Open Letter to President Obama to Take Concrete Action on Ending the US Blockade/Embargo on Cuba, and to Return Guantanamo to Cuba

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This Statement was sent to The Dawn News from Chicago ALBA Solidarity Committee 

We welcome President Obama’s decision to travel to Cuba for talks with the Cuban government.

We undersigned organizations and individuals call on President Obama to take concrete actions on two outstanding issues to restore normal diplomatic relations between the two countries:

  1.  End the 54 year old embargo/blockade of Cuba,
  2. Return the US occupied territory of Guantanamo to Cuba.

Economic Impact of the Embargo/Blockade of Cuba                                 

Cuba lost out on at least US$117 billion between 1960 and 2014 due to the U.S. economic blockade on the country, according to the United Nations’ Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. [http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/US-Blockade-Cost-Cuba-117-Billion-UN-Reports-20150805-0013.html]

The embargo/blockade not only hurts Cuba, but also the US. The US Chamber of Commerce, which advocates lifting the embargo, states the cost to the US economy of the 54 year sanctions range from $1.2 to $3.6 billion per year.

[Hanson Daniel, Dayne Batten & Harrison Ealey. “It’s Time For The U.S. To End Its Senseless Embargo Of Cuba,” Forbes Magazine.    http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2013/01/16/its-time-for-the-u-s-to-end-its-senseless-embargo-of-cuba/

The US International Trade Commission makes a similar estimate:

http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/time-end-cuba-embargo

By 1992, U.S. businesses had lost over $30 billion in trade over the previous thirty years, according to researchers from Johns Hopkins. At that time, Cuba’s loss for the same period was smaller, but not by much: $28.6 billion, according to Cuba’s Institute of Economic Research.”

http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2009/0309pepper.html

A study by the Cuba Policy Foundation estimated that the annual cost to the US economy could be  $4.84 billion in agricultural exports and related economic output. “America’s Farmers Bearing Heavy Burden for U.S. Embargo Against Cuba: New Report,” www.cubafoundation.org, Jan. 28, 2002]
On the US embargo/blockade of Cuba, President Obama can exercise his authority in the following areas:                                                                                                                   1) authorize the use of the dollar in international transactions;

2) permit Cuba to import from third countries products with more than 10 percent U.S. components;

3) allow Cuban entities to open correspondent accounts in U.S. banks;

4) end the policy of financial persecution against Cuba;

5) not impede the granting of credits or other financial facilities;

6) allow imports of Cuba’s exportable products or services;

7) authorize Cuban planes and boats to carry passengers, cargo and mail between the two countries;

8) authorize direct exports of U.S. products to Cuba;

9) authorize companies to invest in Cuba (international firms have submitted more than 400 proposals for investment in the Mariel Economic Zone);

10) remove the limit on Cuban products that can be imported by U.S. visitors to Cuba;

11) authorize U.S. citizens to receive medical treatment in Cuba;

12) allow the distribution of credits, loans and financing for the acquisition of products in the U.S. market.

 

 The US Naval Base at Guantánamo

 The US Base at Guantánamo is 113 years old as of February 23, 2016. It was the first U.S. base in our hemisphere and is the oldest U.S. overseas base in the world, and the only one whose host country lacks contractual authority to unilaterally revoke it.

We call on President Obama to implement these actions to alleviate the US blockade on Cuba and to set a timetable for returning US occupied Guantanamo to the Cuban nation.

 

Please Respond to

StansfieldSmith@yahoo.com

Chicago ALBA Solidarity Committee

773-322-3168


 

Noam Chomsky

Chicago ALBA Solidarity Committee

Medea Benjamin, Co-founder, Code Pink

SOA Watch

Rev. Michael Kinnamon, former General Secretary, National Council of Churches

IFCO/Pastors for Peace

Glen Ford, Executive Editor, Black Agenda Report

Tom Hayden

Carl Rosen, President of Western Region, United Electrical Workers (UE)

Chuck Kaufman, National Coordinator, Alliance for Global Justice

 

Eva Golinger, Journalist/writer, The Chavez Code; Bush vs Chavez

Marjorie Cohn, past President, National Lawyers Guild; Prof., Thomas Jefferson School of Law

Rev. Joan Brown Campbell, former General Secretary, National Council of Churches

Cindy Sheehan, Author/Activist

James Early, Board member, Institute for Policy Studies, Regional Articulation of Afro- Descendants, Latin America and Caribbean

Kevin Martin, Executive Director, Peace Action

Council on Hemispheric Affairs

Council on Latin American Relations

Leah Bolger, CDR, USN (Ret), former National President, Veterans For Peace

 

José E. López, Executive Director, Puerto Rico Cultural Center

Fred Hirsch, Delegate to the South Bay Labor Council

Cristina Vazquez,  International Vice President, Workers United WSRJB 52, SEIU

Task Force on the Americas

International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee

Blasé Bonpane, Office of the Americas

Rev. Kristin Stoneking, Executive Director, Fellowship of Reconciliation

Dave Welsh, Delegate, San Francisco Labor Council

Dan Kovalik, USW Associate General Counsel

Alicia Jrapko, US Coordinator, International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity

 

National Lawyers Guild, Cuba Subcommittee

Bill Preston, President. AFGE Local 17

David McReynolds, War Resisters League (retired)

Jane Franklin, Historian, Cuba and the United States, A Chronological History

Alex Main, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR)

Historians Against the War

Delvis Fernandez Levy, Cuban American Alliance

Walter Lippmann, CubaNews, Los Angeles

Tiana Ocasio, President, Connecticut Chapter, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement

Stephen Kimber, journalist, author, What Lies Across the Water, The Real Story of the Cuban 5

 

David Swanson, author, WorldBeyondWar.org, WarisaCrime.org

New Internationalism Project of Institute for Policy Studies (IPS)

Alejandro Molina, Michelle Morales, National Boricua Human Rights Network; Campaign to

Free Oscar Lopez Rivera

Sara Flounders, Co-Director, International Action Center

Rabbi Brant Rosen

John McAuliff, Executive Director, Fund for Reconciliation and Development; Coordinator, Cuba-US People to People Partnership

Cherrene Horazuk, President, AFSCME 3800

RootsAction.org

 

Hon. Jim Ferlo, President, Pittsburgh-Matanzas-Sister Cities Association
(Former City Council President and PA State Senator 1988-2014, now retired)

Salim Lamrani, author, The Economic War Against Cuba

Tom Hansen, International Education Director, Mexico Solidarity Network

Arnold August, journalist, author, Cuba and its Neighbours: Democracy in Motion

Dan Beeton, CEPR

Reese Erlich, author, Dateline Havana

Albert A. Fox, Jr., President, Alliance for Responsible Cuba Policy Foundation

Joe Iosbaker. Co-Chair, SEIU Local 73 Joint Bargaining Committee at UIC

Richard Berg, past President, Teamsters Local 743

 

Art Heitzer, Wisconsin Coalition to Normalize Relations with Cuba

Pam Africa, Suzanne Ross, International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal 

Matt Meyer. War Resisters International; International Peace Research Association

Keith Bolender, author, Voices From the Other Side: An Oral History of Terrorism Against CubaCuba Under Siege: American Policy, the Revolution and Its People

Bob Guild, Vice President, Marazul Charters, Inc.

Charles A. Serrano, ASG International, Inc.

Elizabeth Hill, President, Canadian-Cuban Friendship Association Toronto

Mike Beilstein, Corvallis,OR City Councilor

8th Day Center for Justice

 

Lisa Valanti, President US-CUBA Sister Cities Association

Church Women United, New York State

Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America

St. Louis Inter-Faith Committee on Latin America

Kathy Kelly, Voices for Creative Nonviolence

The Friendship Association (formerly St. Augustine-Baracoa Friendship Association)

Minnesota Cuba Committee

Wendy Thompson. former Pres. L. 235, UAW, American Axle Detroit Gear & Axle

Felix Masud-Piloto, Professor of History, DePaul University

Alice Slater, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation

 

Catherine Murphy, The Literacy Project

Marcela Vásquez-León, Director, Center for Latin American Studies, University of Arizona

Dereka Rushbrook, Associate Professor, School of Geography & Development; Co-Director, Contemporary Cuba Study Abroad Program, University of Arizona 

Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba

US Women and Cuba Collaboration

Let Cuba Live Committee of Maine

Heide Trampus, Coordinator, Worker to Worker, Canada-Cuba Labour Solidarity Network

  1. Bruce Franklin, Author

Seattle/Cuba Friendship Committee

 

Ken Crowley, National Delegations Organizer, Witness for Peace

Portland Central America Solidarity Committee

Houston Peace and Justice Center

Rochester Committee on Latin America (ROCLA)

Kentucky Interfaith on Latin America and the Caribbean

Graciela Sanchez, Executive Director Esperanza Peace and Justice Center (Texas)

Pedro Cabán, Professor and Chair, Latin American, Caribbean and U.S. Latino Studies

University at Albany

Sacramento Action for Latin America

Charlotte Koons, co-founder, Code Pink-Long Island, Women for Peace

 

CUBAmistad (Bloomington, IN)

Leslie Salgado, Chair, Howard County Friends of Latin America

Friends of Cuba Against the Blockade – Vancouver

Nino Pagliccia, activist, author, Cuba Solidarity in Canada

John Laun, Colombia Support Network

Gabriel Hetland, Assistant Professor, Latin American, Caribbean and U.S. Latino Studies, University at Albany, SUNY

Latin American and Caribbean Solidarity Committee, DC Metropolitan Area 

Kathryn Albrecht, journalist/writer, Nueva Mexico

Shirley Warren, New Paltz Women In Black

 

Laurence H. Shoup, author, Wall Street’s Think Tank: the Council on Foreign Relations and the Empire of Neoliberal Geopolitics 1976-2014

Nebraskans for Peace

Corinne Willinger, Granny Peace Brigade, NYC Metro Raging Grannies

African Awareness Association

Rockford Peace and Justice Action Committee

All-African People’s Revolutionary Party (GC)

Rebecca Navarrete-Davis, President Berkeley-Palma Soriano Sister City Association

Barbara G. Harris, Granny Peace Brigade

Greater Hartford Coalition on Cuba

 

Meredith Aby, Miinnesota Anti-War Committee

LELO (Legacy of Leadership, Equality and Organizing)

Carl Finamore, Machinist Lodge 1781 delegate, San Francisco Labor Council, AFL-CIO

Kait McIntyre, Chicago Anti-War Committee

Rev. Mother Marcy, founder, Public Intellectuals for Social and Spare Change

Charles Newlin, Coordinating Committee Linn-Benton Pacific Green Party (Oregon)

Bert Hestroffer, International Brotherhood of Teamsters

Marc Becker, Professor of Latin American History, Truman State University

Christine Preble, Ass. Professor and Undergraduate Program Director Department of Latin American, Caribbean, and U.S. Latino Studies, University at Albany, SUNY

Michael Martin, Professor, Media School, Indiana University

Sarah Blue, Assistant Professor of Geography, Texas State University

Marcela Vásquez-León, Dir., Center for Latin American Studies, Ass. Professor, Univ. of Arizona

Dianne Post, International Human Rights Attorney, Phoenix, AZ 

Ann Eagan, Treasurer, Manhattan Green Party

Francis Shor, Professor Emeritus, History, Wayne State University

Sherry Millner, Professor, CUNY, College of Staten Island.

Lucille Roussin, Prof., Dir. Holocaust Restitution Claims Practicum, Cardozo School of Law(NYC)

Cole Harrison, Executive Director, Massachusetts Peace Action

William H. Slavick, Prof.of English, U. of Southern Maine (retired)

 

Hermann Engelhardt, Senior Research Associate in Geophysics, Emeritus, California Institute of Technology (Cal Tech)

Ken Hayes SOAW-Austin, TX

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