News / Americas

New Advocacy Group Urges Obama to Change Cuba Policy

Commuters walks past a poster urging U.S. President Barack Obama to change U.S. policy towards Cuba at the McPherson Square Metro stop in Washington, D.C., April 28, 2014.
Commuters walks past a poster urging U.S. President Barack Obama to change U.S. policy towards Cuba at the McPherson Square Metro stop in Washington, D.C., April 28, 2014.
A new advocacy group calling for the United States to change its policy toward Cuba launched an advertising campaign on Monday with posters on the Washington D.C. metro system showing President Barack Obama and urging him to “stop waiting.”
The metro ads by the group #CubaNow are designed to highlight economic changes happening in Cuba. The group believes the 52-year-old U.S. embargo against the communist-ruled island has not worked.
“It's time to bring the conversation on U.S.-Cuba policy into the 21st century,” said #CubaNow director Ric Herrero.
The group said its mission, unlike other Cuba policy groups, was specifically focused on changing U.S. thinking about Cuba policy.
While the group opposes the embargo, it recognized that  overturning it in Congress is an uphill battle and other ways can be found to change policy, such as allowing all Americans to travel to Cuba.
“There's plenty the president can do within his existing authority,” said #CubaNow founding member Andres Diaz, a Cuban-born former Obama administration official at the Department of Commerce.
#CubaNow was founded by a group of mostly younger generation Cuban Americans. Herrero declined to discuss its funding.
The group's launch coincides with the fifth anniversary of Obama's 2009 steps allowing Cuban-Americans to travel freely to visit relatives in Cuba as well as send remittances.

That policy shift helped “usher in more change in that time than had been seen in the previous 50 years,” the group said in a press release.
Herrero said the group, based in Miami and Washington, wants the White House to take “new steps” to encourage Cuba's burgeoning private sector which has emerged under economic reforms being slowly introduced by the Cuban government.
Cuba announced new reforms on Monday loosening regulation of its largest state-run companies including minerals, tourism and telecommunications.
The group's founding is part of a new wave of efforts to prod Obama into taking bolder steps to engage the Cuban government.
It follows a February poll by the Atlantic Council which found a majority of Americans support normalizing relations with Cuba.
In November, Obama told a Miami area fundraiser that it may be time for the United States to “update” its policies toward Cuba.
“Blue jeans and rock 'n roll brought down the Berlin Wall, so we have to recognize that there is a new wave of energy pushing a new approach toward U.S.-Cuba policy,” said Alex Castellanos, a Republican political strategist who is Cuban American.

You May Like

Nearly Every Job in America Mapped in Detail

A nifty map pinpoints practically every job in the United States, revealing the economic character of America’s metropolitan areas, which also helps to inform the local culture

Corruption Busting Is Her Game

South African activist is building 'international online community of thousands of corruption fighters'

Former SAF Businessman Gives Books, Love of Reading to Students

Steve Tsakaris now involved in nonprofit Read to Rise, which distributes books in Soweto, encourages lower-grade primary school students to read

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video In Cambodian Capital, Political Motives Seen Behind Canceled Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle reports from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs

More Americas News

US Activist Heading Home After Serving Peru Sentence

Lori Berenson returning to New York, two decades after being found guilty of aiding leftist rebels in Peru

Pope Outlines Mexico Trip With 4 Stops, Including Juarez

Comments from pope speaking to reporters en route home from Africa on Monday confirms trip will have a strong immigration theme

16 Dead in Guatemala Prison Riot

Prison spokesman quoted as saying fighting was between members of Mara 18 and Mara Salvatrucha gangs and fellow inmates who don't belong to gangs

Haiti Opposition Says Transitional Government May Be Needed

Eight candidates in last month's disputed presidential election demanding major changes in electoral system, say if that doesn't happen, transitional govt should be created

With Peace Near, Debates Grows Over Colombia's Draft

Among six Latin American countries, including Brazil and Cuba, with a military draft, Colombia is the only one at war

IOC Leaders to Discuss Mexico Dispute Next Month

The International Olympic Committee said Friday the issue of government interference in Mexico will be reviewed by its policy-making executive board at its Dec. 8-10 meeting in Lausanne