Reports on Cuba’s Travel & Migration Reforms

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Migration Policy Reform in Cuba by Salim Lamrani, ZNET

“On January 14, 2013, a new Cuban migration policy will come into for…” http://www.zcommunications.org/migration-policy-reform-in-cuba-by-salim-lamrani

More Migration Reform: Cuba Opens Door to Many Illegal Emigres, Defectors, by Anya Landau French, Director for the U.S.-Cuba Policy Initiative at the New America Foundation. based in Washington, D.C.]

“After issuing reforms to its migration law last week which will give most Cubans the right to freely travel abroad without getting permission first, the Cuban government has just announced it will allow tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of Cubans who left Cuba illegally in the last two decades to return to the island for visits.” http://thehavananote.com/node/1040

Easing of Restraints in Cuba Renews Debate on U.S. Embargo by Damien Cave, NYTimes 11/19/2012

“The problem: Washington’s 50-year-old trade embargo, which prohibits even the most basic business dealings across the 90 miles separating Cuba from the United States. Indeed, every time Mr. López’s friend in Florida accepts payment for a car part destined for Cuba, he puts himself at risk of a fine of up to $65,000.” http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/20/world/americas/changes-in-cuba-create-support-for-easing-embargo.html?ref=todayspaper@_r=0

Cuban Officials Clarify Key Aspects of Cuba Migration Policy

Along with aspects, such as the revocation of the travel permit and the invitation letter as previous requirements for Cubans to travel abroad, the officials addressed complex issues like the special treatment of directives and executives involved in vital activities, university and high school graduates carrying out key tasks, as well as first-level athletes. http://www.cubanews.ain.cu/2012/1025Migration-Policy.htm

“Act Now to Urge Obama to Secure the Freedom of Alan Gross & the Cuban Five, and to Review US PolicyTowards Cuba, After 50 Years of Failure

After over 50 years of US hostility towards Cuba, President Obama has the opportunity to change course. On November 6th, he broke the Republican stronghold and won half or more of the Cuban-American vote, even in Miami.

The latest obstacle raised against altering our Cuba policy is the case of Alan Gross, who has been held in Cuba for three years, on a 15 year sentence for his undercover contract work for a U.S. project to bring U.S. style democracy to Cuba, by trying to smuggle in communications technology which is not commercially available and can send messages that cannot be traced. U.S. media report that he lost 100 pounds, ignoring that before his arrest he was obese, weighing 300 pounds. They repeat suggestions that he has untreated cancer, ignoring the contrary findings by a Cuban medical team and verified by U.S. Medical Doctor and rabbi who just visited him.

As a lawyer, I was one of very few people allowed to visit Fernando Gonzalez during his long stay in the Federal Prison in Oxford, WI. As one of the Cuban 5, held in U.S. jails since 1998, he was assigned by Cuba to monitor Orlando Bosch, a career terrorist who operated freely in Miami. Bosch is most notoriously known for co-engineering the 1976 bombing of a Cuban civilian airplane, killing all 73 on board. But it is Fernando who is now serving his 15th year of imprisonment in the U.S., and the biggest crime he was charged with was working for Cuba without registering as a foreign agent.

Clearly Mr. Gross’s situation is equivalent in that respect, except that he worked as part of a U.S. program to undermine Cuba’s revolution, while the Cuban Five worked to prevent acts of terrorism plotted in South Florida. This was after Cuba complained that such terrorism has killed over 3,000 Cubans, and that the U.S. was not effectively enforcing our own laws against such violence. None of the Five had any classified U.S. information, so none were ever charged with espionage, although three of them were given life sentences in Miami for supposedly conspiring to do what they never actually did (spy on the U.S.). They are considered heroes in Cuba, and their’s is the only domestic U.S. case in our history which has been criticized as being lacking minimal requirements of fairness by both the U.N. and Amnesty International — in addition to some 10 Nobel Prize laureates, former President Jimmy Carter and a unanimous decision by the original 3 judge US court of appeals panel in their case.

Obama could resolve this issue by negotiating with Cuba, starting with a mutual release of these prisoners. Obama also has the opportunity – if not the responsibility — to work towards normalized relations with Cuba, restoring the right of US citizens to travel there, and for mutually beneficial trade. (After Hurricane Sandy tore through Cuba’s second largest city, causing what a UN observer called “the worst catastrophe in 50 years” there, it is still illegal for any U.S. supplier to sell any Cuban even a hammer or a bag of cement.) See additional info & actions at www.freethefive.org or www.thecuban5.org.

–Art Heitzer, Chair, National Lawyers Guild, Cuba Subcommittee

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US economic blockade against Cuba hits church assembly

from Christian Today, posted: Thursday, December 13, 2012, 18:03 (GMT)

The US blockade against Cuba has forced the Latin American Council of Churches to postpone its forthcoming General Assembly… the CLAI has now had to postpone the assembly after the US branch of the Ecuadorian bank Pichincha froze a deposit of $101,000 made by the CLAI headquarters in Quito, Ecuador. The transfer had been intended to cover the cost of food and lodging for the 400 delegates and other participants who had been due to attend the assembly….
The general secretary of the World Council of Churches, the Reverend Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, said it was “greatly disappointing” that the assembly has had to be postponed. “It is simply not acceptable that the US government through regulations of its banking system has decided to create these obstacles for a significant Christian body that cannot meet, whether it is in Cuba or elsewhere,” Dr Tveit said.
“The United States has an obligation and has repeatedly expressed the commitment to uphold religious freedom. This is a case where the US government could easily have helped to avoid this embarrassing situation but has failed.
“This also shows that the decades old economic blockade of Cuba is out of touch with the realities in the world today, particularly in the faith-based communities, and should be ended for the sake of justice and peace.”
“The United States has an obligation and has repeatedly expressed the commitment to uphold religious freedom. This is a case where the US government could easily have helped to avoid this embarrassing situation but has failed.
[For the full article, click on http://www.christiantoday.com/articledir/print.htm?id=31249]

Past Events:


Peace Action Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Coalition to Normalize Relations with Cuba are teaming up to bring you: Urban Agriculture in Venezuela and Cuba!

Peace Action Program Director Mike Helbick and WI Cuba Coalition Chair Art Heitzer will present flms and engage the audience in conversations about how class, poverty, and development efforts effect Cuban and Venezuelan urban agriculture strategies.

The event will be held at 7pm at the Urban Ecology Center at Riverside Park, 1500 E. Park Place, Milwaukee.

and don’t forget about our event on Tuesday, July 9 at 7pm. “Havana: The History of our Hemisphere’s Most Unique City.”  Scroll down for more information.

Havana: The History of Our Hemisphere’s Most Unique City

To download the full flyer for the July 9 Event, click here! Havana flyer draft [3] (1)
Havana Tuesday July 9 pic
Dr. Michael Martin, who recently lead a UWM architectural study group to Cuba, and teaches at UWM School of Architecture and Urban Planning, will give a presentation on “Havana: The History of Our Hemisphere’s Most Unique City” at 7pm at the Central United Methodist Church, 639 N. 25th St., Milwaukee. The program is open to public and free of charge.Havana is one of the oldest and most diverse cities in the world. It has a long history that is linked to its economy and its people, from the Spanish, Africans, North Americans and Soviets. This lecture will span the history of Havana from its origins in Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage site, to modern examples of state-of-the-art urban agriculture and community-based development. According to Dr. Martin, “Havana is the quintessential example of Spanish colonialism and Latin American urbanism, but with its own unique twist.”Dr. Martin is a lecturer in UWM’s Center for Latin American and Carribean Studies and an adjunct professor in the School of Architecture and Urban Planning (SARUP). He has a Ph. D. in Urban Studies and has several published works in Latino Studies. Most recently, he lead a study abroad to Havana for urban planning and architecture students at UWM, as well as UWM faculty.This event is part of a Pastors for Peace Cuba Caravan Education week, with events taking place around the nation. Milwaukeeans have supported the Pastors for Peace Friendshipment annually for many years, which is an effort to provide humanitarian aid and to challenge the 50 year old U.S. economic blockade against Cuba. The restructured caravan this year will visit Santiago de Cuba, which was badly hit by Hurricane Sandy, while the US government still prohibits anyone in Cuba from buying even a hammer or a saw from any U.S. supplier.For more information, contact the Wisconsin Coalition to Normalize Relations with Cuba (414) 273-1040, http://www.wicuba.org, email: contact@wicuba.org, or Pastors for Peace (www.pastorsforpeace.org).Opening Reception Friday April 5, 2013 from 6pm to 10pm at Calles Y Suenos, 1900 S. Carpenter, Chicago, IL 60608

Click the flyers to view and download them:

Antonio frontside final 2013-3-25

Antonio schedule final 2013-3-25

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