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Date: Wed, 28 Jul 1999 15:02:10 -0700 (PDT)
From: TransAfrica Forum <transforum@igc.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.SUN.3.91.990728043224.22532A-100000@igc.apc.org>
Sender: owner-brc-news@igc.org
Subject: [BRC-NEWS] Report on TransAfrica Delegation to Cuba
To: brc-news@igc.org

Report on the delegation that visited Cuba from January 2-6, 1999

Full Report: http://www.igc.org/transafrica/cuba/cuba_report.html


TransAfrica Forum
1744 R St., NW
Washington, DC 20009
phone: 202.797.2301
fax: 202.797.2382
email: transforum@igc.org


In January of this year, the fortieth anniversary of the Cuban revolution, TransAfrica Forum led a fifteen-member delegation to Havana, Cuba. This trip was part of TransAfrica Forum's mandate to assess, publicly discuss, and change, where appropriate, the impact of U.S. foreign policies on the countries of Africa and the Caribbean.

The delegation comprised prominent Americans from academia, publishing, labor, medicine, the entertainment industry, and the human rights community (please see appendix for details on delegation members). We met with the highest-ranking Cuban government officials at both the local and national levels, and held extensive, but separate discussions with Ricardo Alarcon, President of Cuba's National Assembly, and President Fidel Castro. The delegation also met with leaders of private and non- governmental organizations. All of our meetings were characterized by extensive dialogue on a wide range of issues, including U.S.-Cuban relations, gender, race, health care, education, economics and religion.

Despite 38 years of dedicated enforcement, the comprehensive U.S. economic embargo on Cuba, in an attempt to topple the government of Fidel Castro, has been a failure. U.S. attempts to isolate Cuba have been further stiffened by more recent legislative initiatives including the Cuban Democracy Act of 1992, and the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act (the so-called Helms/Burton Act) in 1996.

However, to date the United States stands alone in the imposition of sanctions against Cuba, insisting that its sanctions will aid in securing "democracy and human rights" for the Cuban people.

The TransAfrica delegation observed firsthand that the embargo has had manifold and devastating impacts on the health, education, and income of the Cuban population. Tragically, the impact of the US embargo has affected most acutely Afro-Cubans, women, children, and the poor.

During our visit to Cuba, the Clinton administration announced certain limited "reforms." However, these measures fail to adequately address the broad-based human costs of the 38-year embargo, and fall far short of the complete overhaul of U.S.-Cuban policy that its almost 40 years of enforcement warrants.

The following report reflects the observations and recommendations of the members of the delegation, both as one entity, as well as in their individual capacities. Forty Years of Hostility explores the multi-faceted impact of the embargo-linked trials of Cuban men, women and children. It also highlights ways in which the lifting of this embargo -- a clearly ineffectual mechanism for toppling Fidel Castro -- would end a forty-year assault on the Cuban people in general, and Afro-Cubans, women and children in particular.

Randall Robinson
President, TransAfrica Forum

Copyright (c) 1999 TransAfrica Forum

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