WHERE / CARIBBEAN / CUBA /
The United States is the only country in the Western Hemisphere that has not reestablished full diplomatic relations with Cuba. This practice has been annually condemned by the United Nations for the last two decades. In recent years, the Obama administration has made important efforts to thaw our Cold War legacy with Cuba by ending restrictions on Cuban Americans to visit the country and send money to relatives, permitting U.S. telecommunication companies to operate in Cuba, and making advances with regards to bilateral dialogue on migration and direct mail service.
TransAfrica lauds the Obama administration’s decision to further loosening of U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba. The measures will increase travel opportunities for educational and religious organizations, increase remittances allowed sent by U.S. citizens, and increase airport travel. The measures will not impact the 1962 U.S. economic embargo against Cuba that remains intact. Since TransAfrica’s founding, the organization has been concerned with the United States ongoing embargo against Cuba. During a 1999 trip, TransAfrica assessed and analyzed the specific impact of the economic embargo on Afro- Cubans.
President Obama’s measures are a victory for increasing people-to-people contact between the two countries but should be considered a first step to further normalizing relations in U.S. policy priorities. TransAfrica has documented the particular historic impact of the aid embargo on Cuba’s Afro-descendant population and supports the U.S. continued assessment and revision of policy towards our brothers and sisters in Cuba.