Colonel Campbell, Guantánamo, and righting wrongs

When Army Col. Larry Campbell approached the podium on February 22nd to deliver his remarks to The Black Heritage Organization to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, he did nothing wrong.

To the contrary, he spoke truths that deserved the attention of a wider audience.

In his address, Col. Campbell was plainspoken about our nation’s history of racism and resentment; about the generations who came and went without enjoying full and equal dimensions of their citizenship; and the walls of resistance that the Civil Rights Movement had to scale in the – still incomplete – fight for equality.

He said with pride that “military formations are fully integrated,” without pausing over the remarkable fact that the armed services were the first major American institution to integrate or the hard truth that it took five years for Harry Truman’s executive order to be implemented for 95% of African American soldiers to serve in integrated units.

Col. Campbell used the occasion to express his abiding faith in the democratic process and in his country’s capacity for self-correction.  Yet, neither we nor you would have heard about his speech had the news about the event not been subject to such ridicule.

Why? Because the Black Heritage Organization, which held its annual Black History Month banquet, and invited Col. Campbell to speak, happens to be located at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

Yes, Guantánamo; where books like “The Gulag Archipelago” and “The African American Slave” cannot be read by the prisoners who are detained there; where the prisoner detentions compromise the position of the United States on human and civil rights.

So, when an article was published with the headline, GTMO celebrates 50 years of civil rights in America, well-meaning bloggers just couldn’t help themselves.  What followed was snark like this, “I can’t say much for the event, but that headline…,” and snark like this, “It’s a holiday in Guantánamo!”  It was all about the jokes, without making much time for understanding what was really going on.

That’s a shame.  Neither Col. Campbell nor the Black Heritage Organization are responsible for what is taking place on Guantánamo now, nor are they accountable for the larger historical error represented by the U.S. hanging onto Cuban land, or U.S.-Cuba policy writ large.

We need to be clear about Guantánamo.

We talked about it in our book about promoting U.S.-Cuba engagement, in the chapter contributed by Gen. James T. Hill, who wrote about the cooperation that takes place over the fence posts between Cuba’s armed forces (FAR) and our own military, and the work they could do together to enhance both country’s security.

Like many of our readers, we would like to see the prison at Guantánamo closed for good.  We supported the patriotic efforts of former White House counsel Greg Craig to achieve this objective. While gestures like the one offered by Uruguay’s President José Mujica, who expressed his willingness to accept Guantánamo detainees into his country, alleviate some of the suffering, we hope that Clifford Sloan is able to complete the job Greg Craig started, and soon.

Plans exist — like the detailed proposal crafted by Michael Parmly, former chief of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana — for addressing the issue of the detainees imprisoned at Guantánamo, and returning rightful ownership to Cuba of land that’s been wrongfully under U.S. control for over a century. The European Union is hard at work changing its foreign policy toward Cuba.

In other words, the problems of U.S.-Cuban relations and Guantánamo do not require new proposals or special thinking to get solved; they require leadership and the determination to make decisions and see them through to the end, the same ingredients that made the integration of the U.S. military and the passage of the Civil Rights Act possible.

Those of us who advocate for Cuba policy reform, but are discouraged by the pace of change in Washington, might take hope from the message that Col. Campbell delivered at Guantánamo’s Civil Rights Act celebration: “History has always afforded this Nation the ability to right a wrong and press forward by not repeating the same mistakes of the past.”

We couldn’t agree more.  That’s why we wanted to bring the Colonel’s speech to our readers’ attention.


Cuban-Americans discuss normalizing U.S.-Cuba relations in Miami

Last weekend in Miami, there were 125 attendees at a conference on improving U.S.-Cuba relations and the relationship between Cubans in the U.S. and on the island, reports Reuters. The conference was organized by Cuban Americans For Engagement (CAFE), in partnership with FORNORM, Generación Cambio Cubano, and Cuba Educational Travel. The agenda included panels on Cuba’s economic reforms, President Obama’s people-to-people travel policies, and the relationships between the governments and the people of both nations.

Hugo Cancio, a Cuban who emigrated to the U.S. 33 years ago and is the publisher of OnCuba magazine, stated:

“This is a historic event that unites different organizations that are willing to sit down and discuss ways to stimulate the normalization of relations…. We want to tell the U.S. and the Cuban governments to find a way to better the lives of the Cuban people, and to let us participate in the economic transformation of Cuba.”

Reuters notes that the conference did not attract pickets or meet the kinds of resistance from anti-Castro groups that past events in Miami have evoked. Ricardo Herrero, director of the Cuba Study Group, stated: “It just shows that the community is really ready to have a serious debate on U.S.-Cuba policy. …Cuba is no longer the third rail in politics. People see all the activity that is going on in Cuba and they are looking for opportunities.”

Capitol Hill Cubans, a pro-sanctions website, denounced the gathering and said “organizers aren’t reasonable anti-Castro, yet anti-sanctions, activists. These folks are in a whole other stratosphere.” Capitol Hill Cubans opposes family travel to Cuba and people-to-people exchanges, opposes the sale of food to Cuba, and denies the validity of polling conducted by a research firm that works for Republican candidates and party organizations in Florida which has shown majority support in the U.S. and the Sunshine State for changing U.S.-Cuba policy.

Collin Laverty, president of Cuba Educational Travel, discussed ways in which people-to-people travel has improved relations, and how such trips could be improved to promote further learning and cultural interaction. He lamented the high prices of most trips, due to the restrictive licensing prices and other factors, saying that “The U.S. government needs to let us open up travel so we can diversify who is going.”

Two officials from the Cuban Interests Section in Washington were denied permission by the U.S. government to attend the conference: Juan Lamigueiro, First Secretary, and Llanio González, General Counsel, were prevented from attending. Jesus Arboleya, retired Cuban diplomat, was also denied a visa to travel from Cuba for the conference, reports the Miami Herald.

Rep. Jim McGovern visits Cuba

Congressman James McGovern (MA-2) visited Cuba this week to celebrate a joint effort by the United States and Cuba to preserve the belongings and digitize the works of Ernest Hemingway, reports the Associated Press. During his visit to Havana, Rep. McGovern spoke to the press about the steps he believed the U.S. should take in order to normalize relations with the Cuba, reports EFE. “I don’t see any reason in the world why the United States and Cuba can’t have normal relations,” he said, adding:

“I believe travel restrictions should be eliminated, commercial relations should begin to be normalized, [and] Cuba should be taken off the State Sponsors of Terrorism list because in reality there is no reason for it to be there.”

Rep. McGovern said that Hemingway – who lived in Cuba from 1939 to 1960 – and his legacy could bridge the divide between Cuba and the United States:

“Hemingway has always brought people together…He transcends politics, and one of the points that I want to make today is that if Cubans and Americans can come together in a constructive way and do this, to help preserve a house and all its contents, then there’s no limit to what we can do if we work together.”

Academics from Cuba and the United States have collaborated for over ten years on the preservation of Hemingway’s home and documents. An agreement was signed in 2002 between the U.S. Social Science Research Council and Cuba’s National Council for Heritage for scholars to work together to protect Hemingway’s documents, reports OnCuba. As a result of this collaboration, thousands of pages of Hemingway’s Cuba papers became available in digitized form through the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston, Massachusetts.

Legislation in U.S. Congress could loosen oversight of other countries’ trade with Cuba

Rep. Darrell Issa (CA-49) and Sen. Mark Warner (VA) introduced legislation in the House and Senate on March 11 to eliminate reporting requirements applying to nineteen Cabinet agencies and federal offices that, if enacted, would also strike mandatory reports contained in the Helms-Burton law on “commerce with, and assistance to, Cuba from other foreign countries.”

Among their provisions, H.R. 4194 and S. 2109 would repeal section 108 of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996 (22 U.S.C. 6038), which requires the President to report to Congress annually on Cuba’s commerce with foreign countries and bilateral assistance provided to Cuba, including humanitarian assistance, during the preceding 12-month period.

The House bill was referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which held a mark-up session and passed it by voice vote. The Senate bill was referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs., a government transparency website, gives the legislation a 20% chance of becoming law.

Chief of Cuban Interests Section visits Alabama to talk trade

Ambassador José Cabañas, Chief of the Cuban Interests Section, visited the Mitchell Cancer Institute and the Port of Mobile in Alabama to speak with healthcare and trade representatives, reports Jimmy Lyons, director of the Alabama State Port Authority stated:

“At some juncture our trade relations will normalize with Cuba. … When things are normalized and Cuba is able to export and generate more currency reserves to buy more, it would potentially be more trade than we have today between the Dominican Republic and Haiti. … I wouldn’t call it a game-changer for our port or our state, but it would certainly be an important piece of business going forward.”

Exports from Mobile’s port to Cuba resumed in 2001for the first time in several decades, after a federal law authorized the sale of agricultural and medical goods to Cuba on a cash basis.

Cabañas stated that Cuba’s National Assembly will discuss a possible expansion of the special economic zone newly established around the $900 million Mariel Port project to attract further foreign investment.

Cuba denies visa to prominent economist

Carmelo Mesa Lago, a Cuban-American professor and celebrated scholar of the Cuban economy, was denied an entry visa to the island, reports Café Fuerte. Mesa Lago, Emeritus professor at the University of Pittsburgh who has lived in the U.S. since 1961, requested the visa in order to attend an event organized by the Archdiocese of Havana to celebrate his 80th birthday. At the event, Mesa Lago planned to speak about “social services in Cuba and how they have been adversely affected by the reforms.” Mesa Lago told Café Fuerte, “This is the second time they’ve denied me a visa since September 2013.” The ceremony took place as scheduled without Mesa Lago’s presence.


Cuba and France Foreign Ministers meet in Paris, to reunite in Havana before summer

Laurent Fabius, France’s Foreign Minister, met this week with Bruno Rodríguez, Cuba’s Foreign Minister, at Fabius’ home in Paris, reports the Havana Times. The two reportedly discussed upcoming negotiations between Cuba and the European Union. The last time a Cuban Foreign Minister visited France was in 2005 when Felipe Peréz Roque occupied the position. Fabius announced this week that he will travel to Havana to continue the conversation, marking the first visit by a French Foreign Minister to the island in 30 years, reports Reuters.

At a press briefing on Thursday, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said Sec. John Kerry met with Fabius Thursday morning, but was unsure if the topic of Cuba was addressed. She added:

“Broadly speaking, we understand that the issue of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Cuba would be part of the negotiation of a new EU-Cuba agreement. That is important, important to the United States. We have a very good dialogue with our EU partners on Cuba, including the French, and regularly share information on the human rights situation there and our concerns about that.

We also encourage all nations with diplomatic representation in Havana, including France, to openly engage with [Cuban] civil society through their embassies in Havana and during visits of officials to Cuba.”

One reporter asked whether Fabius would be asked to “press the case for the release of Alan Gross.” Psaki responded:

“That is an issue we bring up on every occasion where there’s an opportunity. I will check and see if that’s a message we will be asking them to transfer… We remain as committed as we have been to [Alan Gross’] release. It’s an issue we raise regularly through many channels, and that will continue.”

Earlier this month, Rodríguez accepted the invitation from the EU High Commission for External Affairs to begin talks to discuss trade opportunities. Officials from the EU and Cuba are working on scheduling the negotiations, the first round of which will take place in Havana, reports EFE.

Since 1996, the European Union’s foreign policy toward Cuba has reflected its “Common Position,” which links EU diplomatic ties and trade with its objective to “encourage a process of transition to a pluralist democracy and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as sustainable recovery and improvement in the living standards of the Cuban people.”

Carmen Jane, the Minister of Tourism at Cuba’s embassy in Paris, stated that French tourism to the island is up 7% since this time last year, reports Prensa Latina. According to Jane, out of European countries, France sent the third-highest number of tourists to Cuba in 2013, behind only the UK and Germany.

United Nations will continue Chong Chon Gang investigationCuba’s VP admits “information gap” in state media coverage of North Korean boat

Martin Uden, coordinator of the Panel of UN experts tasked with investigating the case of a weapons shipment intercepted en route from Cuba to North Korea will continue its work, reports EFE. As we reported last week, a United Nations report found that the July 2013 shipment from Cuba to North Korea with fighter jets and missile parts buried under several tons of sugar knowingly circumvented United Nations sanctions against North Korea. “We will continue,” Uden told a group of reporters, adding that more information will likely be submitted by the Panel to the UN committee which oversees sanctions against North Korea in the coming months.

Miguel Díaz-Canel, Cuba’s Vice President, said in an interview with official state media there was an “information gap” in the state media’s coverage of the Chong Chong Gang case, reports EFE. As part of a larger discussion of challenges Cuban press has faced since the last Union of Journalist conference, Díaz-Canel stated: “Recently there was an information gap about the North Korean boat, but it was a sensitive issue that we had to approach in the manner in which we did, publishing the MINREX (Ministry of Foreign Relations) press release.” To read the full interview in Spanish, see here.

Honduras will normalize relations with Cuba

Juan Orlando Hernández, President of Honduras, has announced that Honduras will soon re-establish diplomatic and commercial relations with Cuba and Venezuela, reports Europa Press. Cuba and Venezuela had withdrawn their ambassadors from Honduras in response to the country’s 2009 coup against then-President Manuel Zelaya, reports the Havana Times. The announcement comes shortly after Honduras’ re-establishment of relations with Ecuador.


National Assembly to approve foreign investment law March 29

Cuba’s National Assembly plans to approve a new foreign investment law on March 29, reports Reuters. Rodrigo Malmierca, Foreign Trade and Investment Minister, said the new law will create “improved guarantees and incentives to foreign investors” which “would efficiently contribute to sustainable development and the recovery of the national economy.”

José Luis Toledo Santander, president of the National Assembly commission charged with constitutional and legal affairs, spoke with state newspaper Granma about the new law. He said that this month forums have been held across the country for experts, officials, legal consultants, and business advisors to give their input which will be reflected in the final draft of the law that will be debated in the National Assembly on the 29th.

He told Granma that the new law will make foreign investment a priority “in almost all sectors of the economy, especially in those related to production.” The law will help to streamline investment processes. Tax rebates and exemptions in certain circumstances, as well as easing customs regulations to spur investment, are also being considered.

Toledo Santander said that the labor rights of Cubans working on foreign ventures on the island are one of the principal concerns of the deputies. He also stated:

“We must emphasize that the foreign investment process is being carried out without the country giving up its sovereignty and its chosen social political system: socialism. This new law will allow for better directing foreign investment to correspond with national development interests, but without concessions or moving backwards.”

In January, Pedro San Jorge, the director of economic policy at Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, announced the proposed law would ensure a greater role for foreign investment on the island. Whereas a 1995 law stipulates that foreign investment play only a complementary role to Cuba’s economy, this new law would continue efforts by Cuba’s government to overhaul its economy by allowing foreign investment in sectors such as agriculture. San Jorge added part of the legislation would be “in-line” with laws regulating the free-trade Mariel Development Zone.

State media releases latest self-employment statsPoor evaluations for almost half of Cuba’s state enterprises

Official state media outlet, Cubadebate, published Wednesday a feature on self-employment with the most recent statistics for this sector. The article, “Self-employment grows and becomes a valid employment option in Cuba,” states that as of the end of February, there are 455,577 Cubans with self-employment licenses adding:

“The growth of self-employed workers from 157,000 to more than 455,000 confirms the validity of this option as a source of employment and production of goods and services for the population, which confirms the validity of this option as a source of employment and production of goods and services for the population, which confirms the need to enforce the law, combat impunity and protect self-employed workers who, in the vast majority, comply with what is established.”

Six provinces account for 65% of all self-employed workers: Havana, Matanzas, Villa Clara, Camagüey, Holguín, and Santiago de Cuba. There are 57,776 Cubans with licenses in the food sector, 47,733 in transportation, 29,952 in lodging, and 91,978 workers who are contractors in the food sector and transportation industry. Of those who hold licenses for these activities, 68% said they had no prior experience in the sector, 18% are employed with the state in addition to their self-employment activities, and 14% are retired state workers.

The article adds that “inadequate” control over illegal activities in breach of licenses is a major “difficulty.”

Almost half of the 281 Cuban state-run enterprises audited by Cuba’s government in 2013 received unfavorable evaluations, reports EFE. The country’s Eighth National Audit of Internal Control centered on such areas as the food and agricultural sector, programs for construction material delivery, usufruct land use, export production and import substitution programs. The Comptroller General, Gladys Bejerano, called for “intensified” actions to prevent illegal activities. Two weeks ago, President Raúl Castro called for a national analysis and evaluation process of ongoing efforts to update Cuba’s economic model.

Cuba’s telecommunications firm denies reports of pending home Internet service

Last week we discussed reports that ETECSA, Cuba’s state-owned communications company, would start providing home Internet access in September 2014. This week, ETECSA released a statement which denied those reports and says that any announcement of services will come directly from the company itself, reports the Havana Times. The statement said that the false reports had published fares currently in use for commercial and state entities as if they would be implemented for home use.

Cuba has one of the lowest rates of Internet access in the world, but very high charges for an hour of Internet time for the average Cuban, costing around $5/hour at an Internet cafe and around $10/hour at tourist hotels that provide Internet use and Wi-Fi to the public.

Cuba increases pay for healthcare sector

Cuba’s Council of Ministers, presided over by President Raúl Castro, approved a substantial salary increase for its more than 440,000 health care workers in Cuba and overseas, reports Granma and Reuters.  The measure, set to take effect in May, will increase monthly salaries for doctors and nurses by between 100 to almost 200%.  Cuban officials expect the measure to “contribute to the stability and quality of medical services for the population as well as completion of international commitments.”

Two weeks ago, we reported that Cuba raised the wages for the nearly 7,400 Cuban doctors in Brazil. This came after President Castro’s announcement at the Workers’ Central Union (CTC) meeting that health workers would be the first to receive a raise.  In 2010, the World Bank reported that Cuba had the highest ratio of doctors to inhabitants in the world, at 6.7 physicians per 1,000 inhabitants.  Cuba is expected to earn $8.2 billion in health service exports this year.

Trade expos come to Havana, Cienfuegos

Cuba will host two trade expositions in the upcoming weeks, reports Cuba Debate. The first trade exposition will take place from March 19th through March 23rd in the province of Cienfuegos. More than 55 companies will participate in the exposition, which will be held at the EXPOCUBA center. The goal of the exposition is to encourage exports and promote the substitution of imports.

The second trade exposition will take place in Havana from April 8th to April 12th, reports ACN. More than 20 countries are expected to participate in the exposition. Ángel Vilaragut Montes de Oca, Cuba’s Vice-Minister of Construction, noted that interactions between businessmen at the exposition help to promote the exchange of products and services.

Around the Region

Demonstrations, violence and arrests continue in Venezuela; Opposition leader Corina Machado addresses OAS; Venezuela to ease foreign currency market rules

Venezuela’s protests have continued for over one month, and leading to 31 deaths, reports Reuters. Venezuelan officials also arrested opposition mayors for refusing to remove barricades and allegedly stoking violence.  Meanwhile, the national and international debate over how events in Venezuela should be interpreted and responded to rages on.

Over the weekend, demonstrators protested alleged Cuban influence over Venezuela’s armed forces, reports Reuters and AFP. The demonstrators planned to march to the Cuban embassy, but upon being diverted by authorities, marched to the La Carlota military airfield instead.  President Maduro responded to the opposition march stating, “We are going to strengthen the brotherhood between the Venezuelan and Cuban people,” neither confirming nor denying Cuban influence over the armed forces.

On Monday, Venezuelan authorities emptied opposition-held Altamira Plaza in Caracas prompting comparisons between President Maduro’s responses to opposition demonstrations and those of late President Hugo Chávez.  For President Maduro’s part, during his speech at a rally for the country’s armed forces in which he threatened the eviction of Plaza Altamira protesters, he also called for U.S. participation in in a UNASUR “peace commission” reports BBC.

As for international bodies, the Inter-Parliamentary Union announced Wednesday it would send a commission to investigate acts against opposition lawmakers including María Corina Machado, reports El Nacional. Human Rights Watch presented on the situation in Venezuela before the UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday, reports El Universal. States: “Leopoldo López, one of the most prominent leaders of the Venezuelan political opposition, is detained in a military prison waiting for a provisional judge (with no security of tenure) to decide whether he will be put on trial. … Authorities have yet to present credible evidence against him.” While this is accurate, it should be noted that Human Rights Watch has faced criticism for a U.S. bias in its reporting on Venezuela.

This week, Panama’s OAS representative ceded his Permanent Council seat to María Corina Machado so that she could speak to the OAS, reports the Latin Times. Corina Machado was critical that the OAS session was held privately, reports Peru21. On March 7th, the OAS issued a statement of solidarity with Venezuela’s government, opposed by the United States, Panama, and Canada. Meanwhile, Venezuela’s National Assembly passed an urgent motion to request the Attorney General charge Machado with crimes in relation to the protest violence. PSUV Deputy Tania Díaz, who issued the request, stated that Machado may have committed “treason against the country,” recalling audio recordings in which Machado admitted to going “before a foreign government to ask for help and advice to sabotage Venezuelan democracy,” reports El Universal.

Many Venezuelans have grown weary of the ongoing barricades being used by the opposition, media report. NACLA published a video showing locals in Mérida increasingly fed up with their inability to get anywhere due to the barricades, meanwhile the Associated Press this week profiled efforts by Venezuelan students to bridge divides and gain support in working poor neighborhoods. Opposition activists have emphasized the need to build support in poorer neighborhoods. Junior Pantoja, a municipal councilmember from Leopoldo Lopez’s own Justice First party, stated: “We don’t want violence or blocked streets, that’s not how we’re going to get rid of this president,” reports EFE. The piece paints a different picture of political polarization in Venezuela:

“Though protests have unleashed partisan animosity in middle-class areas, slums such as Petare are often models of coexistence where neighbors treat political differences as no more significant than being fans of rival sports teams.” 

Venezuela’s government is expected to soon relax its rules surrounding its foreign currency market, report the Financial Times. The changes are aimed at easing the goods shortages the country has faced. It was announced that the changes will come into effect on Monday, March 24th, reports Últimas Noticias.

For U.S. government statements on Venezuela this week, see Just the Facts compilation here.

H.R. 4229, introduced by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27), “A Bill: To seek international sanctions against the Government of Venezuela with respect to foreign persons responsible for or complicit in ordering, controlling, or otherwise directing, the commission of serious human rights abuses against citizens of Venezuela, and for other purposes,” is available here.

Recommended Reading

Cubans fret as government prepares currency unification, Rosa Tania Valdes, Reuters

Cuban citizens have begun to make plans for the impending currency unification. While some are holding onto their Cuban pesos, others are seeking to find euros and dollars. Economists believe the currency unification “is perhaps the most difficult and socially disruptive of a series of market-oriented reforms.”

The U.S. and the speck in a neighbor’s eye, Fernando Ravsberg, Progreso Weekly

Fernando Ravsberg seizes on the bewildering statement by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen expressing disappointment in the release of Cuban Five member Fernando González after having served his jail sentence to analyze the consistent double standard by the U.S. regarding human rights violations.

U.S., Cuba join Caribbean nations in oil cleanup pact, Paul Guzzo, The Tampa Tribune

Paul Guzzo provides highlights from the international agreement that Cuba and the United States signed along with three other Caribbean nations in January, which will allow for quicker multilateral response in case of an oil spill. The agreement states that “[the] intent is to build a responder-to-responder network so that in the event of a large oil spill, participating countries can work effectively together to minimize the environmental impacts of the spill.”

Obama Shouldn’t Forget Our Man in Havana, Jeffrey Goldberg, Bloomberg View

Jeffrey Goldberg argues that “The dysfunctional U.S. relationship with Cuba is Washington’s longest-running tragicomedy….As a general rule, if a policy hasn’t worked in more than half a century, it’s probably time to find a new policy.” Goldberg delves into the details of the Alan Gross case, one of the major “stumbling blocks,” contending that the U.S. needs to negotiate with Cuba on the matter.

Recommended Listening

CDA Conference Call on Venezuela, featuring Prof. Dan Hellinger and Prof. Alejandro Velasco

On March 6, 2014, the Center for Democracy in the Americas hosted a conference callregarding ongoing protests and violence in Venezuela. The topics discussed on this call were:

  • The problems posed by the U.S. media coverage of the conflict;
  • A comparison with other instances in the past 15 years when Venezuela has experienced internal strife;
  • A discussion of why protests have not spread from largely middle-class sectors, and why popular sectors have not participated;
  • An analysis of the opposition and its leaders, and their motivation; and
  • Proposals for how Venezuela could move forward with a national dialogue.

If you would like to subscribe to the Caracas Connect, CDA’s bi-monthly publication on Venezuela written by Dr. Hellinger, please send an email to:

Cuba: Changes, challenges, and its relationship with the United States, Radio Times, Marty Moss-Coane

This piece from Radio Times features Peter Schechter of the Atlantic Council and Michael Reid of The Economist discussing changes in Cuba and what it means for the future of U.S.-Cuba relations.

CDA is hiring!

Stephen Rivers Memorial Intern

CDA is offering a paid, full-time, ten-month position in Washington, D.C. for a uniquely qualified applicant with a special interest in Cuba, a thirst for activism, and an interest in pursuing a professional career in the foreign policy NGO community. The Stephen M. Rivers Intern will work side-by-side with CDA staff on projects that advance our goal of forging a new policy toward Cuba and the region. The Intern will be paid a monthly stipend. Please see this posting for more information.

Summer Intern

We are recruiting undergraduate and graduate students, as well as recent graduates, for a full-time summer internship. The intern will work directly with the CDA staff to assist with conference and delegation preparation, web site updates, drafting and editing publications, research support, and other tasks. Please see this posting for more information.

Interested in traveling to Cuba? Travel with CDA!travel

As part of our core program, CDA’s takes delegations of policy makers to Cuba several times each year to experience the island first-hand. Now, we would like to extend an invitation to our blast readers! CDA is organizing a people-to-people delegation for the beginning of June, from June 1st to the 6th.

CDA has been organizing trips to Cuba since 2001. We provide a truly unique experience, giving travelers access to our diverse range of contacts which includes artists, academics, entrepreneurs, musicians, journalists, and everyday people. If you are interested, please email Vivian Ramos at by March 28th. 

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