Recent Posts

November 20, 2015 |

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 |

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 »

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 »