Fairfield University professor says President Obama's policy change on Cuba is good for Cuban Americans but more needs to be done


Media Advisory

Joy Gordon, Ph.D. J.D., an expert in economic sanctions who has traveled frequently to Cuba, says President Obama's policy change on Cuba will have a dramatic and positive effect on Cuban Americans, but needs to be accompanied by the total lifting of travel restrictions and the end of the embargo interfering in Cuba's trade. Dr. Gordon is professor of philosophy at Fairfield University.

Her main points:

1. Restrictions on travel imposed by President Bush in 2004 have been lifted. Under the 2004 ban, the definition of "family" was narrowed and their travel to Cuba was limited to every three years instead of every year. This was especially hard for elderly relatives and the sick who hoped to see a loved one before they died. Academic travel was also severely restricted by the 2004 regulations, as a result of which Fairfield University's Latin American Studies Program was forced to cancel one of its courses.

2. A strict policy on remittances that limited families to sending $1200 per year and limited packages of personal goods has also been lifted, which Dr. Gordon said will help not only the relatives of Cuban Americans but the Cuban economy as well.

3. U.S. telecommunications companies will now be permitted to negotiate new telecommunications services, including cell phones, radio, and television, improving all communications between Americans and Cubans.

Dr. Gordon said, "Enormous harm has been done by the U.S. embargo. While some of these measures can be lifted by executive order, the most damaging of them - interfering in Cuba's trade with third countries - will have to be removed by Congress." She said that under continuing U.S. policy, restrictions - with the threat of punishment - are imposed on our trading partners around the world. Each year condemnation of the U.S. policy has increased in the UN General Assembly with last year's vote reaching 185-3 - out of 192 nations in the UN - to condemn the U.S. action.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on April 14, 2009

Vol. 41, No. 302