Ten Cuban-American business leaders published a full-page advertisement in today’s Miami Herald after a recent trip to Cuba.
According to an article in the Miami Herald, the ten business leaders returned from Cuba convinced that stronger ties to the U.S. would help Cubans. The advertisement, “An Open Letter to Our Fellow Cuban-Americans”, says, “We saw progress beyond what we could have imagined. We saw entrepreneurs with a thirst for knowledge and families benefiting from the newfound freedom of enterprise. It is these ‘everyday’ people who are leading the way to an improved life but not without challenges.”
Regarding the US trade embargo, they denounced it as ineffective: “As fellow Cuban-Americans, let us recognize the progress that has been made on both sides of the 90-mile Florida Straits, albeit halting, in the right direction. Just consider what has been accomplished in the last 12 months versus what has been accomplished in the last century.”
“We have arrived at the point in our lives where we have no interest in personal advancement, but only in what would be good for ‘nuestra gente,’” our people, they stressed.
Two Republicans who led the travel group paid for the ad: Carlos Gutierrez, the U.S. commerce secretary under former President George W. Bush, and Mike Fernandez, the Coral Gables healthcare magnate and top financial backer of Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign.
Here are the most recent developments that suggest the embargo’s days are numbered:
- This week the US and Cuba reached an agreement to restore regularly-scheduled flights.
- Last week, the US and Cuba met for the first time to discuss resolving the long-standing problem of claims compensation for property and businesses seized in the wake of the 1959 Cuban revolution.
- Last week, Cuba came to terms with the some of its creditors. The Paris Club group of creditors accepted terms that are generous to Cuba. Creditors have forgiven $8.5 billion of Cuba’s $11.1 billion debt. The deal covers official debt defaulted on through 1986, plus interest, service charges and penalties. Coming to terms with the past suggests Cuba is willing to negotiate at some level.
- In one legislative development earlier this year, a republican Senate panel has already voted to lift an ban on travel to Cuba.
- In another legislative development this week, a bipartisan group of House members announced the formation of the Cuba Working Group that, “will seek to draw attention to how reforms in the U.S. and Cuba are opening new opportunities for commercial, diplomatic and people-to-people relationships.”
- A recent Pew Research Center poll showed that 72 percent of Americans support ending the embargo against Cuba, up from 66 percent in January of this year.