Cuba Politics

ENCASA-US-CUBA takes out full page ad to protest US Embargo

Posted April 28, 2006 by publisher in Cuba Politics.

NY Daily News | Albor Ruiz

Enough is enough.

That is the unmistakable message conveyed in an open letter signed by more than 100 prominent Cuban-American scholars, writers and artists - 11 of them from New York - published today in The Miami Herald as a full-page ad.

The letter is right on target when it calls U.S. policy toward Cuba “a political and moral failure for almost half a century.”

Coming a few weeks before a Bush administration panel, the clearly interventionist Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba, makes its second report and tightens even further restrictions on travel to Cuba. The document, a categorical, even angry denunciation of Washington’s obsolete Cuba policy, is sure to cause a stir in the Cuban-American community.

“The purpose is to start a public debate about these issues,” said Dr. Lillian Manzor, a University of Miami associate professor of Latino and Latin American Literature and one of the academics who signed the letter.

But the signatories, who have formed a national group, Emergency Network of Cuban American Scholars and Artists for Change in U.S.-Cuba Policy (ENCASA/US-CUBA), also have another, more ambitious, goal.

The group seeks to reverse a U.S. policy that, for almost 50 years, has had as its centerpiece an economic embargo whose cruelty to the people of Cuba is legendary.

“We have organized ourselves to voice our outrage at a policy that is inhumane, unjust, ill-conceived, hypocritical and contrary to American ideals,” the letter says.

Manzor, 49, who left Cuba in 1968, is one of the group’s founders. She says that it is important to let everyone know that there is no monolithic position among Cuban-Americans.

“Every time the embargo, travel restrictions or any other issue related to Cuba comes up, it is the same small group of people who are consulted and interviewed,” she said. “We want everybody to know that, among Cuban-Americans, there are many different positions. I would dare say that a majority in the Cuban-American academic community disagrees with U.S. policy toward Cuba.”

The letter puts it this way: “For too long, this debate has been dominated by one sector of our community. We are determined that no longer will others in our community speak for us as they continue to insist on taking this country down a misguided path that has served neither the best interests of the U.S. nor those of the Cuban people.”

The letter is bound to resonate loudly from Washington to Miami given the nature of its signatories. Most of them are professors affiliated with 60 universities, including some of the nation’s leading institutions. The rest are artists, writers, curators, playwrights, poets, novelists, attorneys and editors, many of them very well known.

Among the signatories there are professors from CUNY, SUNY, Columbia University and NYU.

“The Cuban nation has a long and proud record of struggle for self-determination and defense of its sovereignty,” the letter states. “For more than 500 years, Cubans have rejected and defeated colonialism, military interventions and foreign influences. The policy embraced by the Bush administration and spelled out in the 2004 Commission Report ignores and misreads Cuban history.

“Moreover, the policy attempts to negate the Cuban people’s right to self-determination and sovereignty by implying that the U.S. should have a major role in determining Cuba’s future. Cuba’s present and future must be determined by the Cuban people, not by the U.S.”

Enough is enough.

Member Comments

On April 30, 2006, J. Perez wrote:

“Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba” What a joke, based on what they have NOT accomplished in Iraq, they should call it “Commission for Finding an Intelligent Policy Towards Cuba”.
These hundred Cubans should be applauded!

On May 02, 2006, MiamiCuban wrote:

I too applaud these hundred Cubans!!!  They speak up for a growing number of us who want Cuba recognized as a soverign country.  The elimination of the embargo is a must if we are to ever co-exist peacefully.

On May 02, 2006, A. Delgado wrote:

I agree completely with there message and find myself unbelievably fustrated when I watch on the news the same people spewing the same nonsense and claiming that it is how most Cubans feel when they aren’t remotely close to being the majority. The only person that is not being punished with these restrictions is Castro; it is the rest of us Cubans and Cuban-Americans that are paying the price.

On May 15, 2006, Andy Cardenas wrote:

This message encompasses an idea whose time has come.  It should be repeated again and again—staying on message until it becomes part of our national discourse.

We have much to learn and share with Cuba in the areas of hurricane preparation, education and medicine.  Cuba has much to learn and share with us.  However, Cuba must enter this idea exchange as an equal and independant partner-nation—not as booty for the entities who instigated the dynamics of the present situation.

Mutual respect and earned trust between independant nations are the pillars by which the world can enjoy peace and prosperity for all of us.  This could become a reality—one nation at a time.

Changing US/Cuba relations could be the one of the pillars that a real United Nations can be built on.

On September 21, 2006, Luis A. Bosch wrote:

It’s about time an intelligent US policy toward Cuba is promoted: Free Travel, End the Embargo, Open Economic Relations, Non-Intervention.  This is a true and tried recipe for positive change. The majority of Cuban-Americans support this idea.

On September 21, 2006, publisher wrote:


Thanks for posting at the Havana Journal.

I agree with most of your post but I am not sure that the majority of Cuban Americans are in favor of lifting the Embargo. If that were the case, it would have been lifted by now.

Cuban Americans support the Embargo because it gives them political power in Washington and USAID money to all their failed Plan A Embargo supporting organizations.