Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Center For International Policy Takes Issue With Bush Administration on Cuba-Press Conference Planned

The Center for International Policy, with the participation of the Latin American Working Group, the Washington Office on Latin America, Church World Service and the National Council of the Churches of Christ, invites media to a press conference to discuss the counterproductive nature of the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba, which is based on the assumption that the Castro regime is on its last legs and that the U.S. will play a role in overseeing Cuba's transition to democracy in the post-Castro period.

The Commission will shortly be coming forward with new recommendations, which are likely to be as unrealistic as the earlier ones, adopted by President Bush in May 2004. Instead of positing helpful exchanges, the previous recommendations accomplished only the severe limitation of travel by Cuban- Americans, thus causing further suffering to Cuban families; the cut back on travel in general, including the travel of religious groups to and from Cuba; and the virtual elimination of academic exchanges. Yet, in earlier cases (say, in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe), the U.S. had felt that such people-to-people contacts were an important means of communicating the message of American democracy. It is especially difficult to understand why contacts with religious groups have been restricted.

Meanwhile, while the U.S. is working unilaterally to isolate the island, Cuba has new economic partners in Venezuela and China and possibly a large new oil field off its north coast. Cuba is far from isolated and there are no indications that the Cuban economy is on the verge of collapse.

WHEN: May 25, 9 a.m. through 11 a.m.

WHERE: The Murrow Room of the National Press Club, 529 14th St., N.W., 13th Floor, Washington, D.C.


-- Wayne S. Smith, of the Center for International Policy

-- Mavis Anderson, of the Latin American Working Group

-- Joy Olson, of the Washington Office on Latin America

-- Rick Augsburger, deputy director of programs, Church World Service

-- Rev. Brenda Girton-Mitchell, associate general secretary for justice and advocacy, National Council of Churches of Christ

R.S.V.P.: Cubaintern@ciponline.org


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