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U.S.: Immigrant Leaders Congratulate President on New Approach to Cuba
an article by Laurie R. Glenn, National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities

Today [December 17], President Obama announced a major shift in the relationship between the United States and Cuba. In the President's own words, "It is time for a new approach." As Latino immigrant leaders, NALACC salutes the President for this clear-eyed and brave action. In his speech, the President noted that the policy of isolation that the United States has pursued for the past fifty years has failed to advance US interests and has harmed ordinary Cubans. We welcome these first steps toward normalizing relations with Cuba and harnessing the "power of people to people engagement," as the President mentioned in his speech today.



click on photo to enlarge

Unfortunately, many of the punitive and isolating measures that continue to pose a barrier to normal relations with Cuba have been enshrined in US Law. This is another instance, similar to immigration reform, where Presidential actions can move the debate forward, but eventually, Congress must act. We hope that a bi-partisan spirit will pervade and the necessary legislative steps to end the embargo will be taken very soon.

We applaud the President's assessment that we should not "continue doing the same thing over a period of five decades and expect a different result." This sentiment should guide other areas of policymaking, including immigration policy, and our foreign policy toward other nations in our hemisphere.

On the eve of International Migrants Day, we echo the President's inspiring words -- motivated by his conversation with Pope Francis -- that we should all be "pursuing the world as it should be instead of settling for the world as it is." This action is a step toward sensible relations in our hemisphere that take us beyond the legacy of the cold war and into the twenty-first century.

About NALACC: NALACC is a network of community-based; Latino and Caribbean immigrant-led organizations in the US that seeks to raise the quality of life for immigrant communities in the United States, as well as communities in migrant-sending countries in Latin America. Over the years, NALACC has built close working relationships with key civil society organizations throughout Latin America.

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This report was posted on December 20, 2014.