John McAuliff 0

Cuba Policy of Presidential Candidates

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Dear Senators Obama and McCain, We applaud your pledge, Senator Obama, to permit unrestricted Cuban American family travel and remittances and to hold bilateral negotiations without preconditions. We are dismayed Senator McCain, that your statements on Cuba echo and prolong the counterproductive and anti-family policies of President Bush. We ask each of you to pay less attention to the declining minority of a special interest group in Florida and more to the two-thirds of Americans who favor normal relations with Cuba and freedom of travel. Current US travel policy encourages disrespect for the law and isolates our country. Significant change will be warmly welcomed in our own hemisphere and by traditional allies The US and Cuba should both honor international human rights principles by ending illegitimate restrictions on travel of their own citizens and by providing normal visa entry to the other


This is a personal project of John McAuliff, not on behalf of any organization or political campaign. McAuliff was active in the civil rights and anti- war movements and served in the Peace Corps in Peru and as President of the Committee of Returned Volunteers. He founded and directs the Fund for Reconciliation and Development: He worked with the American Friends Service Committee and FfRD for 30 years to achieve normalization of US post-war relations with Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. His involvement with Cuba began in the 1960s and was renewed a decade ago. [Please forward this petition as widely as possible.]


Notes [Paragraph 3] Although a diminishing minority in their own community, old guard Cuban American exiles exert disproportionate influence, undermining US values as well as strategic and economic interests, through nationally distributed campaign contributions and political influence in a swing state. Polls during the past five years show 55% of Cuban Americans support unrestricted travel and 67% of all Americans favor normalization of relations and the end of constraints on travel. [Para 4] The General Accounting Office reports an estimate that already at least 120,000 Americans travel annually to Cuba through third countries without US government licenses, and says that groups committing public civil disobedience pose difficult enforcement problems. pp 31, 54, 56 The US is seen as at best short sighted regarding how to actually influence change in Cuba or at worst arrogant and misguided by its past role of regional dominance. The UN General Assembly votes every year against the unilateral US embargo, most recently 184-4. [Para 5] The Constitutional right to travel is denied to Americans only in the case of Cuba. Many Cubans object to being required to obtain exit permits to leave their country. Cuba provides entry visas to virtually all Americans. The US almost never grants visitor visas to Cubans but encourages trafficking of illegal immigrants through the Cuban Adjustment Act and a wet foot / dry foot policy. [Please forward this petition as widely as possible.]

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