(December 19, 2014, Los Angeles) – As President Obama announces a major shift in U.S.-Cuba relations, CARECEN welcomes what in his words is “a new approach." We believe normalization of this long-fraught relationship can signal a new diplomacy in the region, and will shift the dialogue back to the real interests of both countries.
President Obama has noted that the policy of isolation that the United States pursued for more than fifty years failed to advance U.S. interests and harmed ordinary Cubans. These first steps perhaps forecast a more candid dialogue about strengthening relations between the people of the U.S. and Cuba.
However, this is only a beginning, and the President cannot do it alone. The other part of this harmful policy, a five-decade-long trade embargo that never achieved its goals, remains in place and enshrined in U.S. law. We hope that, as the president said, this opening can begin an honest debate about how to engage fairly and freely with Cuba. As with immigration reform, the impetus for lasting change remains with the Congress, and a bipartisan spirit is required to forge a new way forward. We hope the Congress takes up this opportunity.
The President has said that we should not "continue doing the same thing over a period of five decades and expect a different result." Indeed, as with immigration reform, today’s geopolitical realities require creative new ideas, not blind adherence to bankrupt methods.
President's Obama’s inspiring words that we should be "pursuing the world as it should be instead of settling for the world as it is" give us hope that sensible relations among Western Hemisphere countries can finally put to rest old hatreds and recommit us all to address current, urgent problems.
CARECEN has worked for 31 years to protect the rights and dignity of Central American and Latino immigrants in Southern California. Since its founding in 1983, when thousands of Central Americans were fleeing the brutality of civil war, CARECEN has worked to change unjust immigration policies, win legal status for immigrants, and foster community activism on issues such as education reform, workers and immigrant rights, economic justice and community strengthening.