May 15, 2002
|Contact:|| Eric Thomas
Washington, D.C. - USA*Engage hails former President Jimmy Carter's unprecedented speech on Cuban state radio and television urging Cuba to "join the community of democracies" and calling on the U.S. to "take the first step" by lifting the 40 year old embargo on Cuba.
"Former President Carter is right on target. It is time for us to change our relationship with Cuba. In all these years the embargo has failed to bring about any change in Cuba. It has only succeeded in providing Castro with a blanket excuse for his failed policies," said Don Deline, Chairman of USA*Engage. "Expanding private non-governmental contacts with the Cuban people is the most powerful means the United Sates has at its disposal for influencing Cuba."
The radio and television address was the centerpiece of the former president's five-day visit to Cuba, the first visit by a current or former U.S. president since 1928.
"A policy of engagement holds far greater promise of sparking change in Cuba than our unsuccessful efforts to isolate Cuba. Increased people-to-people contact through lifting the travel ban and through trade will be much more effective in bringing about change." said Bill Reinsch, President of the National Foreign Trade Council and Vice-Chairman of USA*Engage. "Economic engagement will not only provide opportunities for American businesses and workers, but will increase pressures for change in Cuba. Former President Carter's visit to Cuba has created an opening which Congress and the Administration pursue."USA*ENGAGE is a coalition of over 670 small and large businesses, agriculture groups and trade associations working to seek alternatives to the proliferation of unilateral U.S. foreign policy sanctions and to promote the benefits of U.S. engagement abroad. For more information on USA*ENGAGE and the harmful effects of unilateral trade sanctions, visit the USA*ENGAGE web site at www.usaengage.org.
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