CAFE is pleased to express our gratitude and our support for President Barack Obama for having set in motion the overdue process of normalization of relations with Cuba. As the president, his family, members of his cabinet, and a large contingent of U.S. congressional members and staff are set to arrive in Havana this afternoon it is evident that the inevitable march towards normalization and reconciliation continues without pause. This official visit, unthinkable just a few years ago, marks an important milestone of the end of the first phase in that process.
We hope that it will serve as an incentive for both nations to work towards realizing the worthy goal of forging a new relationship based on mutual respect and cooperation. For this to happen, Congress must now act to repeal the web of legislation that codifies the embargo and send it to a president that will sign off on normalization. The president has gradually whittled away at the restrictions under his jurisdiction so as to provide an opening between the United States and Cuba and American citizens in the public and private sectors have welcomed this rapprochement by engaging with the island in a robust manner. It is time for Congress to act and support the president’s policy and the people’s will.
We encourage the president and all those accompanying him to ask all Cubans that they encounter, and not just those deemed as dissidents, what it is they can do to “help meet the needs of the Cuban people” as official policy subscribes. President Obama is extremely popular on the island in all streams of the civil society and the overwhelming majority of Cubans, wherever they may reside, are in favor of normalization. We can only hope that this trip accelerates the virtuous cycle already established between both nations and spurs both federal governments to take bold steps forward.