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August 29, 2014 |

STATEMENT BY SARAH STEPHENS RESPONDING TO TAMPA BAY TIMES NEWS STORY

Washington, D.C. – The Tampa Bay Times reports this evening that two, top staff members for Senator Marco Rubio and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27) took junkets to China which were financed by China’s government. The paper identified them as Sally Canfield, deputy chief of staff to Rubio, and Arthur Estopinan, chief of staff to Ros-Lehtinen.

August 29, 2014 |

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast: Labor Day Weekend “No Apologies” Edition

Dear Friends: Thank you for welcoming us back. While we were on holiday last week, the Associated Press reported, “The U.S. Treasury Department’s inspector general has determined Jay-Z and Beyonce’s fifth-anniversary trip to Cuba last year was legal under rules allowing educational travel to the island.” Did the AP get… read more »

August 15, 2014 |

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast: August Vacation and the Freedom to Travel

Just so you know, we are clearing out of the office for a week, which means we won’t be sending a fresh edition of the Cuba Central News Blast until August 29th. We’re going on vacation! Of course, if we were working in Europe we’d have longer leave (and a… read more »

August 12, 2014 |

Sandra Abd’Allah-Alvarez Ramírez entrevista a Sarah Stephens: Cuando Washington “sujeta la pluma”

Sarah Stephens, la directora ejecutiva del CDA, fue entrevistada por Sandra Abd’Allah-Alvarez Ramírez del blog Negra Cubana Tenía Que Ser. La versión en español, publicada originalmente en Progreso Semanal, se puede leer abajo: Conocí a Sarah Stephens a raíz de la publicación de En primera persona, libro que presenta entrevistas realizadas a 49… read more »

August 11, 2014 |

Sandra Abd’Allah-Alvarez Ramírez interview with Sarah Stephens: When Washington ‘holds the pen’

CDA Executive Director Sarah Stephens had this interview below with Sandra Abd’Allah-Alvarez Ramírez of the Negra Cubana Tenía Que Ser blog. The English version, originally published in Progreso Weekly, is here below: I met Sarah Stephens through the book “En primera persona”, which presents interviews of 49 Cuban women. Since then… read more »

August 8, 2014 |

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast: Nixon Resigned, but “Dirty Tricks” in Cuba Live On

Today, August 8th, marks the fortieth anniversary of Richard Nixon’s decision to resign the presidency. History has been unkind to the 37th President of the U.S., and rightly so.  In one account of his resignation, Nixon is described as “paranoid, vicious, racist, sexist, anti-Semitic, with a casual disregard for anything besides his own… read more »

August 5, 2014 |

El Salvador Update: July 2014 / Informe mensual El Salvador, julio 2014

For the first time since the 1980s, Central America is on Washington’s radar. On this occasion, however, it is not the perceived threat of a communist invasion on the Texas border that has prompted attention, but the seemingly sudden arrival on that border of an unprecedented wave of children from the Northern Triangle countries of Central America: El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

August 5, 2014 |

Associated Press: Health Groups Decry U.S. Political Efforts in Cuba

Public health advocates and U.S. lawmakers are highly critical of the Obama administration’s use of an HIV-prevention workshop in Cuba for political purposes, saying such clandestine efforts put health programs at risk around the world. The program, funded and overseen by the U.S. Agency for International Development, deployed nearly a… read more »

August 4, 2014 |

Rep. Barbara Lee: Congresswoman Lee Denounces Alleged USAID Undercover Democracy Promotion Operation in Cuba

Washington, DC – Congresswoman Lee, a member of the Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, released the following statement in response to reports that the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) engaged in undercover operations to encourage political change in Cuba: “I am appalled by recent reports that… read more »

August 4, 2014 |

Associated Press: US Sent Latin Youth Undercover in Anti-Cuba Ploy

Fernando Murillo was typical of the young Latin Americans deployed to Cuba by a U.S. agency to work undercover. He had little training in the dangers of clandestine operations — or how to evade one of the world’s most sophisticated counter-intelligence services. Their assignment was to recruit young Cubans to… read more »

August 1, 2014 |

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast: Friends Don’t Let Congress Drive Cuba Policy

Congress spent a month spinning itself into a frenzy over the crisis at the southern border of the U.S. But, after weeks of photo ops, accusations that the Obama Administration created the crisis and failed to stop it, and shameful efforts to marginalize the children who fled poverty and violence… read more »

July 29, 2014 |

SARAH STEPHENS: The EU has recognized that its Common Position has failed to improve human rights in Cuba. It’s time for the U.S. to do the same with its embargo.

After the European Union voted to set aside its Common Policy (Helms-Burton “Lite”) in favor of direct negotiations with Cuba, Americas Quarterly asked CDA to contribute an article to its summer edition on whether this breakthrough had implications for U.S. policy. The summer edition is out now, and the article can be read for free here. In it, we identify the three arguments for the US following the EU’s lead that are most likely to inspire action by the Obama Administration.

July 25, 2014 |

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast: Rubio Discovers Void, Proposes More of What Created It

In 1992, Brigadier General Simon P. Worden, then serving at the Department of Defense, coined the phrase “self-licking ice cream cones” to describe a curiosity of Washington bureaucratic life.  This is defined as a process that offers few benefits and exists primarily to justify its own existence. The U.S. embargo against Cuba… read more »

July 25, 2014 |

José Miguel Cruz: The real failure in Central America

The failure to manage the crisis of Central American child refugees at the Mexican border is not only about the inability to enact a comprehensive immigration policy reform. The real problem is the failure to build transparent and competent criminal justice institutions in Central America, especially after millions of American… read more »

July 18, 2014 |

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast: A Single Standard of Justice

In the news summary that follows, you will find reports about a new investigation into the USAID Cuban Twitter scandal, the growing impact of the increasingly tight enforcement of U.S. sanctions against Cuba and other nations on banks and global commerce, and the resumption of peace talks in Havana between… read more »

July 15, 2014 |

SARAH STEPHENS: Putin in Havana, America at the Movies

When Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Havana this week to build closer ties with Cuba’s senior leadership, it begged the question, “Haven’t we seen this movie before?” Our narrative starts at the height of the Cold War. Cuba’s revolutionary government established formal diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union on May… read more »

July 11, 2014 |

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast: Putin in Cuba, Groundhog Day in America

As Russian President Vladimir Putin visits Havana, and builds closer ties with Cuba’s senior leadership, it begs the question, “Haven’t we seen this movie before?” Our six-decade stalemate with Cuba started at the height of the Cold War.  Cuba established formal diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union on May 8,… read more »

July 3, 2014 |

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast: Democracy: Is there an app for that?

We are on the cusp of our July 4th holiday here in the U.S., when we remember the revolutionary origins of our country and celebrate our independence with baseball, beer, and displays of fireworks accompanied by a spirited rendition of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. Because we’re eager to finish the work week,… read more »

July 2, 2014 |

El Salvador Update: June 2014 / Informe mensual El Salvador, junio 2014

Nogales

On June 1st, Salvador Sánchez Cerén was sworn in as President of El Salvador with all due pomp and ceremony. The former guerrilla commander’s acceptance speech was widely praised as conciliatory, and the exuberant President later told supporters, “I struggled for 50 years for my dreams, and now I am here, President of the Republic!”

June 30, 2014

Just 50 cars sold in 6 months under new law

Andrea Rodriguez, Associated Press – Just 50 automobiles and four motorcycles have been sold in Cuba in the nearly six months since a new law took effect that let islanders buy vehicles from state-run dealerships without a special permit for the first time in decades, authorities said Monday. Sales totaled about… read more »

June 27, 2014 |

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast: Washington, Cuba, and the Climate for Dysfunction

This headline – “Cuba plans to drill near Keys again in 2015” – helped us clarify the news this week about U.S. policy toward Cuba and the dysfunction that surrounds it. As David Goodhue, reporting for the Florida Keys Keynoter, explained, Cuba will resume exploratory drilling off the Florida Keys… read more »

June 20, 2014 |

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast: The Engagement Party

These days, the President can’t shake hands with an adversary – much less negotiate freedom for an American prisoner – without being stung by fifties-era fighting words like appeasement. This week, however, there was more evidence that the President has greater political space to negotiate with Cuba than he might have otherwise thought. Florida… read more »

June 18, 2014 |

CDA’s Statement on Alan Gross’s Loss

It was June 2011 when a delegation from the Center for Democracy in the Americas visited Alan Gross in prison for the first time.  He was thin and, all at once, cheerful, combative, and deeply sad.  We talked about everything from sports in the U.S. to his daily exercise regime… read more »

June 18, 2014 |

Jewish Telegraphic Agency: Mother of Alan Gross dies

Jewish Telegraphic Agency – The mother of Alan Gross, the Jewish-American contractor imprisoned in Cuba, has died. Evelyn Gross died Wednesday in Plano, Texas, according to a statement by Emily Black, a spokeswoman for the Gross family. She had long been suffering from cancer. She was 92. “This is a devastating… read more »

June 17, 2014 |

Sarah Stephens: South Florida Poll Confirms Big Shift in Exile Community on Cuba

Public opinion about Cuba in South Florida has shifted dramatically. Actually, that’s an understatement. Let me illustrate the point this way. In March of 1991, seventy-three percent of Cuban Americans strongly favored tightening the embargo and 62 percent strongly favored assembling an exile army to overthrow Cuba’s government by military… read more »

June 17, 2014 |

FIU Poll: Miami Cuban-Americans support end to embargo

Laura Wides-Munoz, Associated Press – About half of Cuban-Americans surveyed in Miami support an end to the U.S. embargo of Cuba. Even more support resuming diplomatic relations with the communist island’s government. That’s according to a Florida International University poll released Tuesday. It’s the latest in a series of polls conducted… read more »

June 16, 2014 |

William LeoGrande: Denying Visas to Cuban Scholars Cripples Obama’s Policy of Engagement

William M. LeoGrande, Huffington Post – Despite the stalemate in relations between the U.S. and Cuban governments, President Barack Obama deserves credit for deepening relations between the two societies. His 2009 decision to lift restrictions on Cuban American family travel and remittances has led to a five-fold increase in family visits… read more »

June 16, 2014 |

Fulton Armstrong: Why Isn’t Alan Gross on Next Plane Home After Bowe Bergdahl?

Fulton T. Armstrong, The Jewish Daily Forward – The Obama administration’s bungling of its media strategy with the release of the captive Army sergeant Bowe Bergdahl has obscured the essential fact that negotiations — even with interlocutors we can’t stand — do work. Anyone doing the American government’s bidding overseas deserves… read more »

June 13, 2014 |

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast: Lots – we mean LOTS – of polling on Cuba!

This week, when the Miami Herald released its survey of 400 registered voters in Miami-Dade County, it contained startling results, including a finding that the Cuba issue is not having much effect on Florida’s race for governor.  (This is not something you would have guessed reading the Herald’s headline: Cuban voters weigh Crist down in… read more »

June 11, 2014 |

SARAH STEPHENS: Secretary Clinton’s Bold Stroke

Diana Nyad, America’s most celebrated long-distance swimmer, tried and tried to cross the Florida Straits. No one had successfully completed the dangerous, marathon swim before. She set out four times, trained hard before setting off, and failed on each occasion. On her fifth attempt, at age 64, she made it…. read more »