Recent Posts

February 5, 2016 |

Cuba Central News Brief: Peace and the Parallel Universe

Blessed are the peacemakers, it says in Matthew 5:9 – and the peacemakers seem to converging in Havana. One week from today, the leaders of Roman Catholicism and the Russian Orthodox Church will meet in Cuba to try and advance the healing process between Eastern and Western Christianity, churches which… read more »

January 29, 2016 |

Cuba Central Week In Review: Trade, Travel, and Telecomms

This week, President Obama again used his executive authority to expand travel and trade with Cuba.  The new travel rules have different dimensions to them, but they will surely intensify the cultural connectivity between our two countries.   As press accounts again proved this week, the President’s earlier reforms are… read more »

January 26, 2016 |

PRESS RELEASE: CDA Statement on new Treasury and Commerce regulations regarding Cuba

WASHINGTON – Sarah Stephens, executive director of the Center for Democracy in the Americas, issued the following statement on the new regulations released by Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control and the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security. “The new regulations support expanded exports, travel, and cultural exchange… read more »

January 22, 2016 |

Cuba Central News Brief: Cuba and the Audacity of Hope, 2016 Edition

Last week, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough offered a teaser about the year ahead: He said, “We’ll do audacious executive actions throughout the course of the year, I am confident of that,” in comments reported by The Hill. We can’t say what those executive actions involve since “McDonough… read more »

January 15, 2016 |

Cuba Central News Briefing: Stop and Smell (the Cuban) Coffee (or what would Goethe say?)

As he departed the presidency in 1961, Dwight D. Eisenhower summarized the foreign policy accomplishments of his administration. Ending the Korean War and preserving peace in the Middle East were among them.  But, he also noted a few of the world’s continuing dangers, starting with what he called the “Communist penetration of… read more »

January 8, 2016 |

Cuba Central News Briefing: Cuba and the U.S. – The State of the Reunion

In the days before President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union address, we wrote about the promising dimensions of his new direction in Cuba policy – it’s strong emphasis on expanding travel, encouraging diplomacy, broadening engagement by “ball players and marine scientists, artists and experts,” and bringing the business community… read more »

December 24, 2015 |

Christmas Twist: Cuba’s On Obama’s Fourth Quarter “Bucket List”

Last Spring, when President Obama addressed the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, he said to the reporters on hand at the annual ‘Washington Celebrates Itself’ Gala, “Welcome to the fourth quarter of my presidency.”  “I am determined to make the most of every moment I have left.” He said, “After… read more »

December 23, 2015 |

BEISBOL at center of Cuba-US rapprochement

Authored by friend of CDA, Tom Hayden. I’ve written articles this year in the LA Times and the Nation, as well as an entire book, Listen Yankee! on the Cuban-US rapprochement, but my favorite reporting is about baseball and coexistence. Not because I’m an old ballplayer who’s visited Cuba several… read more »

December 18, 2015 |

Cuba Central News Briefing: Strait Talk: What Does D-17 Mean to You?

According to a survey released this week, there has been a striking increase in support among Cubans and Cuban Americans living in the United States for President Obama’s policies of engagement and reconciliation toward Cuba since he began making epic changes in the policy on December 17th, 2014.   Compared… read more »

December 16, 2015 |

PRESS RELEASE: CDA Statement on 2016 Omnibus Spending Bill

PRESS RELEASE: CDA Statement on 2016 Omnibus Spending Bill WASHINGTON – Sarah Stephens, executive director of the Center for Democracy in the Americas, issued the following statement on the spending package agreed to late Tuesday night by congressional leaders of both parties: “One year into the President’s diplomatic initiative with… read more »

December 16, 2015 |

PRESS RELEASE: CDA Supports the Bipartisan Congressional Cuba Working Group

WASHINGTON – Sarah Stephens, executive director of the Center for Democracy in the Americas, issued the following statement on the formation of a new bipartisan Cuba Working Group in the U.S. House of Representatives: “The formation of a new, bipartisan Cuba Working Group is a fitting demonstration that the process… read more »

December 14, 2015 |

Caracas Connect: December 14, 2015 Report

In the weeks leading to the National Assembly elections in Venezuela, there was little doubt that the opposition would make gains, probably win a majority. Few anticipated the overwhelming margin by which the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), founded by the late President Hugo Chávez Friás, lost the… read more »

December 11, 2015 |

Cuba Central News Briefing: “Hey, D-17. I’ve Got Mail!”

Fifty-two years ago, as our country recovered from its near death experience in the Cuban Missile Crisis, the U.S. government cut off direct mail service to the island.  Although letters could still pass from Miami to Havana, so long as they flowed through third countries, the ban on direct postal… read more »

December 4, 2015 |

Cuba Central News Briefing: Cuba News – Like Drinking Water from a Fire Hose

Dear Friends, In the year since Presidents Obama and Castro announced that Cuba and the U.S. would resume diplomatic relations, tracking – and even making sense of – the news has felt like sipping water from a fire hose. After decades of stagnation, frustration, and failure, the new policy has… read more »

November 25, 2015 |

Cuba Central News Briefing: Heaping Helpings of Cuba News and Gratitude

Dear Friends, As we prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday, we want to give special thanks to you, our loyal readers, and express our gratitude for the cornucopia of progress we have all enjoyed as Cuba and the United States opened a new era of closer ties. We’re grateful for the… read more »

November 20, 2015 |

Cuba Central News Briefing: The Doorbell in the Wall

The military has an expression, SNAFU, which stands for “situation normal all fouled up,” except soldiers use a synonym for “fouled up.” Without making light of what is surely a humanitarian crisis, the surge of migration from Cuba has become more urgent and visible in the last days and weeks. … read more »

November 13, 2015 |

Cuba Central News Briefing: Is the New Cuba Policy Popular with U.S. Voters? ¡Sin Duda!

Next week, our friends at the Atlantic Council and Engage Cuba will release their “America’s Heartland Survey” of voter opinion in Iowa, Ohio, Tennessee, and Indiana about U.S. policy toward Cuba. While the hard numbers won’t be out until Tuesday, we do know that the poll shows significant support for engagement in… read more »

November 10, 2015 |

Senate Foreign Relations Committee votes 12-7 to advance Obama’s choice for envoy to Mexico

The Dallas Morning News– WASHINGTON–The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted minutes ago to advance the nomination of Roberta Jacobson to be the next U.S. ambassador to Mexico. The vote was 12-7 in favor of Jacobson and drew support from Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and all but one of the panel’s Democrats. Also voting in… read more »

November 6, 2015 |

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast: Free Roberta!

  Dear Friends,   The new play about Donald Trump, “Los Hijos de Trump,” or “Sons of Trump,” a comedy, is supposedly a big hit in Mexico City.   Putting Trump aside, however, U.S.-Mexico relations are no laughing matter. There is the crisis of Mexico’s drug cartels, problems facing the… read more »

October 30, 2015 |

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast: Now that’s normalization: Pentagon removes Cuba from State Sponsors of Terror List

Without Tim Devaney, a reporter for The Hill who is either eagle–eyed or really well–connected, we might have missed this jewel of an item. “Friday’s edition of the Federal Register,” he wrote, “contains new rules for defense acquisitions from Cuba. Following President Obama’s call to repair relations with Cuba and… read more »

October 27, 2015

PRESS RELEASE: With UN Vote Against Embargo Comes Acknowledgement of Change in US Policy

With UN Vote Against Embargo Comes Acknowledgement of Change in US Policy WASHINGTON D.C. – The Center for Democracy in the Americas (CDA) released the following statement on the UN Vote against the US embargo on Cuba by Sarah Stephens, CDA’s executive director: “For the first time since the General Assembly… read more »

October 23, 2015 |

CUBA CENTRAL NEWSBLAST: Navin R. Johnson’s UN Vote Preview

Spoiler alert: On Tuesday, the United Nations General Assembly will consider Cuba’s resolution on the “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America on Cuba.” The vote is not in doubt; a similar resolution condemning the U.S. embargo was adopted by a… read more »

October 16, 2015 |

CUBA CENTRAL NEWSBLAST: News about a Florida Poll, and reflections on travel and trade

By a greater than two-to-one margin, Floridians favor opening diplomatic relations with Cuba, according to the Sunshine State Survey released this week. When asked, “Do you favor freeing up diplomatic relations with Cuba?,” 56% of Floridians indicated support and only 26% opposed the idea. While the fact that diplomacy with… read more »

October 9, 2015 |

CUBA CENTRAL NEWSBLAST: You didn’t hear him knocking (Obama’s Cuba policy)

From today to the inauguration of the next U.S. president, two themes will likely shape our analysis of U.S.-Cuba relations over the next 67 weeks. The first is what we call the “Power Shift,” the ongoing transformation in “who calls the shots” in the Cuba policy debate; the second is… read more »

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 »