Cuba Commission Report “More of the Same”

Monday, 10 July 2006
“At this moment, when Cuba is on the cusp of change, the response of the Administration is to advocate more of the same policies,” said USA*Engage Director Jake Colvin. “There is a real opportunity here for the Administration to change U.S. policy in a way that would benefit the people of Cuba and promote American values.  Unfortunately, this report is nothing new.”

 “It is disappointing that, while the report focuses a great deal on ways to break the information blockade, it ignores the most obvious and productive solution – engagement,” continued Colvin.  “The best thing the United States could do to break the information blockade is to send planes full of U.S. educators, religious workers, tourists and businessmen to Cuba.”

USA*Engage appreciates the report’s call for increased funding for education and exchanges.  For such exchanges to truly be effective, however, the Administration must reverse the restrictions on educational travel imposed after the 2004 Cuba Commission report, a change that the report implicitly rejects by endorsing the “solid foundation” of the previous effort.

“In the end, the Administration has once again missed an opportunity,” said USA*Engage Co-Chair William A. Reinsch.  “While the Commission’s report sets admirable goals, the strategy to achieve them is deeply flawed.”

Reinsch concluded, “The simple and transparent way forward is to allow free trade, travel and humanitarian exchanges.  By doing so, not only will we promote freedom and democracy, but we can also put to better use the enormous talents of the 100 participants across numerous departments and agencies that contributed to this report.  When our country is confronted by issues of such tremendous importance, from terrorism to high energy prices, we should reevaluate the effort we put into containing a nonexistent Cold War-era threat.”

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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.