The Honorable Barack H. Obama
President of the United States of America
Dear Mr. President:
Although we are writing to you on our own behalf, we could easily add here the signatures of many of our fellow countrymen, secure in the conviction that we are conveying the feelings of hundreds of thousands of Cubans, whether living in Cuba or in any of the numerous other countries where the tragedy of our homeland has dispersed us, resulting in the separation of family members and friends.
For nearly twenty years, following the downfall of the socialist block in Eastern Europe and particularly the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Cuban-American political organizations have lobbied strongly in Washington to tighten the economic restrictions imposed by the United States on Cuba as a result of the expropriation of U.S. assets in the early sixties.
The prevailing view was that once Cuba had lost the Soviet subsidies and markets—sources for the funding of its social programs and its repressive practices—the strengthening of those restrictions would cause the Cuban economy to collapse and bring about changes by said government of its policies in violation of human rights. Some even espoused this position in the hopes of inciting a desperate people to take to the streets and commit acts of violence to undermine the Cuban regime. This goes to show, on the one hand, a great insensitivity toward other human beings and, on the other, a major lack of knowledge, not only of the nature of that regime but also of history, because no parent spurred on by the urgent need to feed his children thinks first about how to solve his country’s political problems. Moreover, those restrictions were exploited with much success by the Cuban regime’s rulers in order to blame the United States for the island nation’s economic disasters and create a state-of-siege mentality that allows them to unite a large portion of the population in the alleged defense of an imperiled homeland and also allows them to justify the brutal oppression exerted against their opponents.
Ultimately, time has served to prove them wrong: first, with the Torricelli Act (Cuban Democracy Act) passed in 1992, then with the Helm-Burton Act (Cuban Liberty and Democracy Solidarity Act) in 1996, and finally with the restrictions imposed on travel and remittances (Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba) in 2004. The Cuban regime, far from weakening, has become stronger during those years and has garnered the political support of many governments from all over the world which, year after year, vote almost unanimously in Cuba’s favor in the United Nations by condemning that policy, while the United States is always left with the embarrassing disadvantage of just three votes to more than 150 against it. This is a reflection of a truly inconsistent policy, if we take into account the United States’ harmonious relations with China and Viet Nam, especially considering that the latter was the scene of a war that lasted several years and in which thousands of U.S. soldiers died.
Now, given all the evidence that the embargo has not brought about the fall of the regime in Havana, the pretext to maintain it is that it would serve as a “bargaining chip,” when the truth is that it is absurd to offer the opposite of what the other side wants. Lifting the embargo would entail the Cuban leadership’s losing the confrontational climate that has provided it with so many political advantages, since an opening up process would leave it without any excuses for the disastrous results of its irrational economic policy, posture of retrenchment, the denial of fundamental liberties, and for continuing to keep hundreds of Cuban citizens in jail for political reasons. That is why it has always tried to sabotage any process of opening up, as was demonstrated by the mass exodus from the port of Mariel in 1980, which was implemented to put a stop to the process aimed at improving relations which was initiated by the Carter administration. The Cuban regime also used the embargo as an excuse to encourage more aggressive policies, such as when it shot down two U.S. civilian aircraft in February 1996, killing the four crewmembers on board, and making possible the enactment in Washington of the Helm-Burton Act (Cuban Liberty and Democracy Solidarity Act), which at that time was being debated in Congress with very little likelihood of being approved.
Now, then, Mr. President, considering how well your election to the presidency of the United States has been received worldwide—which makes it more difficult for Havana to take an unjustified offensive stance against your government—you have the opportunity to successfully do what ten U.S. administrations were unable to do: eliminate the restrictions on travel and remittances to Cuba and exercise your influence to get Congress to lift the embargo. Cuba’s destiny is something that is solely incumbent upon the will of the Cuban people, but so long as the United States maintains its cold war policy against Cuba, we freedom-loving Cubans will truly be at a disadvantage, since Cuba’s regime will be able to keep up the lie in front of the rest of the world that the real conflict is between a small country and the empire that allegedly intends to overpower it, when the truth is that what we are dealing with here is a dictatorial regime acting against its own people.
Sandra M. Alfonso, executive, Louisiana.
José Alvarez, Professor Emeritus, Florida, USA
Mercy F. Alvarez, homemaker, Florida, USA
Maria A. Alvarez, University employee, Florida, USA.
Marlén Arzola, Psicologist, Florida, USA.
Guillermo Asper, professor of the Brasilian University, Brasil.
Luciana Asper y Valdés, Justice Promoter , Brasil.
Bibi Baloyra, business owner and consultant, NYC, USA
Patricia M. Baloyra, attorney, Florida, USA.
Victoria Balsera, Wedding Planner, Florida, USA.
Miguel Angel Balsera, Education Administrator, Florida, USA.
Marina Baltar, employee, Florida, USA.
Ariel Jesus Barreiro, Dentist, Florida.
Bernardo Benes, retired banker, Florida, USA.
Lorenzo Cañizares, union organizer, Pennsylvania, USA.
Rubén Carril, technical expert, Florida, USA.
Rolando Castañeda, economist, former officer of I.D.B., Washington, D.C. USA.
Siro del Castillo, painter, Florida, USA.
Rudy Félix Cepero Machado, Psicologist, Chile.
Luis Cespedes, retired, Florida, USA
Maria Victoria Concepcion, Housewife, Florida, USA.
Carlos T. Chaves, Estudiante de college, USA.
Carmen Díaz, psychologist, Florida, USA.
María Eulalia Díaz Acosta, accountant and computer technician, Dominican Republic.
Berta Diéguez, Florida, USA.
Eduardo Domínguez, specialized mechanic, Florida, USA.
Yolanda Fernández, Housewife, Florida, USA.
Gonzalo Fernández, business adviser, North Carolina, USA.
Ricardo Fernández, General Contractor, Florida, USA.
Remigio Fernández Martín, engineer and adviser, Spain.
Tomás Gallo, pequeño empresario,Texas, USA.
Zoe Gallo, oficinista, Texas, USA.
Niurca Garcia:Decoradora, Texas, USA.
Martha García, Investment Banking, Florida, USA.
Manuel García, retirado, Florida, USA.
Mickey Garrote, Librarian, Florida, USA.
Teresa Gonzalez, Civil Engineer, Florida, USA.
Silvia González Kenneweg, retired professor, Ohio, USA.
Vicente R. Gutiérrez Santos, CPA, Ejecutivo de Empresas, political analyst. Madrid, Spain.
Bernabé A. Hernández, ingeniero, Florida.
Olga Hernández, paralegal, New Jersey, USA.
Eduardo Hernández-Gispert, political analyst. Florida, USA.
María Cristina Herrera, professor, Florida, USA.
Ariel Hidalgo, teacher, Florida, USA.
Teté M. Hidalgo, actress and human rights activist, Florida, USA.
Yankilé Hidalgo Rodríguez, teacher, Quito, Ecuador.
Armando A Infante, Florida, USA
Gladys A Infante, Florida, USA.
Susana Jimenez, Business Management, Florida USA.
Rafael Keilt, Plumber, Maine USA
Maria Teresa Lam, office worker, Texas, USA.
Olga Lastra, Software Developer, Florida, USA.
Adrián Leiva Pérez, civil rights activist, and journalist, Florida, USA.
Sergio Lopez-Miró, journalist and publicist, Florida, USA.
Sarahí Lorenzo, real estate, Florida, USA.
Antonio Llaca Busto, physician surgeon, Venezuela.
Gerardo LLerandi, chofer, Texas, USA.
Lillian Manzor, university professor, Florida, USA
Nelson Martinez, Retiree, Florida, USA.
Maggie P. Martinez, Transportation Executive, Florida, USA.
Gerardo E. Martínez-Solanas, economist and political scientist, Florida, USA.
Raquel Martínez-Solanas, Spanish professor, Miami Florida, USA.
Danay Menéndez, cleaning lady, Florida, USA.
Ana Mestre de Sambrizzi, writer, Argentina.
Magaly Miranda, Housewife, Florida, USA.
Fernando Miranda, Sales Exec., Florida, USA.
Lynn Miranda,Hospitality Expert, Florida, USA.
Marcelino Miyares, political scientist and analyst, Florida, USA.
Elena Montes de Oca, poet and professor, Florida, USA.
Oscar Moreno, Chofer, Texas, USA.
Yvette G. Murphy, lawyer, Florida, USA.
Nilda Navarrete, Journalist, Prague, Czech Republic.
José Manuel Pallí, lawyer, Florida, USA.
Silvia Pedraza, Professor of Sociology, University of Michigan.
Marta Rosa Peláez de López-Miró, publicist, Florida, USA.
Oscar Peña, human rights activist, Florida, USA.
Iván Pérez Carrión, journalist, Dominican Republic.
Pedro Pérez Castro, union activist, Venezuela.
Lisa Perez-Grossman, Physician (Pediatrician) Florida.
José Pérez Martín, electrical engineer, Florida, USA.
José Prats Sariol, writer and university professor, México.
Ricardo Puerta, Sociologist, Honduras.
Oria Quintana, ama de casa, Texas, USA.
Lizette Raig Alexander, School Psychologist, Florida.
Miguel Rivero, journalist, Portugal.
Lazaro Roche, enfermero, Texas, USA.
Augusto Rodríguez, journalist, Florida,USA.
Pablo Rodríguez Carvajal, human rightsActivist, Florida, USA.
Rodolfo Rodriguez Garcia, Chofer, Texas, USA.
Bárbara Elda Rodríguez González, teacher, Quito, Ecuador
Juan Antonio Rodríguez Menier, political analyst, USA .
Maria Ruiz, electronic assembler, Maryland, USA.
Jose Ruiz, retired, Maryland,USA.
Michael Sabido, physician, New Jersey, USA.
Miguel Saludes, freelance journalist and civil rights activist, Florida, USA.
Rafael A. Sanchez, Physician, Florida, USA.
Mislayde Santos, office worker, Texas, USA.
Roberto Simeon, sindicalista y politologo, Florida, USA.
Caleb Vega Socarrás. Economist, California, USA.
Raúl de Velasco, physician, Florida, USA.
c.c.: Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State of the United States of America