***But we're not finished yet. The day was a big success — both in Washington and in communities throughout this nation, and we need to continue the momentum for a common-sense Cuba policy.
First and foremost, a much-deserved THANKS to everyone who participated! We cannot stress enough how important your support and participation were in creating CubaGO! To the Cuba policy advocates, Cuban Americans, world travelers, agricultural and business representatives, policy wonks, students, church activists, salsa lovers, cigar aficionados, and friends from all over the country, we thank you for making the day a tremendous success in moving us toward the freedom to travel for all. Whether you organized events, made calls, or traveled to DC, each effort was crucial to making CubaGO! – go. So again, thank you for stepping up and supporting the Freedom to Travel to Cuba.
On Capitol Hill
65 community leaders came to DC on September 30 as advocates for a change in policy. They were a varied group, including a dozen or so academics, Cuban Americans, leading agriculture sector representatives, at least five other business and export sector representatives, college deans and administrators, half a dozen religious leaders (Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish), a number of lawyers, several local politicians and the former Secretary of Agriculture from the Reagan Administration — all verifiable Cuba experts. In all, 14 delegations came from over ten key states. We met with 48 House congressional offices and 17 Senate offices.
At the morning briefing, the full delegation was pleased to have the presence of six members of the House who came out to show their support for the Freedom to Travel to Cuba. Representatives Bill Delahunt (D-MA), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Charles Rangel (D-NY), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Jim McGovern (D-MA), and Jim Moran (D-VA) spoke, along with Senator Michael Enzi's (R-WY) senior staff.
Watch the video of the morning briefing here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZrURs4slxI&feature=channel_page
The delegates will now be following up with the congressional offices they met to continue educating the staff and members and to confirm their support for a change in policy.
The massive call-in effort was comprised of 38 officially registered CubaGO! events, from 24 different states, where phone calls were made by those attending events or participating in phone banks, and by passers-by at tables on college campuses, churches, and other public venues. The bulk of calls made on September 30th came from individuals like you demanding that Congress act on "Travel for All." To help spread the word, the CubaGO! team partnered with 28 organizations who sent out CubaGO! alerts to their list servs. We have received reports from a growing list of individual people who let us know that they made an average of 3-5 phone calls each, adding up to many hundreds of individual calls. The movement demanding the Freedom to Travel is spreading nationally. We witnessed congressional offices receiving your calls while we met with senior congressional staff on September 30. This grassroots movement is turning up the heat on Capitol Hill, and a new policy towards Cuba is in sight.
Although we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, we must remember that we are still not allowed to freely travel to Cuba. The momentum that we have built with CubaGO! is historic; let's keep it going. We believe that CubaGO! participation represented tremendous enthusiasm throughout the country for a policy change, and a willingness by constituents to take action to promote that change. Stay informed. Keep active. And reward yourself — when we win — with a vacation… to Cuba. Mojitos in Havana, anyone?