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Monday, February 15, 2016

Is It Time to Open up to Cuba?

Is It Time to Open up to Cuba?

The Cleveland Council on World Affairs (CCWA) is honored to serve as a community partner for the City Club’s program, The Case for Opening Cuba. The mission of CCWA is to inspire engagement in international affairs through education, citizen diplomacy, and public dialogue.

This timely program is offering the opportunity to increase your understanding of the politics, history, and future of the Cuba Trade Embargo. Is the Embargo fulfilling its original intention? Is it generating good or creating harm for Cubans and/or Americans? Can a change in policy improve lives, increase collaboration with the U.S., and improve economic conditions in Cuba?

Since 1960, the U.S. has been stuck with outdated trade policy and travel restrictions that has not only stalled the economic development and advancement of Cuba, but has also created an antagonistic relationship with one of our nearest neighbors. The Embargo currently in place bans commercial, economic, and financial business with Cuba, including exporting and importing of goods and tourism to the island.  Over the course of the past year and a half, the U.S. has begun to forge a path of new diplomatic relations and easing of some travel and communication restrictions, including increasing access to the internet and cell phone service.

Groups like Engage Cuba are advocating for the breakdown of barriers between our two nations, including the trade embargo, so that the people of Cuba can decide their own future.  Lifting sanctions and ending the embargo still faces strong opposition from members in Congress.

As we go into Wednesday’s conversation, we must consider these questions when evaluating the case to open Cuba.  A growing majority of Americans believe it’s time to support lifting the trade embargo and travel restrictions and support our renewed diplomatic relations, we need to carefully consider both sides of the issue.  

We encourage you to listen to our November 17, 2015 podcast, Global Conversations, in which Ambassador Vicki Huddleston, former Chief of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, explores why U.S. and Cuba have remained the best of enemies for so long and what President Obama’s executive actions mean for the future of our diplomatic and economic relations.  Ambassador Huddleston’s presentation will provide a historical and political context for the City Club’s panel conversation.

At CCWA, we believe programs such as The Case for Opening Cuba are vital for understanding world affairs topics and their impact on the nation, region, and city. We encourage you to join us at the City Club on February 17, 2016 at 12 p.m.

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