Open Letter to President Obama: End the US Blockade of Cuba, Return Guantanamo to Cuba

Open Letter to President Obama to Take Concrete Action on Ending the US Blockade/Embargo on Cuba, and to Return Guantanamo to Cuba

We welcome President Obama’s decision to travel to Cuba for talks with the Cuban government.
We undersigned organizations and individuals call on President Obama to take concrete actions on two outstanding issues to restore normal diplomatic relations between the two countries:
1.  End the 54-year-old embargo/blockade of Cuba,
2.  Return the US-occupied territory of Guantanamo to Cuba.
Economic Impact of the Embargo/Blockade of Cuba         
Cuba lost out on at least US$117 billion between 1960 and 2014 due to the U.S. economic blockade on the country, according to the United Nations’ Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. (1)

The embargo/blockade not only hurts Cuba, but also the US. The US Chamber of Commerce, which advocates lifting the embargo, states the cost to the US economy of the 54 year sanctions range from $1.2 to $3.6 billion per year.(2)
On the US embargo/blockade of Cuba, President Obama can exercise his authority in the following areas:                                                                                                                                             

1) Authorize the use of the dollar in international transactions;
2) Permit Cuba to import from third countries products with more than 10 percent U.S. components;
3) Allow Cuban entities to open correspondent accounts in U.S. banks;
4) End the policy of financial persecution against Cuba;
5) Not impede the granting of credits or other financial facilities;
6) Allow imports of Cuba’s exportable products or services;
7) Authorize Cuban planes and boats to carry passengers, cargo and mail between the two countries;
8) Authorize direct exports of U.S. products to Cuba;
9) Authorize companies to invest in Cuba (international firms have submitted more than 400 proposals for investment in the Mariel Economic Zone);
10) Remove the limit on Cuban products that can be imported by U.S. visitors to Cuba;
11) Authorize U.S. citizens to receive medical treatment in Cuba;
12) Alow the distribution of credits, loans and financing for the acquisition of products in the U.S. market.

The US Naval Base at Guantánamo
The US Base at Guantánamo is 113 years old as of February 23, 2016. It was the first U.S. base in our hemisphere and is the oldest U.S. overseas base in the world, and the only one whose host country lacks contractual authority to unilaterally revoke it.

We call on President Obama to implement these actions to alleviate the US blockade on Cuba and to set a timetable for returning US -occupied Guantanamo to the Cuban nation.


  • Noam Chomsy
  • Chicago ALBA Solidarity Committee
  • Cole Harrison, Executive Director, Massachusetts Peace Action
  • Lucille Roussin, Prof., Dir. Holocaust Restitution Claims Practicum, Cardozo School of Law(NYC)
  • Sherry Millner, Professor, CUNY, College of Staten Island.
  • Francis Shor, Professor Emeritus, History, Wayne State University
  • Ann Eagan, Treasurer, Manhattan Green Party
  • Dianne Post, International Human Rights Attorney, Phoenix, AZ
  • Marcela Vásquez-León, Dir., Center for Latin American Studies, Ass. Professor, Univ. of Arizona
  • Sarah Blue, Assistant Professor of Geography, Texas State University
  • Michael Martin, Professor, Media School, Indiana University
  • Christine Preble, Ass. Professor and Undergraduate Program Director Department of Latin American, Caribbean, and U.S. Latino Studies, University at Albany, SUNY
  • Marc Becker, Professor of Latin American History, Truman State University
  • Bert Hestroffer, International Brotherhood of Teamsters
  • Charles Newlin, Coordinating Committee Linn-Benton Pacific Green Party (Oregon)
  • Rev. Mother Marcy, founder, Public Intellectuals for Social and Spare Change
  • Kait McIntyre, Chicago Anti-War Committee
  • Carl Finamore, Machinist Lodge 1781 delegate, San Francisco Labor Council, AFL-CIO
  • LELO (Legacy of Leadership, Equality and Organizing)
  • Meredith Aby, Miinnesota Anti-War Committee
  • Greater Hartford Coalition on Cuba
  • Barbara G. Harris, Granny Peace Brigade
  • Rebecca Navarrete-Davis, President Berkeley-Palma Soriano Sister City Association
  • All-African People's Revolutionary Party (GC)
  • Rockford Peace and Justice Action Committee
  • African Awareness Association
  • Corinne Willinger, Granny Peace Brigade, NYC Metro Raging Grannies
  • Nebraskans for Peace
  • Laurence H. Shoup, author, Wall Street's Think Tank: the Council on Foreign Relations and the Empire of Neoliberal Geopolitics 1976-2014
  • Shirley Warren, New Paltz Women In Black
  • Kathryn Albrecht, journalist/writer, Nueva Mexico
  • Latin American and Caribbean Solidarity Committee, DC Metropolitan Area
  • Gabriel Hetland, Assistant Professor, Latin American, Caribbean and U.S. Latino Studies, University at Albany, SUNY
  • John Laun, Colombia Support Network
  • Nino Pagliccia, activist, author, Cuba Solidarity in Canada
  • Friends of Cuba Against the Blockade - Vancouver
  • Leslie Salgado, Chair, Howard County Friends of Latin America
  • CUBAmistad (Bloomington, IN)
  • Charlotte Koons, co-founder, Code Pink-Long Island, Women for Peace
  • Sacramento Action for Latin America
  • Pedro Cabán, Professor and Chair, Latin American, Caribbean and U.S. Latino StudiesUniversity at Albany
  • Graciela Sanchez, Executive Director Esperanza Peace and Justice Center (Texas)
  • Kentucky Interfaith on Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Rochester Committee on Latin America (ROCLA)
  • Houston Peace and Justice Center
  • Portland Central America Solidarity Committee
  • Ken Crowley, National Delegations Organizer, Witness for Peace
  • Seattle/Cuba Friendship Committee
  • H. Bruce Franklin, Author
  • Heide Trampus, Coordinator, Worker to Worker, Canada-Cuba Labour Solidarity Network
  • Let Cuba Live Committee of Maine
  • US Women and Cuba Collaboration
  • Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba
  • Dereka Rushbrook, Associate Professor, School of Geography & Development; Co-Director, Contemporary Cuba Study Abroad Program, University of Arizona
  • Marcela Vásquez-León, Director, Center for Latin American Studies, University of Arizona
  • Catherine Murphy, The Literacy Project
  • Alice Slater, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
  • Felix Masud-Piloto, Professor of History, DePaul University
  • Wendy Thompson. former Pres. L. 235, UAW, American Axle Detroit Gear & Axle
  • Minnesota Cuba Committee
  • The Friendship Association (formerly St. Augustine-Baracoa Friendship Association)
  • Kathy Kelly, Voices for Creative Nonviolence
  • St. Louis Inter-Faith Committee on Latin America
  • Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America
  • Church Women United, New York State
  • Lisa Valanti, President US-CUBA Sister Cities Association
  • 8th Day Center for Justice
  • Mike Beilstein, Corvallis,OR City Councilor
  • Elizabeth Hill, President, Canadian-Cuban Friendship Association Toronto
  • Charles A. Serrano, ASG International, Inc.
  • Bob Guild, Vice President, Marazul Charters, Inc.
  • Keith Bolender, author, Voices From the Other Side: An Oral History of Terrorism Against Cuba; Cuba Under Siege: American Policy, the Revolution and Its People
  • Matt Meyer. War Resisters International; International Peace Research Association
  • Pam Africa, Suzanne Ross, International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal
  • Art Heitzer, Wisconsin Coalition to Normalize Relations with Cuba
  • Richard Berg, past President, Teamsters Local 743
  • Joe Iosbaker. Co-Chair, SEIU Local 73 Joint Bargaining Committee at UIC
  • Albert A. Fox, Jr., President, Alliance for Responsible Cuba Policy Foundation
  • Reese Erlich, author, Dateline Havana
  • Dan Beeton, CEPR
  • Arnold August, journalist, author, Cuba and its Neighbours: Democracy in Motion
  • Tom Hansen, International Education Director, Mexico Solidarity Network
  • Salim Lamrani, author, The Economic War Against Cuba
  • Hon. Jim Ferlo, President, Pittsburgh-Matanzas-Sister Cities Association(Former City Council President and PA State Senator 1988-2014, now retired)
  • Cherrene Horazuk, President, AFSCME 3800
  • John McAuliff, Executive Director, Fund for Reconciliation and Development; Coordinator, Cuba-US People to People Partnership
  • Rabbi Brant Rosen
  • Sara Flounders, Co-Director, International Action Center
  • Alejandro Molina, Michelle Morales, National Boricua Human Rights Network; Campaign to Free Oscar Lopez Rivera
  • New Internationalism Project of Institute for Policy Studies (IPS)
  • David Swanson, author,,
  • Stephen Kimber, journalist, author, What Lies Across the Water, The Real Story of the Cuban 5
  • Tiana Ocasio, President, Connecticut Chapter, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement
  • Walter Lippmann, CubaNews, Los Angeles
  • Delvis Fernandez Levy, Cuban American Alliance
  • Historians Against the War
  • Alex Main, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR)
  • Jane Franklin, Historian, Cuba and the United States, A Chronological History
  • David McReynolds, War Resisters League (retired)
  • Bill Preston, President. AFGE Local 17
  • National Lawyers Guild, Cuba Subcommittee
  • Alicia Jrapko, US Coordinator, International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity
  • Dan Kovalik, USW Associate General Counsel
  • Dave Welsh, Delegate, San Francisco Labor Council
  • Rev. Kristin Stoneking, Executive Director, Fellowship of Reconciliation
  • Blasé Bonpane, Office of the Americas
  • International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee
  • Task Force on the Americas
  • Cristina Vazquez,  International Vice President, Workers United WSRJB 52, SEIU
  • Fred Hirsch, Delegate to the South Bay Labor Council
  • José E. López, Executive Director, Puerto Rico Cultural Center
  • Leah Bolger, CDR, USN (Ret), former National President, Veterans For Peace
  • Council on Latin American Relations
  • Council on Hemispheric Affairs
  • Kevin Martin, Executive Director, Peace Action
  • James Early, Board member, Institute for Policy Studies, Regional Articulation of Afro- Descendants, Latin America and Caribbean
  • Cindy Sheehan, Author/Activist
  • Rev. Joan Brown Campbell, former General Secretary, National Council of Churches
  • Marjorie Cohn, past President, National Lawyers Guild; Prof., Thomas Jefferson School of Law
  • Eva Golinger, Journalist/writer, The Chavez Code; Bush vs Chavez
  • Chuck Kaufman, National Coordinator, Alliance for Global Justice
  • Carl Rosen, President of Western Region, United Electrical Workers (UE)
  • Tom Hayden
  • Glen Ford, Executive Editor, Black Agenda Report
  • IFCO/Pastors for Peace
  • Rev. Michael Kinnamon, former General Secretary, National Council of Churches
  • SOA Watch
  • Medea Benjamin, Co-founder, Code Pink
  • William H. Slavick, Prof.of English, U. of Southern Maine (retired)
  • Hermann Engelhardt, Senior Research Associate in Geophysics, Emeritus, California Institute of Technology
  • Ken Hayes SOAW-Austin, TX
  • Mary Ann Jones, Southern Oregon Friends of Cuba
  • Rob Kall, Publisher, OpEdNews 
  • Kim Scipes, Editor of Building Global Labor Solidarity in a Time of Accelerating Globalization
  • United States Palestinian Community Network (USPCN)
  • Carl Gentile, President and Director of Litigation, Labor Union Advocates
  • Margaret Randall, author, Haydée Santamaría, Cuban Revolutionary (most recent) 
  • Mavis Anderson, Latin America Working Group (LAWG)



(2) Hanson Daniel, Dayne Batten & Harrison Ealey. "It's Time For The U.S. To End Its Senseless Embargo Of Cuba," Forbes Magazine.
The US International Trade Commission makes a similar estimate:
“By 1992, U.S. businesses had lost over $30 billion in trade over the previous thirty years, according to researchers from Johns Hopkins. At that time, Cuba’s loss for the same period was smaller, but not by much: $28.6 billion, according to Cuba’s Institute of Economic Research.”
A study by the Cuba Policy Foundation estimated that the annual cost to the US economy could be  $4.84 billion in agricultural exports and related economic output."America's Farmers Bearing Heavy Burden for U.S. Embargo Against Cuba: New Report,", Jan. 28, 2002
Heavy Burden for U.S. Embargo Against Cuba: New Report,", Jan. 28, 2002

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Chicago ALBA Solidarity Committee

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