Over 100 NGOs urge Biden to follow Obama and abstain from June 23 United Nations vote condemning Cuba embargo

For immediate release
June 7, 2021

Contact

Angelica Salazar (English), 415-259-9594/allianceforcuba@acere.org
Elena Freyre (Spanish), 786-683-8241/cubaid7@yahoo.com 

Over 100 NGOs urge Biden to follow Obama and abstain from June 23 United Nations vote condemning Cuba embargo

Human rights, religious, and policy organizations call on the Biden administration to instead use the opportunity to announce a reversal of the Trump policy on the global stage.

Dozens of human rights, religious, and Latin America policy organizations sent a letter to President Biden on Monday urging him to announce a break with the Trump administration policy on Cuba before the United Nations General Assembly takes its annual vote on a resolution condemning the embargo. The letter calls on the current administration to abstain from the vote — following the example set in 2016 by the Obama-Biden administration and abstain from the vote — and to instead use the global stage to announce the steps the administration will take to “provide relief for the Cuban people and return to the path of normalization.” The signatories caution that maintaining the Trump administration’s renewed opposition to the anti-embargo resolution — which passes overwhelmingly each year with support from nearly every nation, including all NATO members — would leave the U.S. isolated and risk “damage to U.S. leadership and credibility.” 

The open letter — organized by the Alliance for Cuba Engagement and Respect (ACERE) and signed by a wide range of prominent organizations including the American Public Health Association, Amnesty International, MoveOn, National Council of Churches, Oxfam America, and Washington Office on Latin America — highlights Biden’s “pledge as a candidate to reverse many of the Trump administration’s policies towards Cuba” and praises his administration’s unprecedented announcement that it would review all U.S. economic sanctions policies to ensure they are not hindering pandemic response.

The signatories express concern, however, that the administration has yet to take any action to fulfill those commitments, despite the fact that “most of the previous administration’s policy changes can be reversed with a single executive order.” These ongoing Trump policies “continue to harm millions of Cubans, including by undercutting Cuba’s budding private sector just as key market-based reforms are being instituted,” they wrote.

“The upcoming United Nations vote will be a perfect time for President Biden to show the world that he cares about the Cuban people by using the occasion to announce the measures he is taking to lift restrictions on family remittances, ease travel and encourage trade,” said Elena Freyre, board member of the Alliance for Cuba Engagement and Respect (ACERE). “We in the Cuban American community are anxiously awaiting his moves to normalize relations, as he promised during his campaign.”

The letter comes weeks after Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar introduced legislation to end the embargo on Cuba — the second such effort this year after Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden introduced a similar proposal in February — and echoes the call of 80 members of the House who wrote to President Biden in March urging him to take swift action to alleviate suffering and improve relations with Cuba.

The Alliance for Cuba Engagement and Respect is a national advocacy coalition formed in 2020 to promote policy changes that reverse 60 years of sanctions and other failed U.S. policies against Cuba and to seek normalization of relations between the two countries.   

Organizational signatories include (partial list):

  • ACERE — Alliance for Cuba Engagement and Respect
  • Alianza Americas
  • Alliance of Baptists
  • American Friends Service Committee
  • American Public Health Association (APHA)
  • Americas Program
  • Amnesty International
  • Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
  • Black Alliance for Peace
  • Caribbean Agroecology Institute/Cuba-US Agroecology Network
  • Center for Cuban Studies
  • Center for Democracy in the Americas
  • Center for Economic and Policy Research
  • Center for International Policy
  • Charity and Security Network
  • Church World Service
  • CODEPINK
  • Cuban Americans for Normalizing Relations with Cuba
  • Friends Committee on National Legislation
  • Global Exchange
  • Global Health Partners
  • Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization/Pastors for Peace
  • Just Foreign Policy
  • Latin America Working Group (LAWG)
  • MADRE
  • Marazul Travel
  • Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba (MEDICC)
  • Mennonite Central Committee US
  • Ministers for Peace
  • MoveOn
  • National Council of Churches
  • National Lawyers Guild
  • National Network on Cuba
  • Our Revolution
  • Oxfam America
  • Peace Action
  • Presbyterian Church USA
  • RootsAction.org
  • Task Force On The Americas
  • United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
  • Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)
  • Win Without War
  • Witness for Peace
  • Witness for Peace Solidarity Collective
  • World Beyond War

Click here to see the full list of national and local organizations.

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