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January 23, 2015 |

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast: Obama’s Cuba Policy & the Taming of the Shrill

In his State of the Union Address on Tuesday evening, President Obama devoted 127 words to his new policy on Cuba. “In Cuba, we are ending a policy that was long past its expiration date. When what you’re doing doesn’t work for fifty years, it’s time to try something new…. read more »

January 23, 2015 |

Statement of Sarah Stephens, Executive Director of the Center for Democracy in the Americas, on U.S.-Cuba Diplomacy

The women negotiating on behalf of the U.S. and Cuban governments narrowed the distance from Miami to Havana from 222 miles to six feet, and embarked on a direct discussion about human rights, cooperating on matters of mutual national interest, and opening embassies and exchanging diplomats for the first time… read more »

January 18, 2015 |

SARAH STEPHENS: Cuba, The US and Obama’s State of the Union

If President Obama talks about his Cuba policy on Tuesday night, his State of the Union Address could be unlike any our nation has experienced. Earlier presidents were colonizers; like William McKinley and Teddy Roosevelt, who used their State of the Union messages to justify intervening in Cuba, rewriting it’s Constitution, controlling its… read more »

January 16, 2015 |

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast: Cuba, the U.S., and Obama’s State of the Union

When President Obama speaks before a Joint Session of Congress on Tuesday night, his State of the Union Address could be unlike any we have ever heard, should he address U.S.-Cuba relations. In his 1898 message to Congress, President McKinley justified U.S. intervention in the Spanish-American War as “the interests… read more »

January 12, 2015 |

El Salvador Update: November-December 2014 / Informe mensual El Salvador, noviembre-diciembre 2014

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After publishing this monthly update for five years – and updating our Chronology of Peacemaking for nearly three years – this review of 2014 will be our last edition. The timing of our decision turns out to be just right. It coincides with the surprising and historic news that President Obama will end a long and tragic break with Cuba by restoring diplomatic relations.

January 9, 2015 |

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast: Time the Conqueror: Rumors, Reforms, and Realities

Little has preoccupied the American mindset toward Cuba like our morbid fascination with Fidel Castro’s mortality. The CIA plotted to kill him, often haplessly, and never with “results”. It outsourced the job to contractors, which tied our government to terrorism in the hemisphere. Congress and President Clinton made his demise… read more »

January 7, 2015 |

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH: McCaskill to travel to Cuba to assess markets for Missouri agriculture

Chuck Raasch, St. Louis Post-Dispatch — Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., says she will travel to Cuba before the end of February to assess the markets for Missouri agriculture. McCaskill told reporters Wednesday she had planned a trip before President Obama’s announcement last month that he would take steps to normalize… read more »

January 4, 2015 |

U.S. Senator Ben Cardin Publicly Endorses End to Cuba Embargo

In September 2012, United States Senator Ben Cardin wrote a tough letter to Cuba’s president Raul Castro demanding the unconditional release of Alan Gross, the imprisoned U.S.A.I.D. subcontractor. He and 43 Senate colleagues said “Mr. Gross’s ongoing detention in your country presents a major obstacle to any further actions to… read more »

January 4, 2015 |

Members of Santeria Faith in Cuba and U.S. Hail Diplomatic Breakthrough

Followers of the Santeria faith tradition on both sides of the Strait are offering optimistic forecasts for 2015 in the wake of the diplomatic breakthrough announced December 17th by Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro, according to news reports from Cuba and Florida. Reuters says that Santeria priests in Cuba offered New Year’s prophecies… read more »

December 26, 2014 |

Victory on Cuba: As 2014 ends, a new battle begins

Last week’s announcement that the U.S. and Cuba would re-establish diplomatic relations was cause for celebration in both countries. President Obama’s bold changes in Cuba policy mark the culmination of decades of tireless work by pro-engagement activists. Now is the time to end the embargo once and for all. We… read more »

December 23, 2014 |

STATEMENT BY JOHN BLOCK, SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE FOR RONALD REAGAN (’81-’86)

Responding to last week’s announcement regarding renewing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba, John Block, Secretary of Agriculture for Ronald Reagan (’81-86), said: “As President Obama takes bold steps to base our Cuba policy on engagement, he should also recommit our country against using food as a foreign policy weapon. … read more »

December 23, 2014 |

DAN HELLINGER: Ripe fruit, barricades and Obama’s new Cuba policy

St. Louis Dispatch — The most appealing and welcome words that President Obama spoke in restoring relations with Cuba were addressed to the island’s people, “Some of you have looked to us as a source of hope and we will continue to shine a light of freedom. Others have seen… read more »

December 19, 2014 |

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast: A Note From Havana

Para leer en español, haga clic aquí. In Havana, December 17th was a day of miracles. The first day of Hanukkah, the Feast of Saint Lazarus, and the Afro-Cuban celebration of San Lazaro converged mystically. Magic was in the air. It was a day for Alan Gross, echoing Judaism’s story… read more »

December 19, 2014 |

SARAH STEPHENS en español: Un día de milagros

En La Habana, este 17 de diciembre fue un día de milagros. El primer día la fiesta judía de Janucá, los festejos de San Lázaro y la celebración afrocubana para honrar a este santo convergieron mágicamente. Había magia en el aire. Este fue un día para que Alan Gross, evocando… read more »

December 17, 2014 |

SARAH STEPHENS: OUR CUBA POLICY IS OUR BERLIN WALL, AND IT’S STARTING TO CRUMBLE

This morning, I was in Havana in a room filled with Cubans watching their President, Raul Castro, announce the news that diplomatic relations with the United States would be resumed. When his speech ended, the room was filled with cheers, the Cubans sang their national anthem, and stood at their… read more »

December 17, 2014 |

Watch President Obama’s Cuba Address

CDA’s hard work to reform U.S. policy toward Cuba is paying off. Watch President Obama’s announcement of normalization of relations with Cuba.

December 17, 2014 |

STATEMENT BY SARAH STEPHENS ON RELEASE OF ALAN GROSS

Responding to Cuba’s release of USAID contractor Alan Gross and to reports that the U.S. will release three Cuban spies imprisoned since 2001, Sarah Stephens, executive director of the Center for Democracy in the Americas (CDA), said: “This deal is the biggest diplomatic breakthrough between Cuba and the U.S. in… read more »

December 17, 2014 |

AP: Cuba releases US prisoner Alan Gross

Julie Pace and Matthew Lee, Associated Press — American Alan Gross has been released from a Cuban prison after five years, as part of an agreement that also includes the release of three Cubans jailed in the United States, senior U.S. officials said Wednesday. Officials said Gross was on a… read more »

December 15, 2014 |

NEW YORK TIMES: Cuba’s Economy at a Crossroads

Editorial Board, New York Times — In July 2007, while serving as acting president as his brother underwent medical treatment, Raúl Castro delivered a startling indictment of the Cuban economy when he railed about the inefficiencies of the dairy industry. His description of the onerous and expensive mechanism to get… read more »

December 12, 2014 |

USAID’s Hip Hop Hiccup and the “Smart Power Prom”

A new USAID scandal was exposed yesterday by the exceptional investigative team at the Associated Press. USAID, acting through its notorious contracting partner, Creative Associates International, tried to infiltrate Cuba’s hip-hop community to intensify the political messaging of its artists and use their fans to foment a rapper’s revolution. The… read more »

December 11, 2014 |

SARAH STEPHENS: USAID Scandal: Music to my fears

USAID Scandal:  Music to my fears The Associated Press is reporting that USAID deceived innocent Cubans, put celebrity icons like Silvio Rodriguez and Juanes at risk, and potentially contaminated genuine sources of free expression on the island with a scheme to use Cuban rappers to foment “a youth movement against… read more »

December 9, 2014 |

SARAH STEPHENS: The Worst Cuba Embargo Story of 2014

Since the Kennedy administration, the United States has tried to overthrow Cuba’s government: by force, at the Bay of Pigs; by assassination, through exploding cigars and poison-leaching scuba suits; by isolation, stopping Cuba from joining institutions like the World Bank and the Organization of American States; but, mostly by squeezing… read more »

December 5, 2014 |

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast: Freeing Alan Gross — Does it hinge on what the definition of “equivalence” is?

A sad and troubling milestone was passed on Wednesday, which marked the fifth anniversary of Alan Gross’s arrest in Cuba. This week, the State Department said, “[his] continued incarceration represents a significant impediment to a more constructive bilateral relationship.”

December 4, 2014 |

Video and Petition to Senator Rubio and Rep. Ros-Lehtinen Raise Questions about Double-Standards in U.S. Human Rights and Travel Policies

The Center for Democracy in the Americas has posted a petition and video on change.org focused on the visit to China that Senator Marco Rubio and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen allowed top staffers in their offices to take with expenses picked up by China’s government. The Tampa Bay Times broke the… read more »

November 26, 2014 |

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast: Thanksgiving Edition: Shout-outs and holiday helpings of news

As we prepare for the holiday and gird for stormy weather in the U.S., we offer you light reading and simple gratitude in today’s Thanksgiving Edition. In the final days of 2014, we have reached a moment to savor: the table has been set for President Obama to make decisive… read more »

November 24, 2014 |

LINDA GARRETT: A Presidential Action that Benefits Millions but Excludes Many

While some critics question the legality of the immigration actions President Barack Obama unveiled in his address on November 20th, no one can doubt that the President cemented his legacy with Latinos and other immigrant communities. In a historic, often emotional address, the President presented measures within his executive authority that could benefit as many as five million undocumented immigrants.

November 21, 2014 |

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast: Will Immigration Blowback Affect the Chances for Cuba Reforms?

We couldn’t watch the President’s immigration reform speech last night without wondering what we could learn from his action – and the overreaction to it. What will happen if Mr. Obama also uses his executive power to make decisive changes in Cuba policy? Here’s our take. Get ready for a… read more »

November 16, 2014 |

NEW YORK TIMES: A Cuban Brain Drain, Courtesy of the U.S.

New York Times Editorial Board — Secretary of State John Kerry and the American ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, have praised the work of Cuban doctors dispatched to treat Ebola patients in West Africa. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently sent an official to a regional… read more »

November 14, 2014 |

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast: China Climate Deal a Model for Big Reforms on Cuba

The deal President Obama struck with China’s President Xi Jinping committing both countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions enraged climate change deniers, elements of the coal industry, and its core supporters in Congress. If you look at what made the breakthrough possible, how it happened, how it will be implemented,… read more »

November 10, 2014 |

SARAH STEPHENS: Ending USAID Misadventures in Cuba

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For years, Cuba Central has raised alarms about the USAID regime change programs in Cuba and joined other principled individuals and organizations in calling for them to be shut down. These programs, funded via Section 109 of the Helms-Burton law, paid for the trips that landed Alan Gross in prison,… read more »