LAWG was happy to work with a group of Cuban Americans in crafting a letter about their position on Cuba as a “state sponsor of terrorism.” Yesterday, we delivered this open letter to the Obama Administration signed by sixty Cuban Americans from across the United States strongly disagreeing with the position of Cuban-American legislators from Florida on retaining Cuba on the State Department’s list of “state sponsors of terrorism.” The signers state that the Cuban-American legislators from south Florida do not represent them or their views on Cuba, or the views of the majority of Cuban Americans. “The removal of Cuba from this serious tool of U.S. foreign policy is long overdue,” maintain the signers. See below to read the full letter and view the list of signers.
The LAWG Cuba Team
Mavis, Emily and Robyn
June 11, 2013
OPEN LETTER TO:
President Barack H. Obama
The Honorable John Kerry, Secretary of State
We, the undersigned, are Cuban Americans opposed to the statement by three Cuban-American members of Congress, sent to Secretary of State John Kerry on April 29th, regarding keeping Cuba on the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism. Their expressed views do not represent those of the majority of Cuban Americans.
We feel strongly that the original reasons for adding Cuba to that list no longer exist. If you apply the criteria described by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in taking North Korea off the list in 2008—no support for terrorism in the last twenty years—the removal of Cuba from this serious tool of U.S. foreign policy is long overdue.
We also believe that removing Cuba from the terrorist list would advance the process of other mutually-beneficial bilateral communications between Cuba and the United States. This is of the utmost importance to the United States. The Boston marathon tragedy highlights the importance of international cooperation against terrorism. The issue must not be politicized. As proud Americans, committed to the security of our nation, we urge the State Department to conduct a serious professional evaluation of Cuba’s presence on this list. Dealing with terrorism requires policy and leadership divorced from politics and distractions.
Removing Cuba from the state sponsors of terrorism list will enable the United States to look at the current challenges and opportunities posed by Cuba. The island is a country in transition, not a national security threat. Recently Cuba has provided new opportunities on the island for private enterprise, the removal of travel restrictions, an open market for housing and cars, among other things. Although we know there is much more to be done, it is imperative that the United States maintain an open line of communication with Cuba while this transition continues to evolve.
Thus, we firmly denounce the statement by the three Cuban-American members of Congress, who have falsely claimed to represent all Cuban Americans. Recent polls in the Cuban-American community, and in the nation as a whole, demonstrate that current policy is not the wish or position of the Cuban-American community, or of the American citizenry in general. A summary of recent polls may be viewed here.
We, therefore, request that you take into consideration the views of the majority of our community and our nation regarding this important issue, and not just the views of two or three members of Congress. They do not represent us.
We are including links to several documents and articles that we hope will inform any decision about the mistaken inclusion of Cuba on the terrorist list.
We thank you for taking the time to hear us—and for taking our views into consideration.
María Isabel Alfonso, PhD, CAFÉ (Cuban Americans for Engagement), Jackson Heights, NY
Maria T. Aral, President, A Better Choice Travel, Miami, FL
Annie Betancourt, Coral Gables, FL
Elizabeth Cerejido, Independent Curator & Art Historian, Miami, FL.
Elena R. Freyre, Foundation for Normalization of US/Cuba Relations, Miami, FL
Arturo Lopez-Levy, University of Denver*, Denver, CO
Vivian Mannerud , President, Airline Brokers Co. Inc. , Fort Lauderdale, FL
Joe Perez, J. Perez Associates Inc., Long Beach, CA
Silvia Wilhelm, President, Cubapuentes, Inc.*, Miami, FL
Antonio Zamora, Foundation for the Normalization of US/Cuba Relations, Miami, FL
Sir Knight Jorge Ignacio Fernandez, Deputy Grand Knight, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Knights of Columbus, Buckingham, PA; Founder & President, Hope for Cuba Foundation, New Hope, PA
Eddie B. Levy, Jewish Solidarity, Miami, FL
Xiomara Almaguer-Levy, Cuban American Defense League, Miami, FL
Hugo M. Cancio, President & Founder, Generacion Cambio Cubano, Miami Lakes, FL
Luly Duke, Founder and President, Fundacion Amistad, New York, NY
Flora González Mandri, Cambridge, MA
Alvaro F. Fernandez, Progreso Weekly and Miami Progressive Project, Miami Beach, FL
Ed Canler, Chattanooga, TN
Alex Lopez, President, Interplanner, Washington, DC
Aileen Ortega, Coral Gables, FL
Rev. Dr. Miguel A. De La Torre, Professor of Social Ethics and Latino/a Studies, Iliff School of Theology*, Denver, CO
Samuel Farber, Professor Emeritus, Political Science, Brooklyn College of CUNY*, NY
Sandy Waters Milord, Filmmaker/Photographer, Washington, DC
Joaquin E. Casamayor, Houston, TX
Félix Masud-Piloto, DePaul University*, Chicago, IL
Ibis Gomez-Vega, DeKalb, IL
Myra Mendible, Fort Myers, FL
Romy Aranguiz, Worcester, MA
Andres Ruiz, Worcester, MA
Terry A. Maroney, Professor of Law; Professor of Medicine, Health, and Society, Vanderbilt University*, Nashville TN
M. Isabel Medina, New Orleans, LA
Alan A. Aja, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Brooklyn College (City University of New York)*, Brooklyn, NY
Edmundo Garcia, periodista (journalist), La Tarde Se Mueve, Miami, FL
Amaury Cruz, V.P., Foundation for the Normalization of U.S.-Cuba Relations*, Miami Beach, FL
Melinda Lopez, Bedford, MA
Ana Karim, Charlotte, NC
Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable, MD, Professor of Medicine, University of California*, San Francisco, CA
Dr. Lillian Manzor, Miami, FL
Iraida H. López, Professor, Ramapo College of New Jersey*, Leonia, NJ
Enrique Sacerio-Gari, Bryn Mawr College*, Rosemont, PA
J. Tomas Lopez, Professor of Art and Art History, Head of Electronic Media, Univ. of Miami, Coral Gables, FL
James Buckwalter-Arias, Associate Professor of Spanish, Hanover College*, Madison, IN
Alberto R. Coll, Professor, DePaul University College of Law*, Chicago, IL
Andrés Gómez, editor, Areitodigital Magazine, Miami, FL
Flavio Risech, Associate Professor, Hampshire College*, Amherst, MA
Manuel R. Gómez, DrPH, Washington, DC
Michael Misa, Tampa, FL
Roberto Fernandez Rizo, Actor, Escritor y Educador, Lexington, VA
Marlene J. Looney, Downingtown, PA
Daniel James Perez, Encinitas, CA
Daniel Matthew Egol, Briarcliff Manor, NY
Katia Martinez, West Palm Beach, FL
Raul Morejon, West Palm Beach, FL
Dr. Alberto N. Jones, President Caribbean American Children Foundation, Palm Coast, FL
Luis A. Molina, Cuban-American Artist/Philadelphia-Cardenas Friendship Assoc., Philadelphia, PA
Luis Rumbaut, Attorney, Washington, DC
José Pertierra, Attorney, The Law Office of José Pertierra, Washington, DC
Beth Boone, Artistic and Executive Director, Miami Light Project, Miami, FL
Delvis Fernandez, Cuban American Alliance, San Luis Obispo, CA
Aidil Oscariz, Miami, FL
*For purposes of identification only