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A letter written by Cuban Americans that is open to signatures from Cuban Americans and other US citizens who support their call to the Biden Administration to fulfill his 2020 campaign promises.

Dear President Biden:

We write you as Cuban Americans and concerned U.S. citizens who volunteered our time, donated our resources, and voted for you in 2020. Collectively, we are shocked and disappointed by your indifference toward the suffering of Cuban families both in Cuba, and here in the United States.

Your campaign promise to undo the havoc left by the previous administration for Cuban families was one of the main factors so many of us supported you. While you have taken minor positive steps, we are deeply upset that you are far from fulfilling your campaign’s promises to revert to the Obama era policies on Cuba. We are extremely disappointed and appalled by your inaction, lack of courage and sensibility to undo the drastic and unfounded executive measures imposed by your predecessor. They cause great damage to people in Cuba as well here in the United States. With the stroke of a pen, you could easily reverse these policies and end the pain and suffering.

After several announcements, we are still waiting for measures that would allow for trade and investment with the growing private sector on the island. We are also waiting for an unfettered freedom to travel to Cuba, such as is the case for countries that are actually dangerous. We would like to see a fully functional Embassy in Havana. More importantly, your position on the continued fallacious designation of Cuba as a sponsor of terrorism is baffling. This designation negatively impacts the wellbeing of our families in Cuba and hampers their access to every-day basic living essentials, financial operations, and digital platforms. It also greatly undermines our national efforts to combat terrorism around the world.

The humanitarian crisis that these sanctions have precipitated on the island have significantly contributed to an unprecedented immigration crisis on our Southern Border, as tens of thousands of Cubans have lost hope and have left their homeland in search of economic stability. Those who remain in Cuba –including the growing private sector that your Administration claims to support– see their livelihoods severely affected by these sanctions that you could easily roll back. The lack of food, medicines and electricity are a matter of life or death, and you should at a minimum not contribute to more deaths.

Recent polls report that of the nearly 1.5 million Cuban American voters, more than half consistently favor normalization with Cuba; while support is overwhelming among Democratic and younger voters.[1] This support was also evident both electorally and in terms of policy support when you were Vice-President. We are a relatively silent –yet voting— majority, because many of us face threats and intimidation from the Cuban American extreme right, as a result of our support for a rational and humane Cuba policy; the same that you advocated during your 2020 campaign.

President Biden, you will inevitably have to address the issue of your administration’s Cuba policy when you campaign in the coming months. You will have two choices. One is to, once again, promise a new policy of engagement with the island. The other is to continue with the same failed policy of most of the last sixty years, as you have done during your first term. If you choose the first, you will continue to win a sizable proportion of our community’s vote, for whom this is a decisive and urgent issue. We know elections are won on the margins, and this will be important not just in Florida, but also in other states such as Nevada, New Jersey, Kentucky, and Michigan, where many Cuban immigrants also live and vote.

Beyond the Cuban American community, we reflect the views of a vast majority of the American people, who support normalization with Cuba; and an eventual end to the embargo, which has caused so much needless suffering to the Cuban and American peoples.[2] This is not because they approve or disapprove of Cuba’s political and economic system. But because they believe, as we do, that a policy of engagement with our Southern neighbor will be good for our adopted country, as well as for Cubans on the island. Moreover, the vast majority of the world –including most of our key allies— also want to see us normalize relations with Cuba and lift the embargo.[3]

We are fully aware that a change in strategy would bring an onslaught of attacks from the extreme right of the Cuban American community, along other opponents. The attackers will include politicians who have shown that despite their patriotic discourse, they do not really care about the American or Cuban people. We urge you in the strongest possible terms to not yield to these assaults by continuing with the same failed Cuba policy.

In the 2020 elections, you won a sizable number of Cuban American votes precisely because of your promise to resume the sensible and humane Cuba policy you helped implement as Vice President. We are aware that it might not seem easy from an electoral perspective, and opposition is very vocal. But recommitting to that Cuba policy offers the best chances of achieving some of the margins that you need to win, by receiving votes from one of the Latin American communities with the largest voter turnout. Most importantly, it would greatly contribute to our major need to reduce illegal immigration, and other key interests in this region and the world.  We need your courage in implementing what most of the Cuban American community, and overwhelming majority of U.S. citizens and the world, believe is the right thing to do.

Sincerely,

The undersigned

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CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE LETTER: UNITED VOICE FOR CHANGE: A CALL TO REVISIT U.S.-CUBA POLICY

[1] The most recent 2022 poll of Cuban American voters in Florida by the Florida International University showed 53% of respondents favored normalization of diplomatic relations. Although only 37% of them opposed the embargo, opposition to the embargo was 74% among Democrats and 57% of all (Republican and Democratic) not born in Cuba (https://cri.fiu.edu/research/cuba-poll/cuba-poll-2022-powerpoint.pdf). At the national level, a 2020 PEW Research survey reports that 58% of Cuban Americans are Republican and only 38% Democratic, but the majority of the first are in Florida (https://www.pewresearch.org/short-reads/2020/10/02/most-cuban-american-voters-identify-as-republican-in-2020/).

[2] In December 2016, Pew Research found 75% of Americans approved of the 2015 decision to resume relations with Cuba, and that 73 percent favored ending the trade embargo against Cuba. This support was at 80 percent for respondents aged 18-29 (https://www.pewresearch.org/short-reads/2016/12/13/americans-still-favor-ties-with-cuba-after-castros-death-u-s-election/).

[3] Declarations by leaders of the international community and votes in the General Assembly of the United Nations have shown nearly unanimous condemnation of the embargo for the last three decades (https://apnews.com/article/cuba-us-economic-embargo-resolution-condemn-20bceb7216fe3eea18bec8d81372c15b, https://www.eeas.europa.eu/delegations/un-new-york/eu-explanation-vote-un-general-assembly-resolution-embargo-imposed-usa-against-cuba_en?s=63 ).

ACERE

The Alliance For Cuba Engagement And Respect

The people of Cuba have long been suffering under an economic blockade by the United States that places restrictions on food, medicine, and even economic support from relatives. President Trump not only reversed President Obama’s move to strengthen relations but further tightened the blockade. Despite high hopes, President Biden has so far failed to bring about improved relations. After 60 years of failed policy, it is time to demand a different path forward.

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