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Posted May 25, 2007 by publisher in US Embargo

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(received by email)

Dear Cuba Policy Advocates and LAWG Supporters:

Do we have a real chance to change U.S. Cuba policy this year? Is the new leadership going to take the Congress in that direction? What can we do to push initiatives and legislation that would make a real difference? These are questions we ask one another regularly here in the Cuba policy community in DC. And do you know what our answer always is? . . . . YES! And, “We will have our best chance of ending the travel ban and REALLY changing policy IF we have the support and active participation of citizens across this nation.” That means we need YOUR partnership; and we need your financial support for our joint work. http://www.lawg.org/misc/Donations.htm

First, a few words of encouragement: (1) Though you may have read in the Miami Herald and elsewhere that hope is dim for change this year (don’t believe everything that you read!), we know that allies in Congress are working to move Cuba legislation on a number of fronts; we anticipate that we will see action on the Cuba travel bills “in some format” over the summer. (2) Activity on Capitol Hill by Cuban Americans and grassroots groups has been lively since the beginning of 2007. Congress has been contacted in person, by phone, by email, and in district/state offices in a demonstration of constituents’ will to change Cuba policy. You know this, because you have participated in the effort. These activities don’t make the press, but they do have an impact on Congress. (3) We believe that we can win votes in both the House and the Senate this year. This would lead to serious negotiations with the Bush Administration?instead of to a “cave-in” by Congress in the face of a veto threat. (4) Though it is a bit contradictory to talk about failure in Iraq as “encouragement,” it is important to note that the Bush Administration’s loss of credibility on foreign policy throughout the world may have a positive impact and lead to change in Cuba policy.

On to the purpose of this email. We know you care about U.S. policy toward Cuba. We know that many of you respond energetically when we ask you to take action. We know that many of you come to DC to make your voices heard on Capitol Hill. We know that many of you take local action to educate about and protest current policy toward Cuba. We thank you sincerely. Now, we come to you in this once-a-year email appeal to ask for your financial support. http://www.lawg.org/misc/Donations.htm

We at LAWG have committed ourselves to several new projects to ramp up our efforts and take advantage of the possibilities for change. See our website for the many projects we have going: http://www.lawg.org . We can’t do it without you.

Here’s our goal: We need to raise $8,000 in the next three weeks to contribute to an aggressive and creative strategy to move U.S.-Cuba policy off the dime and effect real change. Please donate $50, $100, $200 or more to help get the message out and to build the movement to end the travel ban?and the whole embargo. You may donate securely by credit card online at http://www.lawg.org/misc/Donations.htm . See below for our postal address.

Here’s what we’ll do with your donation:

(1) $6,000 toward publishing Love, Loss and Longing: The Impact of U.S. Travel Policy on Cuban-American Families in book format. Many of you have been following the LAWGEF/WOLA photo exhibit project for over a year, have viewed it in cities across the United States, and have supported it financially. The project demonstrates in powerful photographs and moving testimonies the personal impact of U.S.-Cuba policy on Cuban-American families. Now, we want to take the next logical step. Because this model has had such a tremendous impact across the nation, we want to expand its reach and contribution to changing U.S.-Cuba policy. Our plans for the up-coming book are to provide a copy of the photo book to every member of Congress and make it more mobile and accessible to greater numbers of citizens. You may view an on-line version of the photo exhibit at http://www.lawg.org/countries/cuba/photo-page1.htm . The total cost of publishing and distributing the photo book will be approximately $20,000. http://www.lawg.org/misc/Donations.htm

* Just 30 donations of $100 will allow us to publish each family photograph as a two-page spread, giving full play to the powerful portraits and the bi-lingual testimonies.

* Twenty donations of $50 will allow us to provide a copy of the book, which calls for an end to the full travel ban, to each and every member of the House and Senate.

* Another 20 donations of $50 will permit us to share the book with local leaders around the country: educators, religious leaders, Cuban Americans, the press, and state politicians.

* Your donation of $200 or $500 will show your extraordinary support for our efforts to end this unjust policy. And you would be in good company, as the book will include endorsement letters from Reps. Charles Rangel and Jeff Flake and from Senator Mike Enzi.

(2) $1,000 to continue to bring delegations to Washington to educate Congress: Cuban Americans, religious leaders, local advocacy groups. We provide orientations to meeting with Congress, accompaniment, talking points, materials to share with members of Congress, and hospitality. http://www.lawg.org/misc/Donations.htm

(3) $1,000 to help us “Build the Movement.” The more of us raising our voices in support of a humane policy toward a sovereign Cuba, the better our chances of success. And we will succeed. Help us add a thousand new Cuba Policy Advocates to our e-mail network. http://www.lawg.org/misc/Donations.htm

* One-hundred-fifty donations of $20 will enable us to reach out to thousands of Americans across this country who want to join with you in fighting a policy that separates families, denies educational exchange, tells churches that they can’t have mutual exchange and support with their partners in Cuba, and restricts ordinary Americans like you and me from visiting ordinary Cubans on the island of Cuba.

Please send your tax-deductible contribution to the Latin America Working Group Education Fund, 424 C Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Or, send a non-tax-deductible contribution to the Latin America Working Group (same address) to help us carry out advocacy activities with Congress. Write “Cuba E-Appeal” in the subject line of your check. Or contribute by credit card online by clicking on this secure link: http://www.lawg.org/misc/Donations.htm . Again, please be sure to specify “Cuba Project” in the “This donation is for” box under “Gift Information.”

We need your help to raise $8,000 in the next three weeks to be ready to respond to the opportunities we will have this summer and fall to keep the issue of Cuba policy front and center, to end the travel ban, and to increase pressure on the administration for their actions against Cuban-American families. We must be ready to act when the opportunity to definitively change the policy presents itself. We’ll keep you apprised of our progress towards our goal.

With your generosity, we can do all this and more!

Thanks for your help!


Mavis Anderson and Claire Rodriguez
Latin America Working Group

(disclosure: Havana Journal Inc will be donating $50)

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