They say “a journey begins with one step.” Well, we feel like the President’s decision to ease travel-to-Cuba regulations on January 14 marks the start of our 2011-and-beyond journey to end the travel ban. Does it seem like we’ve been here before?!
We’ve built-up a lot of momentum in the past few years-and tremendous support from advocates like you and from members of Congress. While we didn’t get the full results that you or we wanted, we together did manage to elevate the Cuba issue to center stage, both in Congress and in the media. To review: In 2009, President Obama opened travel for Cuban Americans, and we applauded but pushed for more. In 2010, we pushed hard to pass bills in the House and Senate which would have ended the travel ban for ALL U.S. citizens; the calendar and scant political will stymied our efforts. In 2011, President Obama has opened travel for religious groups, academics and student groups earning college credit (“general licenses”; no permission prior to travel needed), and others (licensed people-to-people travel). Again, we applaud him, but we want more. We need more. We even deserve more. Don’t you agree?
Help us produce more by donating to our work now, and please read on.
With Cuba making significant changes in their economy and society that open new opportunities for Cubans, it is important that our government recognize Cuba’s openness to change. Today’s Cuba is evolving in a way that is “Cuban-determined”; today’s Cuba is different from yesterday’s, and tomorrow’s Cuba may be even more exciting and forward-looking than today’s. Our elected officials need to know that they can ditch their “cold war lenses,” especially when it comes to Cuba. To make that message heard loud and clear, we need your support. We need to regroup, renew, recommit, and develop a new strategy that circumvents a Congress that is less than friendly to our position on Cuba. We have already taken some significant steps toward creating a new approach designed for a new reality. With your enthusiastic help (about 16,000 of you!), we petitioned President Obama through Change.org to use his executive authority to broaden the regulations for licensed travel. Your participation was part of a broad and effective strategy to “get to” the President, and it worked! So, let’s use that momentum, those new tools, that energy to our advantage. Let’s use this current moment to get back to basics, building a bigger, broader, and even more effective network that can push the administration today, let the new and Tea Party-ish (read: libertarian) Congress know that we have not gone away, and be ready to again mobilize around the opportunity of the 2012 elections to emphasize our position on Cuba. What do you think? Are you willing to pitch-in?
Please pitch-in by supporting our work and by continuing to commit your energies to change this damaging policy.
We need to encourage more travel to Cuba at every opportunity by all kinds of new constituencies, find ways to make visits there ourselves (we’ll have a new and innovative idea to share with you in a future e-update), and educate new activists/advocates of ending the travel ban. We need to produce materials that advise our supporters just HOW to travel to Cuba under the new regulations; we are in the process of doing just that. We need to reach out to new groups that can help us continue raising Cuba as an issue in both domestic and foreign policy. After all, that’s what activism is all about, right?!
Please donate here so that we can continue building momentum, working for change, demonstrating our support for a fair and just policy to Cuba that is based on mutual respect between sovereign neighbors.
For those of you who’d like some details about how your donation will be used-our goal is to raise $5,000 in the next two weeks to help us carry out these projects that will get us to more:
• $50 will print new brochures explaining the new Obama travel regulations and walking new travelers through the process of people-to-people licensing-so more U.S. citizens will travel to Cuba;
• $100 will contribute toward organizing our action to demand more travel that will take place simultaneously in Cuba and around the United States (plans just developing; stay tuned);
• $250 will enable Facebook ads and Change.org petitions to add more energized activists to our on-line Cuba network;
• $1,000 will make your friends on the LAWG Cuba team more ecstatic than you can imagine!