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USA*Engage Calls for “new playbook” for Cuba Policy in the post-Fidel Era
Date: 2/24/2008

Business coalition says Cuba a “natural market,” calls sanctions a “flat out” failure

Washington, DC – Today, USA*Engage director Jake Colvin released the following statement in response to the announcement that Raul Castro is the new president of Cuba. The coalition today also announced the release of a new fact-sheet, “U.S. government agency reports show Cuba policy harms American interests,” available at
“For nearly 50 years, the U.S. has been too hung up on Fidel Castro to allow for any realistic assessment of our policies.  Now that Fidel is no longer at the helm, it is time to get over the Cold War and get serious about an approach to Cuba that aligns our policies with our interests.
“Our Cold War strategy of isolating Cuba has failed to evolve and is at odds with America’s political and economic engagement of countries like Vietnam and China. Americans are incredible ambassadors of freedom and opportunity to the world.  U.S. policies should facilitate contact with the Cuban people instead of prohibiting it at every turn.
“Unilateral sanctions rarely achieve their objectives.  In the case of Cuba, sanctions have flat out failed for close to 50 years.  They divert resources from fighting terrorism, hurt American businesses, and separate the American and Cuban people.  Cuba is a natural market for American companies, and the business community wants to see change.
“While Washington is officially resigned to take a wait-and-see approach, today’s announcement should prompt a dispassionate look at how to treat Cuba in the post-Fidel era. Instead of maintaining this outdated Cold War facade, the president and his potential successors should give serious thought to a new playbook for Cuba policy.”  

USA*Engage ( is a coalition of 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. Established in 1997 and organized under the National Foreign Trade Council (, USA*Engage leads a campaign to inform policy-makers, opinion-leaders, and the public about the counterproductive nature of unilateral sanctions, the importance of exports and overseas investment for American competitiveness and jobs, and the role of American companies in promoting human rights and democracy world wide.

The National Foreign Trade Council ( is a leading business organization advocating an open, rules-based global trading system. Founded in 1914 by a broad-based group of American companies, the NFTC now serves hundreds of member companies through its offices in Washington and New York.