Dear Cuba Policy Advocates:
This is such a key time to respond to the cruel new “interim final
regulations” on Cuba travel and remittances that we are writing to you
again this week. We promise not to keep up this pace!
We urge you to write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper
protesting these new regulations. The regulations go into effect on
June 30 (see our most recent update—yesterday), and letters to the editor
should be sent today (or at least by Monday) to coordinate timing with the
A quick and easy way to find your local newspaper’s information on the web is: type in http://congress.org; scroll down to #8220;Browse: Media Guide” and click on it; put in your zip code; or click on “state” to find your local newspapers. You’ll see a list of newspapers in your area or state, with full contact information. This is a great resource!
A sample letter follows; adapt it to your own experience and use your
own words. We’ve also included some “Tips for Writing Letters to the
Editor,” FYI. We know that this takes a bit of time (not much, though!), but it is a very important action to take—in addition to sending your comments to OFAC.
Remember to copy your letter to your members of Congress in their local
congressional offices in your districtófor both your senators and your
representative. Even if your letter doesn’t get printed, they’ll see
you’re writing to local papers; and they’ll pay attention.
Thanks for all you do. Your actions really do matter. Be sure to copy
with your letter and let us know if it gets printed. Good luck!!
Latin America Working Group
P.S. Please Note: In our last update, we didn’t fully explain the new
harsh restrictions on educational travel to Cuba. While the new
indicate that some educational activities may be for a period of less
ten weeks, they state clearly that all “structured educational
must spend a minimum of ten weeks in Cuba. Only certain limited
under the revised academic licenses can be for shorter times: for
research trips by graduate students or shorter trips to set up the
ten-week structured educational programs. The new regulations will
in the cancellation of almost all university and college groups to
This is an outrage.
Sample Letter to the Editor
YOUR PHONE NUMBER
YOUR EMAIL, if that’s the way in which you submit the letter
(This information is so the newspaper can contact you to confirm that
are the letter-writer. Don’t worry, they will only print your name and
town/city in the paper.)
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
NAME AND ADDRESS OF THE NEWSPAPER
On June 30, new regulations will go into effect restricting travel to
and family contacts between Cuban Americans and Cubans on the island.
new regulations clearly go against dearly-held American values of
and family. I am outraged about my government’s actions in preventing
citizens from traveling to Cuba and in separating Cuban Americans from
families in Cuba.
Polls consistently show that US citizens want to be able to travel to
Polls also show that the Cuban-American community in south Florida
supports their right to visit their extended family in Cuba and to
their loved ones by sending unlimited remittances to them.
It is a disgrace that the Bush Administration feels the need to pander
minority within the Cuban-American community to try to get votes in
US policy toward Cuba just went from being stupid to being downright
YOUR NAME and SIGNATURE
Tips on Writing Letters to the Editor
What is a Letter to the Editor?
a.. Letters to the editor are short letters from readers printed on
editorial page, most often discussing a recent event/issue covered by a
publication, radio station, or TV program.
b.. They are your chance to “sound-off” to your community about
the news. They are widely readóso make them an important part of your
a.. It is much easier to publish a letter to the editor than it is to
place an op-ed. Your letter has the best chance of being published if
a reaction to a story in the paper. Respond as quickly as you can.
b.. Read the letters pageóyou will learn how to develop an effective
letter-writing style, and you will see if someone has already responded
c.. Keep it short and conciseó150-200 words. The paper will take the
liberty to shorten your letter to suit its format; the more it has to
the less control you have of what gets printed. Lead with your most
d.. Focus on one main point and make a compelling case. State the
very early in the letteróthe first or second sentence.
e.. Write in short paragraphs, with no more than three sentences per
f.. Avoid personal attacks.
g.. Put your full name, address and phone number at the top of the
and sign the letter at the bottom. You must include a phone number for
h.. When you write a letter, copy it to the foreign policy aide in
congressional offices from your district. Even if the letter doesn’t
printed, they’ll see that you’re writing to local papers, and they’ll
attentionóbecause they know that when a letter does get printed, a lot
their constituents will be learning about Latin America policy, and
office had better have some responses to constituents’ concerns!
i.. Follow up with the paper to see if the letter was received,
paper specifically says “do not call.”
j.. You can normally find information about guidelines and where/how
send your letter on your newspaper’s editorial page. (If the
isn’t printed, don’t be afraid to call and ask.)
k.. If you’re not published this time, don’t get discouraged. There
be many other opportunities.