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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 »

November 9, 2014 |

NEW YORK TIMES: In Cuba, Misadventures in Regime Change

New York Times Editorial Board — In 1996, spurred by an appetite for revenge, American lawmakers passed a bill spelling out a strategy to overthrow the government in Havana and “assist the Cuban people in regaining their freedom.” The Helms-Burton Act, signed into law by President Bill Clinton shortly after… read more »

November 7, 2014 |

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast: After the Deluge: Is There Hope President Obama Will Act On Cuba?

Last summer, where was the “smart money” when a deluge of unaccompanied kids fled violence and despair in Central America to seek safe haven in South Texas, upending the drive for immigration reform in the Congress, and raising the possibility that President Obama would use his executive authority to reform… read more »

November 7, 2014 |

SARAH STEPHENS: Cuban Dissident/Kitten Lover Reveals Hardline Strategy on Alan Gross

“If you ever meet (Carlos Luis Pardo), you will probably see him lovingly carrying a newborn kitten in his hands, or taking care of one of his persecuted friends.” -Cubalog.EU “Let him rot.” -Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo It took Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo just three words to dismiss the New… read more »

November 3, 2014 |

El Salvador Update: Octubre 2014 / Informe mensual El Salvador, octubre 2014

Living in a time of Ebola reminds us that diseases and other hazards are never confined by borders. While no cases of Ebola have been reported in Latin America, Archbishop Romero Airport in El Salvador is ready to take temperatures of incoming passengers, has prepared a quarantine area, and has 50 biohazard suits on hand. Of more immediate concern for the region, however, are chikungunya and dengue, both mosquito-borne viruses that are rarely deadly but which can be very painful.

November 3, 2014 |

NEW YORK TIMES: A Prisoner Swap With Cuba

New York Times Editorial Board — Nearly five years ago, authorities in Cuba arrested an American government subcontractor, Alan Gross, who was working on a secretive program to expand Internet access on the island. At a time when a growing number of officials in Washington and Havana are eager to… read more »

October 31, 2014 |

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast: ICYMI: FATF Takes Cuba Off Its AML/CFT List! Wait, What?

Unless you cyber-troll the FATF website, you probably missed this item. Last Friday, FATF congratulated Cuba for taking such strong actions to police its financial system that Cuba will no longer be monitored for its compliance with anti-money-laundering and anti-terrorist finance rules. Be patient. Don’t flip to the “Recommended Reading”… read more »

October 30, 2014 |

SARAH STEPHENS: Cuba, Praised for Increased Vigilance against Terrorist Finance, Remains on US Terror List

Last Friday, The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) congratulated Cuba – along with Argentina, Ethiopia, Tajikistan and Turkey – for taking such strong actions to police its financial system that it will no longer be subject to the monitoring of its efforts against money-laundering and terrorist finance. Because of “Cuba’s… read more »

October 29, 2014 |

SARAH STEPHENS: CDC Official in Cuba Meeting with ALBA on Ebola — or “man bites dog” big time.

It took the Associated Press just 130 words to write one of the great “man bites dog” stories of 2014. “The United States has sent a health official to a Cuban meeting on coordinating Latin America’s response to Ebola,” according to the AP. The official, Dr. Nelson Arboleda, is the… read more »

October 28, 2014 |

STATEMENT BY SARAH STEPHENS IN RESPONSE TO THE UN VOTE CONDEMNING THE EMBARGO

In reaction to the UN vote today, Sarah Stephens, executive director of the Center for Democracy in the Americas (CDA), said: “Today’s UN vote condemning the embargo is a powerful reminder that this policy divides the U.S. from its friends and allies around the world, and the continued pursuit of… read more »

October 28, 2014 |

NEW YORK TIMES: On Cuba Embargo, It’s the U.S. and Israel Against the World — Again.

Ernesto Londoño, New York Times — A little-known former American ambassador on Tuesday addressed the General Assembly to perform a dreaded task: defending the issue that has isolated the United States diplomatically like no other, the Cuban embargo. “This resolution only serves to distract from the real problems facing the… read more »

October 27, 2014 |

SARAH STEPHENS: Get Cuba off the list

During the Cold War, Cuba’s decision to send its armed forces to Africa to support newly independent governments and movements fighting apartheid was used by the Reagan administration in 1982 to help justify putting Cuba on the U.S. State Sponsors of Terrorism list. This false designation stigmatizes Cuba today and… read more »

October 26, 2014 |

NEW YORK TIMES: The Shifting Politics of Cuba Policy

New York Times Editorial Board — There was a time, not too long ago, when any mainstream politician running for statewide or national office in Florida had to rattle off fiery rhetoric against the Cuban government and declare unquestioning faith that the embargo on the island would one day force… read more »

October 24, 2014 |

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast: Cuban Doctors in Africa: A Transformative Moment for US Policy

During the Cold War, Cuba’s decision to send its armed forces to Africa to support newly independent governments and movements fighting apartheid was used by the Reagan administration in 1982 to help justify putting Cuba on the U.S. State Sponsors of Terrorism list. This false designation stigmatizes Cuba today and… read more »

October 23, 2014 |

CULLEN MORAN: Here’s to Middle Ground

As a relative newcomer to the world of Cuba policy, I have noticed that most of the folks working to change U.S. policy toward the island represent a rare breed in this age of tweet-able, polarized politics. In a political atmosphere that favors the outrageous, Cuba advocates seem to have… read more »

October 19, 2014 |

NEW YORK TIMES: Cuba’s Impressive Role on Ebola

New York Times Editorial Board — Cuba is an impoverished island that remains largely cut off from the world and lies about 4,500 miles from the West African nations where Ebola is spreading at an alarming rate. Yet, having pledged to deploy hundreds of medical professionals to the front lines… read more »

October 17, 2014 |

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast: End It! What the NY Times and UN say about the US Embargo

In its lead editorial on Sunday, “Obama Should End the Embargo on Cuba,” the New York Times reignited the debate on Cuba by calling for the U.S. embargo to be lifted to serve the national interest and provide President Obama with a foreign policy legacy worthy of the name. In… read more »

October 17, 2014 |

SARAH STEPHENS: Secretary Kerry’s Praise of Cuba’s Ebola Role Trumps Response by State’s Spokesperson

Is there a spin doctor in the house? Today, Secretary of State John Kerry praised Cuba for its leadership in mobilizing against the Ebola outbreak in Africa. His brief but warm “shout-out” stands in marked contrast to comments by a State Department spokesperson, whose studied reluctance to say anything about Cuba’s role comes through loudly and clearly in the transcript of her press corps briefing just two days before. For over a month, Cuba’s active response to the outbreak has been receiving global praise. Even the Washington Post, not a fan of the “Castro Government,” published a piece – “In the medical response to Ebola, Cuba is punching far above its weight” – contrasting Cuba with an international community “accused of dragging its feet.”

October 11, 2014 |

NEW YORK TIMES: End the U.S. Embargo on Cuba

New York Times Editorial Board — Scanning a map of the world must give President Obama a sinking feeling as he contemplates the dismal state of troubled bilateral relationships his administration has sought to turn around. He would be smart to take a hard look at Cuba, where a major… read more »

October 10, 2014 |

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast: Miami’s Democratic Opening

Not long ago – in places like Miami – it was dangerous to express views that deviated from the strict hardline that supported the U.S. embargo against Cuba. Human Rights Watch reported in 1994 that Miami-based participants in “The Nation and Emigration” conference in Havana returned home to find themselves… read more »

October 7, 2014 |

El Salvador Update: September 2014 / Informe mensual El Salvador, septiembre 2014

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September 18th was a notable day for El Salvador. The U.S. finally approved disbursement of the $277 million Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) development grant, former president Francisco Flores, who had been charged with embezzlement and went into hiding for 123 days, was ordered from house arrest to jail, and Francisco Altschul presented his credentials to President Obama for the second time as El Salvador’s Ambassador to the U.S.

October 3, 2014 |

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast: On Ending Pipsqueak Diplomacy

We offer three loud, enthusiastic cheers to our friends Bill LeoGrande and Peter Kornbluh.  Their new book, Back Channel to Cuba, immediately made news and refocused discussion on the decrepit state of U.S.-Cuba diplomacy. “Clobber the pipsqueak” was Henry Kissinger’s call to war against Cuba. Using documents obtained from President… read more »

October 1, 2014 |

SARAH STEPHENS: Washington Etiquette? Senator Menendez Scolds Panama for Inviting Cuba over to its “house”

Maybe it’s a Washington thing. When you invite friends over for a party, there’s always one guest who replies “who else is coming?” Yet, Senator Bob Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, seems to be stretching this peculiar etiquette to the breaking point. Today, he sent a letter… read more »

October 1, 2014 |

LINDA GARRETT: Obama Administration Opens Door to Some Central American Children

When the New York Times reported yesterday that President Obama had “approved a plan to allow several thousand young children from Central American countries to apply for refugee status in the United States,” we decided to take a quick look. The program will allow some children — perhaps 4000 —… read more »

September 29, 2014 |

Caracas Connect, September 2014 Report

It has been a long, hot summer in Venezuela; fortunately, there has not been a great deal of political violence. For the time being, President Nicolás Maduro is unlikely to face the kind of political unrest that plagued Venezuela earlier this year, but his political star continues to fall. A Datanálysis poll claimed that 62.3 percent of Venezuelans disapprove of his performance in government. Perhaps more telling is the poll’s finding that 59 percent of Venezuelans think that “Maduro has ideals different from those of Hugo Chávez.”

September 26, 2014 |

CUBA CENTRAL Newsblast: Ending the Embargo: Can “Brand America” Bail Obama Out?

Not a great week for President Obama or his resilient support for the U.S. embargo against Cuba. With heads of state and government gathering at the United Nations for the 69th Session of the General Assembly, Juan Manuel Santos, President of Colombia, and Salvador Sánchez Cerén, President of El Salvador,… read more »

September 24, 2014 |

ACN: Colombian President says Washington Should Lift its Failed Blockade of Cuba

ACN, Havana, CUBA — Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said that he hopes that the United States and Cuba may get to working relations that lead to the lifting of the US blockade of the island, which in his opinion has failed. Santos made his statements during a speech at… read more »