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Posted August 26, 2010 by publisher in US Embargo

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When will the President announce the easing of Cuba travel restrictions?

Since President Obama is on vacation on Martha’s Vineyard here in Massachusetts through this weekend, I don’t think we’ll have any announcement about easing Cuba travel restrictions on Americans until next week.

Congress is back after Labor Day and since many believe he will make an announcement before Congress returns.

Assuming he will not make the announcement while he is on vacation and assuming he wants to make the announcement before Congress returns then one might expect the announcement to be timed for next week. If not next week then in the days immediately following Labor Day.

Here’s the buzz about the new Cuba travel opportunities:

John McAuliff

John McAuliff writes his first article for the Huffington Post Obama Administration Facing Critical Decision on Cuba Travel Policy offering advise to the President and a great summary of what his announcement may mean for 4645.

Brookings Institute

The Brookings Institute offers their Seizing the Opportunity to Expand People to People Contacts article that talks about engaging the Cuban people and doing something positive for US Cuba relations. Specifically the Brookings Institute suggests that the President

Increase the list of items eligible for gift parcels and increase the value of those parcels.

Remove all other programs that pertain to increasing people-to-people contacts from the USAID Cuba program and make them part of a broader, invigorated federal rogram
managed by the agency.

Under this program, create a multi-disciplinary scholarship fund for Cuban students to study in the United States at the graduate level. The scholarships would be administered
through the U.S. Interests Section in Havana and be offered to all Cubans. It should encourage other countries to do the same.

Extend Fulbright scholarships and grants to Cuban nationals as well as for U.S. students wishing to study in Cuba.

Establish a travel fund to facilitate academic exchanges, including those among universities, music academies, and research institutes.

Encourage U.S. NGOs to offer donations of equipment to wide-impact Cuban civil society organizations.

US Chamber of Commerce

Maria Medrano, Director of the Americas writes a motivational Get U.S.-Cuba policy right

Attorney Robert Muse

Well known Washington DC attorney Robert Muse offers the President legal cover with his The President’s Legal Authority to Enable Non-tourist Travel article.

Governor Richardson

The Governor is in Havana as I write this and he took time to give an interview with NBC’s Andrea Mitchell with his thoughts about current and near future US Cuba relations. This is probably unrelated but for some reason Hugo Chavez visited with Fidel and Raul yesterday for five hours.

Latin America Working Group

Meanwhile, LAWG has posted a thank you letter to Reps. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO), and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) who not only encourage the President to make these changes but went further and asked for his support on 4645.

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USAID Opposition

Interestingly enough Jose R Cardenas of USAID has the nerve to write an article for ForeignPolicy.com titled Obama’s ill-timed Cuba move . He tries to make an argument about the timing being wrong. Well, funny how the timing has been wrong for 50 years and why can’t the opposition see that this issue is about American freedom and not regime change in Cuba.

Also, why is a US government employee writing an opinion piece?

Why does he not mention that he works for USAID?

Shouldn’t he be objective and more importantly, focused on cleaning up the problems at USAID and funding for USAID programs?

  1. Follow up post #1 added on August 26, 2010 by publisher with 3905 total posts


    Governor Richardson hints at some movement in the Alan Gross case but what does Fidel think about Alan Gross.

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  2. Follow up post #2 added on August 26, 2010 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    So, if Fidel still has a say, Alan Gross will not be released UNLESS Fidel gets something he wants from the US.

    IF Alan Gross is released AND President Obama eases travel restrictions, will President Obama be playing Fidel’s game?

    Sadly, I think so.

    Fidel has been smarter than EVERY US President since Eisenhower.

    Sad but true.

    Who’s still in power?

    Who still has the Embargo in place because he needs the Embargo?

    Who dictates US Cuba policy?




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  3. Follow up post #3 added on August 27, 2010 by bernie with 199 total posts

    Alan Gross broke Cuban law and since he did the crime
    he should do the time, and it is not the USA to interfere????

    With over 80,000 USA citizens visiting Cuba this past year
    with a permit from the USA OfAC department, logic should
    prevail,  that it is not Fidel who is enforcing the embargo it’s
    the USA??  It’s totally misdirection trying to accuse Fidel for
    the embargo?????  It’s the USA that requires the Canadians
    to give a list of the names of all passengers that fly to CUBA, WHY????

  4. Follow up post #4 added on August 28, 2010 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Thanks to John McAullif for pointing out that apparently Jose Cardenas no longer works for USAID.

    As seen in an NPR report:

    Jose R. Cardenas is an associate with the consulting firm VisionAmericas. He served in various senior positions in the Bush administration working on inter-American relations, including the U.S. Agency for International Development, where he served as Acting Assistant Administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean.

    Read the comments below the NPR article.

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  5. Follow up post #5 added on August 28, 2010 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Also, another reason to think that next week would be good timing for the announcement is that Governor Richardson will be back from Cuba and maybe he has some good news on Alan Gross and will have a press conference with the President?

    FYI, here are ten reasons to lift the Embargo.

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  6. Follow up post #6 added on September 02, 2010 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Open letter to President Obama…

    It’s next week! Tomorrow is Friday… Friday before Labor Day weekend… hurricane Earl running up the East coast…

    Good time to announce those travel restrictions?

    Hello. Anyone out there?

    If not tomorrow, when?

    Now’s not the right time blah blah blah?

    Don’t be the 11th President to play Fidel’s game. Man up. Do what’s right for humanity and the majority of the American people.

    Free the American people from the grip of the old Cuban Americans in Miami and New Jersey.

    Let your people go… to Cuba!

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  7. Follow up post #7 added on September 03, 2010 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Sadly it appears that President Obama is the 11th President to fall into Fidel Castro’s trap.

    Yet another President continuing on with the 50 year old failed “Plan A” Embargo to get rid of the Castro regime.

    The President signed another emergency declaration continuing the Embargo for another year.

    I thought this guy was going to open his hand to encourage the likes of the Castro brothers to unclench their fist. Well, they released political prisoners and made some small market reforms but of course that’s not enough for his hard right wing Cuba advisers. (Advisers in the sense that these people control the Congress and Executive Branch’s view of Cuba so no President can ever have the correct information to make the right decision about Cuba.)

    Too bad. I thought President Obama was smarter than that but when it comes to Cuba, very few politicians are either smart enough or ballsy enough to handle the truth.

    And so it goes… maybe next year, again.

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  8. Follow up post #8 added on September 05, 2010 by arteest with 103 total posts

    I wouldn’t say he’s playing Fidel’s game. He’s playing the election game.

  9. Follow up post #9 added on September 14, 2010 by publisher with 3905 total posts


    “The detention of Alan Gross is an impediment to being able to move ahead with certain kinds of measures that we would take with regard to Cuba,” U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere Arturo Valenzuela told reporters after addressing an Americas Conference in Miami organized by the World Bank and the Miami Herald.

    “It is an obstacle for attempting to move ahead on what might be more of a dialogue between the two countries,” the U.S. official added, saying Washington had made this clear to Cuban authorities.

    U.S. congressional sources said last month the Obama administration had been preparing to relax travel restrictions to Cuba for some Americans to be able to visit the island as part of academic, cultural or religious exchanges.

    But Valenzuela’s remarks suggested progress in this kind of move, which would slightly ease aspects of the 48-year-old U.S. trade embargo on Cuba, was being hampered by Gross’ continued detention.


    There’s always a reason not to engage with Cuba. ALWAYS.

    Even if both Castro’s died tomorrow and someone announced that the Cuban government would have free elections and become capitalist, the old Cuban exiles would still say now is not the time to end the Embargo. They’d say “let’s wait until they have free elections before we even talk about easing the Embargo”.

    And so it goes. Obama is the 11th President to fall into Fidel Castro’s trap or should I say the trap of the old Cuban exiles?

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