MESSAGE TO OBAMA: PRIORITIZE DEMOCRATIC CHANGE IN CUBA, DO NOT BAILOUT ITS BANKRUPT REGIME

Tuesday, March 31, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 31st, 2009

Contact: Mauricio Claver-Carone, 240-441-8345

MESSAGE TO OBAMA: PRIORITIZE DEMOCRATIC CHANGE IN CUBA, DO NOT BAILOUT ITS BANKRUPT REGIME
New Report Urges Administration to Adopt a “Bottom-to-Top” Approach To Cuba Policy

Washington, D.C. — As the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business interests seek ties to Cuba’s regime, the Obama Administration should focus on pursuing a “bottom-to-top” approach towards Cuba policy, emphasizing support for the island’s pro-democracy movement and civil society.
“From Eastern Europe to South Africa, all successful transitions to democracy have resulted from ‘bottom-to-top’ change. In fact, even within established democracies, ‘bottom-to-top’ change has been positively embraced by electorates,” said Mauricio Claver-Carone, Executive Director of Cuba Democracy Public Advocacy, Corp.

The new report released by Cuba Democracy Public Advocacy, Corp., which includes a summary compilation of “Do’s and Don’ts of U.S. Policy Towards Cuba,” highlights the tools available under current U.S. law for the support of Cuba’s pro-democracy movement and civil society, ranging from the use of technology to humanitarian relief. It stands in contrast to reports issued last month by U.S. Senator Richard Lugar’s (R-IN) Latin America Staff Member and the Brookings Institution, which favor a “top-down” approach of unilateral engagement with the Cuban dictatorship.

The report also comes on the heels of the recent purging by Fidel and Raul Castro of 10 senior officials and Cabinet Ministers, including some popularly considered to have been “reformers” by foreign governments and policy observers, and stresses the importance of not relying on Raul Castro and his regime as being pragmatic reformers.

“In places where the U.S. has bet on “top-down” change, such as the former Soviet Union, Vietnam and China, the result has been a new breed of authoritarianism and continued repression. Our friends, families and neighbors 90-miles away deserve better,” added Claver-Carone.

Last February, Cuba Democracy Public Advocacy, Corp., commissioned a poll by McLaughlin and Associates, which found that amongst Cuban-Americans, 72% support the continuation of the current U.S. trade embargo and 69% support the prohibition of tourist travel to the island.

Cuba Democracy Public Advocacy, Corp. is a Washington, D.C.-based independent, non-partisan institution dedicated to the promotion of a transition in Cuba towards democracy, the respect for human rights, and the rule of law.

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