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OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA – SUPPORT FOR A NEW COURSE ON CUBA

January 19, 2015
The Honorable Barack Obama
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: SUPPORT FOR A NEW COURSE ON CUBA

Dear Mr. President,
We write to commend you on the historic actions you are taking to update
America’s policy toward Cuba and Cuban citizens. Our new posture of
engagement will advance our national interests and our values by
empowering the Cuban people’s capacity to work toward a more
democratic and prosperous country—conditions that are very much in the
U.S. interests. Many of the signers of this letter wrote to you last
year calling for exactly these types of changes. We appreciate that
you not only recognized that the moment had come to act but did so boldly.
Both that original letter and this one are examples of the broad support
these changes have from across the political spectrum. We may disagree
on a number of issues, but we’ve found common
ground for a simple reason; our fifty-four-year-old approach intended to
promote human rights and democracy in Cuba has failed.
It has also been clear that the reforms you announced in 2009 have
helped to build the foundation for positive change by helping
Cuban-Americans reunite with and better support their families on the
island. The free flow of information, improved communications, expanded
remittances and commerce, and support for Cuban civil society have also
helped the Cuban people take greater ownership of their own lives.
Access to the Internet and modern communications tools in today’s world
have become basic rights, because they are paramount to socioeconomic
freedom and mobility.
Accordingly, we are encouraged by your declaration that the U.S.
Government will continue to call on Havana to respect the human rights
of the Cuban people. We applaud your guarantees that the UN Special
Rapporteur for Torture and the International Red Cross will travel to
the island. Your clear support for facilitating people-to-people
engagement affirms the enduring belief that the American people are the
best ambassadors of our values. We hope future efforts by the
Administration will be matched by quick adoption of streamlined
regulations that fulfill your intent and we will continue to
monitor those developments.
Bringing Alan Gross home to his loved ones was an indisputable testament
to the power of principled diplomatic engagement. That same creativity
in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges must be brought to
the human rights arena, where recent experience shows the importance of
transparent and principled approaches.
The Summit of the Americas presents one such opportunity. America should
never shy away from defending and promoting our values, and your
decision to attend the gathering in Panama was the correct one. After
several decades in which democracy and the rule of law have been
strengthened throughout the hemisphere, the United States must continue
to lead and challenge our partners to ensure that this region remains a
beacon for human rights in the world.
Mr. President, we also call on you to work with Congress to update the
legislative framework with regard to Cuba so that it, too, reflects 21st
century realities. In the meantime, we look forward tocontinued progress
in improving U.S.-Cuban cooperation on matters of national interest and
stand ready to support this new policy of constructive engagement and
U.S. outreach to the Cuban people.

Respectfully,

John Adams, Brigadier General, U.S. Army
(Retired); former Deputy U.S. Military
Representative to NATO; former Assistant
Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence,
U.S. Army

Gustavo Arnavat, former U.S.
Executive Director at the Inter-American
Development Bank
Joe Arriola, former Manager, City of
Miami, Florida

Ricky Arriola, CEO, Inktel
Bruce Babbitt, former Governor of Arizona;
former U.S. Secretary of the Interior

Harriet Babbitt, former U.S. Ambassador to the
Organization of American States

Samuel R. Berger, Chair, Albright Stonebridge
Group, National Security Advisor (1997-2000)

Tomas Bilbao, Executive Director,
Cuba Study Group

Carol Browner, former EPA Administrator;
former Director of White House Office of Climate
Change and Energy Policy

Paul L. Cejas, former U.S. Ambassador and
Chairman, PLC Investments, Inc.

Gustavo Cisneros, Chairman, Cisneros Group
of Companies
Jon Cowan, President, Third Way

Chet Culver, former Governor of Iowa
Jeffrey Davidow, former U.S. Assistant
Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere
Howard Dean, former Governor of Vermont

Larry Diamond, Director, Center on Democracy,
Development and the Rule of Law,
Stanford University

Tom Downey, former U.S. Congressman

Anita Dunn, Managing Director,
SKDKnickerbocker Communications

Alfonso Fanjul, Fanjul Group

Andres Fanjul, Fanjul Group

Christopher Findlater

Richard Feinberg, former Latin American
Advisor to the White House; Professor, University
of California, San Diego

Mike Fernandez, Chairman, MBF
Healthcare Partners

The Right Reverend Leo Frade, Episcopal
Bishop of Southeast Florida

Pedro A. Freyre, Partner, Akerman LLP

Francis Fukuyama, Olivier Nomellini Senior

Fellow, Freeman Spogli Institute for International
Studies, Stanford University

Joe Garcia, former U.S. Congressman; former
Executive Director, Cuban-American National
Foundation

Maria Garcia Berry, CEO, CRL Associates, Inc.
Tim Gill, Founder and Chairman, Gill
Foundation

Dan Glickman, former U.S. Secretary of
Agriculture; former U.S. Congressman

Felice Gorordo, CEO, Clear Path

Lee Hamilton, former U.S. House Chairman
of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

David Hernandez, Co-Founder and CEO,
Liberty Power

Ricardo Herrero, Executive Director,
#CubaNow

Vicki Huddleston, former U.S. Ambassador and
Chief of the U.S. Interests Section, Havana

Peter J. Johnson, Associate to David Rockefeller

James R. Jones, Chairman, ManattJones
Global Strategies

Wendy W. Luers, President, The Foundation for
a Civil Society

Thomas F. “Mack” McLarty III, Chairman,
McLarty Associates

Sascha Meinrath, Founder, Open Technology
Institute at New America

Eduardo Mestre, Senior Advisor at
Evercore; Board member of Avis Budget
and Comcast Corporation

Scott Miller, Board Member, Gill Foundation
Luis Miranda, former White House
Director of Hispanic Media; Managing
Director, MDC Strategies

Marcelino Miyares, President, MM
Communications Inc.

Frank Mora, Director of the Latin American
and Caribbean Center, Florida International
University

Moisés Naím, Distinguished Fellow, Carnegie
Endowment for International Peace

Michael Parmly, former Chief of the U.S.
Interests Section, Havana

Ralph Patino, Civil Trial Attorney; Futuro Fund
Board Member

Ted Piccone, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution

Thomas Pickering, former U.S. Under
Secretary of State for Political Affairs

Bill Reinsch, President, National Foreign Trade
Council

Cecile Richards

Bill Richardson, former U.S. Ambassador
to the United Nations; former Governor
of New Mexico

Bill Ritter, former Governor of Colorado
David Rockefeller, Honorary Chairman,
Americas Society/Council of the Americas

Hilary Rosen, Managing Director,
SKDKnickerbocker Communications

Christopher Sabatini, former Editor-in-Chief,
Americas Quarterly; Adjunct Professor,
Columbia University’s School of International and
Public Affairs

Carlos Saladrigas, Chairman of Regis HR
Group and Concordia Behavioral Health;

Chairman of the Cuba Study Group; member of the
board of Duke Energy Corporation and Advance
Auto Parts, Inc.

Ken Salazar, former U.S. Secretary of the
Interior; former U.S. Senator; former Colorado
Attorney General

Francisco “Frank” Sanchez, former U.S.
Under Secretary of Commerce

George P. Shultz, Fellow, Hoover Institution;
former U.S. Secretary of State, Treasury and
Labor; former Director, Office of Budget &
Management; former CEO, Bechtel

Susan Segal, President and CEO, Americas
Society/Council of the Americas

Hilda L. Solis, former U.S. Secretary of Labor;
former Congresswoman; member of the Los
Angeles County Board of Supervisors

Enrique Sosa, former President, Dow Chemical
North America

Admiral James Stavridis, USN (Ret); Dean,
The Fletcher School, Tufts University;
Supreme Allied Commander, NATO (2009-2013);
Commander, U.S. Southern Command
(2006-2009)

Sarah Stephens, Executive Director, Center for
Democracy in the Americas

Alan Stoga, President, Zemi Communications,
LLC; Vice Chairman, Americas Society/Council of
the Americas

Ted Strickland, former Governor of Ohio

Strobe Talbott, former U.S. Deputy
Secretary of State

Neera Tanden, President, Center for
American Progress

Ted Trimpa, Principal and CEO, Trimpa Group

Raul Valdes-Fauli, Partner, Fox Rothchild;
former Mayor, City of Coral Gables, Florida

Arturo Valenzuela, former U.S. Assistant
Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs

Melanne Verveer, former U.S. Ambassador for
Global Women’s Issues

Bill Vidal, former Mayor of Denver, Colorado
Alexander Watson, former U.S.
Assistant Secretary of State for Western
Hemisphere Affairs

James Williams, Director of Public Policy,
Trimpa Group; Board Member, Project on Middle
East Democracy

Timothy Wirth, former U.S. Senator; ViceChair,
The UN Foundation

The above signatories have signed this letter in their personal
capacities; they do not reflect the views of their company, organization
or university, current or past.

Source:
http://www.miamiherald.com/incoming/article7595966.ece/binary/Read%20the%20open%20letter%20to%20President%20Obama%20(PDF)

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