and the political authority of the President to accelerate the embargo’s ongoing fall from grace. Aboard his plane… read more »

September 18, 2015 |

CUBA CENTRAL NEWSBLAST: As Francis Takes Flight to Cuba, Obama Revises the Rules

Pope Francis will land in Cuba tomorrow for a three-day visit for what the Vatican has called a “complex trip.”   In the run-up to his visit, Cubans were able to prescreen a video from the Pontiff whose message was direct, open, and clear:   “I would like to convey to… read more »

September 18, 2015

PRESS RELEASE: CDA Statement on New Cuba Rules Easing Restrictions on Travel and Trade

New Cuba Trade and Travel Rules Will Intensify Business Ties and Expand Benefits of Normalization WASHINGTON – According to Sarah Stephens, executive director of the Center for Democracy in the Americas (CDA), wide-ranging changes in regulations announced today by the Obama administration will vastly expand opportunities for a broad range… read more »

September 18, 2015 |

U.S. issues new rules boosting travel, trade with Cuba; Countries close to pacts on mail service and flights

The Obama administration today issued new regulations further easing restrictions on travel to Cuba and doing business in Cuba, changes that will benefit people and businesses in both countries.  Restrictions on certain remittances to Cuba have been entirely removed. Press reports also indicate that the U.S. and Cuba have agreed… read more »

September 11, 2015 |

CUBA CENTRAL NEWSBLAST: A Guy from TV Marti Walks into a Bar

Stop us if you’ve heard this one. A civil servant from TV Martí walks into a bar, orders 12 shots, and starts drinking them as fast as he can. The bartender interrupts him to ask, “Why on Earth are you drinking so fast?” The guy says, “You’d be drinking fast,… read more »

August 31, 2015 |

Why Ending the Embargo is Good for Our Health

The Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) has released a video explaining why they believe, CimaVax, Cuba’s lung cancer vaccine is “a game changer.”  The vaccine, which is now used in Cuba and elsewhere to slow the progression of the disease, could be used in the future to prevent its onset… read more »

August 21, 2015 |

CUBA CENTRAL NEWSBLAST: Trump vs. Trump — is there another way to think about doing business in Cuba?

Back in 1996, Pamela Falk gave us a glimpse of Donald Trump’s vision of doing business with Cuba: “The people of Cuba are the greatest in the world. I’d like to help them rebuild the country and return it to its original splendor. And as soon as the law changes, I am… read more »

August 20, 2015

PRESS RELEASE: CDA Urges Treasury Secretary Lew to Expand Travel to Cuba

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Center for Democracy in the Americas (CDA) is urging Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew to expand travel to Cuba by permitting individuals to visit the island under the same rules that govern trips by organizations that sponsor groups under the people-to-people program. The letter sent to the… read more »

August 17, 2015

Sarah Stephens y Ric Herrero: Optimistas

PROGRESO SEMANAL– LA HABANA. Sarah Stephens, directora del Center for Democracy in the Americas, y Ric Herrero, director ejecutivo de Cubanow, uno de los más importantes lobbys a favor del restablecimeinto de las relaciones entre Cuba y Estados Unidos, ofrecieron en exclusiva a Progreso Semanal sus impresiones sobre la inauguración de… read more »

August 14, 2015 |

CUBA CENTRAL NEWSBLAST: Flag-Raising in Havana — to see and hear something worth remembering

“Now comes the hard part,” wrote Fox News Latino.  “Years of work remain to normalize ties,” the Wall Street Journal said.  “Now comes the hard part,” an opinion piece in Politico repeated. Each of these articles was posted hours before Secretary of State John Kerry landed in Cuba to lead… read more »

August 14, 2015

Our Man in Havana

BLOOMBERG VIEW– When U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry raises the flag over the U.S. embassy in Havana on Friday, it will be a hugely symbolic moment. But it will take an act of Congress — literally — to make substantive progress on the thorny issues that have divided the… read more »

August 14, 2015 |

PRESS RELEASE: Statement by Sarah Stephens, Center for Democracy in the Americas, after witnessing the U.S. Flag-Raising

HAVANA – Sarah Stephens, executive director of the Center for Democracy in the Americas, issued the following statement after attending the flag-raising at the U.S. Embassy in Havana: “We’ve entered an entirely new era in U.S.-Cuba relations. The flag-raising over the new U.S. embassy in Havana symbolizes the hopeful idea… read more »

August 7, 2015 |

CUBA CENTRAL NEWSBLAST: Respect and the Wisdom of Letting Change Happen

Before next week’s opening of the U.S. Embassy in Havana, we wanted to say one last thing about last month’s opening of Cuba’s Embassy in Washington. Three days after the Cuban flag was hoisted at the Embassy, it was lowered to half-staff, as Rosa Miriam Elizalde reported here. This action, consistent… read more »

July 31, 2015 |

CUBA CENTRAL NEWSBLAST: Watch Their Language! On listening to the Bipartisan Calls to End the Cuba Embargo

This morning, before an audience gathered at Florida International University, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “The Cuba embargo needs to go, once and for all. We should replace it with a smarter approach that empowers the Cuban private sector, Cuban civil society, and the Cuban-American community to spur… read more »

July 31, 2015 |

PRESS RELEASE: CDA Statement on Secretary Clinton’s Landmark Cuba Speech

WASHINGTON — Sarah Stephens, executive director of the Center for Democracy in the Americas (CDA), issued the following statement on Secretary Hillary Clinton’s landmark campaign speech at Florida International University today: “What makes Secretary Clinton’s speech profound is her recognition that a policy of engagement rather than embargo offers the best… read more »

July 28, 2015 |

PRESS RELEASE: Emmer-Castor bill to Lift Cuba Trade Ban Offers Opportunity to Cuban People and U.S. Business

WASHINGTON – Sarah Stephens, executive director of the Center for Democracy in the Americas (CDA), issued the following statement about the Cuba Trade Act of 2015 in the U.S. House of Representatives: “The Emmer-Castor bipartisan Cuba Trade Act shows how engagement with Cuba can provide greater economic opportunities for the… read more »

July 24, 2015 |

CUBA CENTRAL NEWSBLAST: Flag Poles to Public Opinion Polls – Is Congress (Finally) Getting the Message?

Today, we ask when the pageantry of diplomacy and the immense, growing public support for the new U.S.-Cuba policy will translate into actions by Congress to realize the promise of engagement. That day may be closer than you think. On Monday, the United States and Cuba restored diplomatic relations, the… read more »

July 23, 2015

PRESS RELEASE: CDA Statement on U.S. Senate Appropriations Cuba Amendments

WASHINGTON – Sarah Stephens, executive director of the Center for Democracy in the Americas (CDA), issued the following statement after the Senate Appropriations Committee adopted three amendments on travel and trade with Cuba: “Today’s bipartisan Senate Appropriations Committee vote to legalize travel adds new momentum to further the opening of… read more »

July 20, 2015

PRESS RELEASE: CDA Statement on the Historic Reopening of U.S. and Cuban Embassies

WASHINGTON – The Center for Democracy in the Americas (CDA) released the following statement on today’s historic reopening of embassies in Havana and Washington, DC. “Whether you are in Havana or Washington, DC watching our embassies open, what you are seeing is the final act of the Cold War,” said… read more »

July 17, 2015 |

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast: A Banner Year for Change

Last Friday, the Confederate Flag was lowered on the State House grounds in Columbia, South Carolina. Next Monday, the Cuban Flag will be hung in the State Department lobby and wave over the building in Washington that will once again serve as Cuba’s embassy. Later this summer, the flag of the United… read more »

July 10, 2015 |

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast: Rubio, Cuba, and a tale of two speeches

On July 7th, Senator Marco Rubio delivered a speech said to be about reforming higher education and finding where the jobs of the future will be created. But, it was really about the failed ways of Washington and the character of strong leadership. In one key section he says: We… read more »

June 30, 2015 |

PRESS RELEASE: CDA Applauds Announcement That U.S. and Cuba Will Reopen Embassies

WASHINGTON — The Center for Democracy in the Americas (CDA) released the following statement in reaction to reports that the agreement between Cuba and the U.S. to restore diplomatic relations and open embassies in their respective capitals will be announced tomorrow.  “This is a moment we have been working toward for… read more »

June 26, 2015 |


by Dr. Dan Hellinger Divisions Deepen within Left and Right in Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro and the Bolivarian government have seen a defection of a faction of its grassroots organizers and intellectual supporters. The radical Marea Socialista (or “Socialist Tide”) has definitively split from the Unified Socialist Party of Venezuela… read more »

June 26, 2015 |

Reflecting on Carlos Gutierrez’s Cuba Conversion and Why He Was Rebuked

As U.S. Secretary of Commerce in the administration of President George W. Bush, Carlos Gutierrez supported policies to overthrow Cuba’s government and replace its political and economic systems with a framework forged in Washington. A day after the speeches by President Obama and Castro on their decision to restore bilateral relations, Gutierrez… read more »

June 19, 2015 |

The Cuban Military Not So Transparent Act

Legislation introduced earlier this month by Senator Marco Rubio (FL) – the Cuban Military Transparency Act – isn’t transparent at all. Rather than revealing something about Cuba’s military, the legislation conceals the intent of its authors; namely, to shame, harass, and try to stop every American from visiting Cuba or… read more »

June 12, 2015 |

Is The Supreme Court Passport Decision A Threat to Helms-Burton? We think so.

The Supreme Court’s decision this week in what is called the Jerusalem Passport Case poses a clear danger to the Helms-Burton law, and it will help to accelerate the unraveling of what has held together our nation’s counterproductive policies against Cuba. The hardliners feared and predicted exactly this fallout from… read more »

June 11, 2015 |

THE NEW YORK TIMES: The Cuban woman: A rising power

Luisita Lopez Torregrosa, The New York Times — Expectations and excitement about Cuba are at a high boil, with thousands of people on both sides of the Straits of Florida giddy with anticipation of historic change. Congressional, business and educational delegations are landing daily in Havana, eager to sample the… read more »

June 8, 2015 |

TELESUR: Sarah Stephens on US-Cuba Relations

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Jorge Gestoso, Telesur — In today’s edition of Interviews from Washington DC, US-Cuba relations is the topic, and our host Jorge Gestoso interviews Sarah Stephens of the Center for Democracy in the Americas. Stephens has made at least 60 visits to Cuba and has organized any number of visits of… read more »

May 29, 2015 |

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast: Hard-liners’ Edifice Complex

Last week, we stuck our necks out. We asked Members of Congress who support the opening with Cuba — and the companies which stand to benefit from it — to make their positions clear about the legislative riders cantering through the Appropriations Committee that seek to shut down new flights… read more »