President Obama - We Urge You to Act Quickly
1. We want you to end the restrictions on travel to Cuba: not just for Cuban-Americans, but for everyone. Our goal is not just to make it easier for people to get licenses from the US government to travel to Cuba: please just end the restrictions. Ending travel sanctions will help to end the information blockade that exists between the US and Cuba. It will also help you to cut wasteful spending and implement better government: last year, the Government Accountability Office reported that the US government’s preoccupation with harassing Cuba travelers was wasting taxpayers’ money and actually hurting our nation’s homeland security!
2. We urge you to end the blockade and normalize US/Cuba relations. We want to make sure that it is clear in every discussion of this issue that we don’t just want to end travel restrictions, but also ALL existing sanctions on trade and diplomatic relations. Please understand: this struggle is not only about our right to visit Cuba. It’s about Cuba’s right to conduct normal trade, to feed its people, without US harassment.
US government restrictions on trade to Cuba have cost the Cuban people $93 billion to date (according to what the dollar was worth in 2007, before our own economy started to crash). Imagine how much food, how much hospital equipment, could have been purchased with those funds!
We pledge to keep the pressure on you — until the whole blockade is ended.
A great place to start: simply allow Cuba to purchase construction supplies for hurricane relief and repairs.
In September 2008, in the United Nations General Assembly, 185 nations voted to end the US blockade of Cuba. If the US really wants to rejoin the world community after eight atrocious years of the Bush administration, normalizing relations with Cuba would have tremendous significance.
3. FREE THE CUBAN FIVE, who have been unjustly held in US supermax prisons for 10 years -- simply for seeking to protect innocent civilians from Miami-based terrorist attacks.
4. Take Cuba off the terrorist list!!! The US State Department keeps a list of nations that sponsor terrorism — and there is no reason whatsoever for Cuba to remain on that list. Cuba is not an enemy; Cuba is not a threat.
5. Cut the USAID budget for “assistance to a free Cuba" when you take your scalpel to the US budget. President-elect Obama, this is money — more than $50 million per year — that is being used to undermine Cuba’s sovereignty. And according to recent reports, much of the money ends up buying cashmere sweaters and Godiva chocolates for Cuban-Americans in Miami.
6. President-elect Obama, when you close the prison at Guantanamo, give the base back to Cuba.