Blog Posts

American University Student Reflects on Education and Social Justice Alternative Spring Break to Cuba

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As I pushed an old flamboyantly-painted yellow school bus down the streets of Havana in front of the U.S. Interests Section and a billboard exclaiming “Venceremos!” (We will overcome), I realized how privileged I was to spend a week in a country so mysterious to U.S. citizens, and so troubled, yet filled with beautiful, smart, and passionate people. I don’t pretend to believe that I could possibly understand Cuba in one week, but I can say that after visiting the island only 90 miles from the Florida Keys, I am a better person, I think more critically about what I am told, and I see the connection between the U.S. and Cuban people as a connection worth fighting for.  DSCN0702Photo by Josh Halpren: Participants from AU's Alternative Break program to Cuba

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Rev. Francisco Marrero of Cuba: “Society is More United Today”

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On July 10th in Washington DC, Reverend Francisco Marrero, the General Secretary of the Presbyterian Reformed Church in Cuba (PRCC), discussed the role of the PRCC in Cuba. In celebration of the 45th anniversary in which the PRCC became autonomous from the New Jersey Senate of the Presbyterian Church, Marrero shared the strides the PRCC had made as well as the challenges the church still faces in light of its strong and active presence within Cuba's ecumenical community.

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Florida Lawmakers overstep Obama on Cuba policy: Where’s SCOTUS?

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These days, current United States policy towards Cuba seems to be maneuvered by a strong backbone called Florida, who appears to be standing a little taller. With recent news of stiffer laws that Florida state legislators have backed to their 90.5-mile away neighbor, could the state of Florida be overstretching its rights and treading upon the federal government by creating its own foreign policy?

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LAWG supports Cuban American Commission for Family Rights against Rep. Rivera Amendment

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With nearly 2 million Cubans in the United States, approximately 400,000 travelled last year to Cuba. Fifty percent of family members who travel to Cuba are U.S. residents, not citizens. U.S. Rep. David Rivera has proposed an amendment to make it illegal for Cuban residents living in the U.S. to travel to Cuba for any reason (i.e. a death in the family, daughter is sick…etc.) and then return to the United States. What will happen if this goes into effect? Well, before that happens, the Cuban American Commission for Family Rights (CACFR) is speaking out; and its executive director, Silvia Wilhelm, said, “We will fight this cruelty proposed by Rivera.” The Latin America Working Group is 100% behind CACFR. See below for CACFR's full press release.

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Rivera's bill would turn "the act of travel to Cuba into a deportable offense" says Rep. Lofgren

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Yesterday in the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Policy Enforcement a bill proposed by Representative David Rivera (R-FL-25) was heard. His bill H.R. 2831 aims to amend the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1996  to " prohibit Cubans who claim political asylum in the United States from returning to the island nation. The proposal would revoke the residency status of any Cuban national who returns to Cuba after receiving political asylum and residency in the United States under the Cuban Adjustment Act," says the Miami Herald's "Naked Politics" blog

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Cuban Americans for Engagement (C.A.F.E.) visit Washington, DC

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On April 16th and 17th a group of Cuban Americans of different political persuasions from states including Florida, Illinois, Colorado, Massachusetts, New York, Virginia, and Kentucky visited Washington DC in order to promote engagement in relations between Cuba and the United States with members of Congress, the U.S. State Department, and the Cuban Interests Section in Washington. We counted on the support of the Latin America Working Group (LAWG) and the Washington Office of Latin America (WOLA) for such an undertaking. Para leer en español haz un click aquí.

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Witness for Peace: The Cuba Rambler

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From the unique perspective of Diego Benitez from Witness for Peace (WFP) who has been on the ground in Havana, Cuba since the beginning of the year. WFP is a politically independent, nationwide grassroots organization of people committed to nonviolence and led by faith and conscience. WFP’s mission is to support peace, justice and sustainable economies in the Americas by changing U.S. policies and corporate practices which contribute to poverty and oppression in Latin America and the Caribbean. WFP established an active delegations program in Cuba in 1999. Delegates worked to expose the human costs of the U.S. embargo. Over the next four years, thousands of activists traveled to Cuba with WFP before President Bush revoked WFP's license to travel to Cuba in 2005.

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What Guillen Means for the Summit of the Americas

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In case you hadn’t noticed, it seems that Cuba has been popping up in mainstream news headlines a lot in the past week. From Ozzie Guillen’s comments about Fidel Castro to this weekend’s Summit of the Americas, Cuba is a hot topic these days. The strange thing is—Cuba isn’t in the news for what its people or government have done—it’s in the news because U.S. citizens and politicians are putting in their two cents about the country (as is so often the case).

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Ricardo Alarcón says "Cuba of course aspires to the normalization of relations with the United States"

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President of the Cuban Parliament, Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada, was interviewed last week by Dr. Salim Lamrani, lecturer at Paris Sorbonne Paris IV University and expert on U.S.-Cuba relations, for publication in The Huffington Post. The interviewer and the interviewee produced an absorbing conversation on the state of U.S.-Cuba relations, particularly how the countries can cooperate to move forward—a   step that Alarcón claims would benefit both sides of the Florida Straits. He should know. Prior to his position as President of the Parliament, Alarcón spent twelve years in the United States as Cuban ambassador to the United Nations. Throughout the conversation, the two men did not hesitate to discuss some of the touchier topics plaguing U.S.-Cuba relations: including migration, the current administration, normalized relations, and even Alan Gross. Read below for excerpts of the more compelling questions and responses:

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Dr. Reinerio Arce: “If you go this year you will find another Cuba”

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Dr. Reinerio Arce, President of the Evangelical Theological Seminary of Matanzas, Cuba,  participated in a briefing at Washington, DC’s National Council of Churches last week regarding the current  reality of religious life and the role of churches  in Cuba. Dr. Arce’s presentation focused on the current economic and social changes occurring on the island and how they have affected various faiths and churches. He also expressed deep support for small, but important measures taken by the Obama Administration in regards to religious travel--which he claims has greatly facilitated his seminary’s ability to carry out social projects. Dr. Arce began by stressing the importance of the relationships between U.S. and Cuban churches:

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