Blog Posts

Whoever said “less is more” was just, well, wrong . . . in this case.

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Cultural exchanges have always been an important element of expanding one’s knowledge about countries throughout the world. While certain countries may possess different political ideologies, religious beliefs, or speak different languages from the United States, “intercambios” allow citizens to become familiar with everyday people from cultures that are different from ours. And knowing the people encourages understanding and peaceful co-existence. For countries that are polar opposites on the political and/or social spectrum—like Cuba and the United States, for  example—exchanges  between students, artists, faith groups, farmers, sports teams (fill in your own community here) help humanize the “other.” And in more cases than not, these exchanges assist all parties to find common ground and shared experiences, despite outward differences.

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UN Vote on Cuba, the 19th

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For the 19th consecutive year the United Nations General Assembly has voted against the United States’ policy toward Cuba.  This year the vote, occurring October 26, a day or two sooner than expected, was 187 (supporting Cuba’s non-binding resolution condemning the embargo) to 2 (voting against the resolution:  the United States and Israel), with 3 abstaining (Palau, the Marshall Island, Micronesia). See an article on the vote here.

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Cuba Travel: Best Chance Since 2003

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We are the closest we have been for years to ending the ridiculous travel ban on Cuba. This Wednesday, September 29, at noon, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs (HCFA) will consider H.R. 4645, the “Travel Restriction Reform and Export Enhancement Act.” This means that they will be considering whether to lift the travel ban on Cuba, or not.
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In Memory of Rev. Lucius Walker

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The Latin America Working Group joins thousands of friends of Rev. Lucius Walker, here and abroad, in expressing our great sense of loss at the death of Rev. Walker – and our tremendous admiration for his life.  A mentor to many, and friend to more, and a tireless worker for justice and peace, Lucius was and remains a model of commitment, dedication, and faith that lives in actions. He inspired, challenged, guided, and led. Through his leadership of IFCO/Pastors for Peace and through his personal sacrifice, he made people aware and added to the throngs of U.S. citizens who work to end the unjust embargo on Cuba and the Cuban people. Cuba was not the only country to benefit from his humanitarianism, but that is where we at LAWG intersected with his charisma and his example. LAWG sends our sincerest sympathies to the family, friends, and co-workers of Rev. Walker. May he rest in peace.

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Shout out to McGovern, Emerson, DeLauro on Cuba letter

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Today, August 25, three key congresspersons sent a letter to President Obama lauding the rumors (that we believe are substantiated) that his administration is on the brink of an announcement easing the ban on travel to Cuba – which is within the executive purview of the President (both President Clinton and President Bush took advantage of the authority of the executive to revise and reinterpret the regulations governing travel to Cuba by limited categories of U.S. citizens).

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Florida Rep. Castor the Latest in Congress to Champion Freedom to Travel to Cuba

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On Thursday, July 22nd, Democratic Congresswoman Kathy Castor became the latest House member and the first from Florida’s congressional delegation to join the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act (H.R. 874). The act, introduced in the 111th Congress by Reps. Delahunt (D-MA) and Flake (R-AZ), aims to restore the right of each and every U.S. citizen to travel to Cuba, a policy shift endorsed recently by Cuba’s most prominent opposition figures and 64 percent of Cuban Americans.

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Ag Committee Chairman Peterson Outmaneuvers Opponents of Travel to Cuba, Moves Legislation Forward

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After a momentous week in the nation’s capital, advocates of lifting restrictions on U.S. citizens’ travel to Cuba have reason to celebrate.

On Wednesday, June 30, the House Committee on Agriculture held a mark-up session of H.R. 4645, the Travel Restriction Reform and Export Enhancement Act. While out-of-touch hardliners on the committee tried to amend and motion Ag Committee Chairman Peterson and Congressman Jerry Moran’s bill to death, it ultimately received a favorable 25 to 20 vote, putting Congress on the verge of voting on ending the travel ban, rather than simply shutting down its checking account, for the first time in history.

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House Ag Committee Set to Vote on Cuba Travel Bill

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Chairman PetersonOn Wednesday, June 30, the House Agriculture Committee votes on H.R. 4645, the Travel Restriction Reform and Export Enhancement Act, which restores U.S. citizens' right to travel to Cuba, creates jobs in the U.S., and puts food on Cubans' tables. What happens Wednesday will determine if this landmark legislation sees the light of day on the House floor this summer or dies in committee. The LAWG Cuba Team will be on the Hill (in 1300 Longworth) for the vote on the bill, championed by Chairman Collin Peterson of Minnesota (picture right), at 2pm EST. You can follow our "live-tweets" via Twitter or tune in online through the Agriculture Committee's website. Live video coverage can be found here once the "mark-up" begins.

Photo Credit: aflcio

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The Head-Honchos of Cuban Civil Society Set the Record Straight on U.S. Citizens' Travel to Cuba

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Many in the United States Congress continue to hem and haw when it comes to repealing the unjust ban on U.S. citizens' travel to Cuba, but the head-honchos of Cuban civil society know where they stand -- and, presumably tired of the hardliners invoking their name in opposition to any change to the status quo, they've decided to set the record straight. In a letter made public on June 9th, 74 Cubans urged members of Congress to vote in favor of H.R. 4645, the Travel Restriction Reform and Export Enhancement Act, legislation currently being considered by the House Committee on Agriculture that would restore the right of each and every U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba, without getting a permission slip from Uncle Sam, and ease the sale of U.S. food to the island.

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Cuba Legislation Could Help Gulf Economies Rebound from Oil Spill

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About two weeks ago there was an explosion aboard BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig, tragically killing at least 11 rig-workers and eventually triggering a pipe-break that's now spewing an estimated 5,000 barrels into the Gulf of Mexico daily. As the oil slick has spread from its epicenter 50 or so miles off the coast of Louisiana to the Gulf state's shores, so have concerns that the disaster could severely harm the livelihoods of individuals--fishermen, for instance--and industries who depend on the vibrant, wildlife-rich ecosystem.

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