U.S.-Cuban Relations in the 21st Century
Sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations
Bernard W. Aronson and William D. Rogers
* Uncorrected Proof *
Summary and Framework of Recommendations
Additional and Dissenting Views By Members
Additional and Dissenting Views By Observers
Task Force Members
Task Force Observers
In 1998 the Council on Foreign Relations sponsored
an Independent Task Force on U.S.-Cuban
Relations in the 21st Century. Chaired by two former assistant secretaries of state for inter-American
affairs, Bernard W. Aronson and William D. Rogers, the Task Force made recommendations for U.S.
policy toward Cuba in light of the end of the Cold War and the inevitable transition to come on the island.
Immediately after the Task Force completed its deliberations, the Clinton administration adopted a
number of policy measures recommended by the Task Force, in particular those that would increase
people-to-people contacts between Americans and Cubans.
After publishing the first report, I asked
the co-chairs to continue the Task Force on a stand-by basis and
invited several new members to join. The Task Force convened on several occasions over the ensuing
two years to review developments in bilateral relations and on the ground in Cuba. The Task Force now
includes widely respected scholars, lawyers, businesspeople, labor leaders, and former government
officials representing a broad range of views and backgrounds. A number of congressional, State
Department, and White House staff members participated in Task Force meetings as observers. In
addition, under William Rogers' leadership, the Task Force staff conducted research and consulted with a
group of experts to review property expropriations in comparative perspective and to consider
alternatives for property-claims settlement in the Cuban context.
At the same time, the policy community, the
Congress, and the public have been engaged in an evolving
debate over the appropriate course for beginning engagement with the Cuban people and preparing for
and facilitating a peaceful transition on the island. This debate has focused largely on agricultural and
medical exports and on American travel to Cuba. In July 2000 the House and Senate voted to end
sanctions on food and medical sales to Cuba. The House also voted in favor of a measure that would, in
effect, end the travel ban. But the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act passed by
Congress and signed by the president contains prohibitions that, by barring U.S. commercial financing, will
virtually proscribe food sales to Cuba. And by codifying travel regulations, the new law stands to dampen
the possibility for the executive branch to expand people-to-people initiatives, if the next president so
For the purposes of considering the new chairmen's
report, the Task Force met on two occasions in fall of
2000. In addition to the members of the Task Force and the listed observers, the Task Force sought
comments and input from a wide variety of individuals, holding meetings in Minneapolis, Miami, and
Houston. As in the endeavor that produced the first report, the Task Force continued to explore
pragmatic policy measures toward Cuba based on the conditions shaping the bilateral relationship,
domestic Cuban developments, and the evolving debate in the United States. In the first report, most of
the recommendations called for presidential action rather than new legislation. The Task Force continues
to recognize that, despite recent changes in the law, the president retains broad authority to modify policy
toward Cuba. But in light of recent congressional engagement, many of the recommendations in this
follow-on report can be implemented either by the Executive branch or through legislative change. In both
cases, the Task Force favors a bipartisan policy toward Cuba, and moreover, demonstrates that such an
approach is indeed possible.
In this follow-on report, the Task Force again
demonstrates that the U.S. government can take many
useful steps short of lifting economic sanctions and restoring diplomatic relations. Indeed, this report
moves beyond recent congressional action in several important respects, by recommending, for example:
selling agricultural and medical products with commercial U.S. financing, though not government credits;
travel to Cuba by all Americans; direct commercial flights and ferry services; environmental and
conservation cooperation; continued counternarcotics cooperation and low and mid-level exchanges
between the United States and Cuban military; working with Cuba to support the Colombian peace
process; limited American investment to support the Cuban private sector and to capture the market
generated by increased American travel to Cuba; actively promoting international labor standards in
Cuba; resolving expropriation claims by licensing American claimants to negotiate settlements directly with
Cuba, including in the form of direct joint venture investments; and supporting Cuban observer status in
the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank.
I would like to extend my thanks again to Bernard
Aronson and William Rogers, the co-chairs of the Task
Force, for their commitment and leadership; to Julia Sweig and Walter Mead, the co-project directors for
their excellent work; and to Council members and others around the country for their input and
perspective. Finally, the Task Force members themselves deserve my sincere thanks for lending their time,
intelligence, and integrity to this important issue.
Leslie H. Gelb
Council on Foreign Relations
The Independent Task Force on U.S.-Cuban Relations
in the 21st Century sponsored by the Council on
Foreign Relations has benefited from the assistance of many individuals. For two years now, we have
worked under the intellectual leadership provided by the Task Force co-chairs, Bernard W. Aronson and
William D. Rogers. We are also indebted to the members and observers of the Task Force, whose
experience and knowledge contributed substantially to the success of this report.
The Task Force also benefited from discussions
held through the Council's National Program with the
James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy of Rice University in Houston, the Dante B. Fascell
North-South Center at the University of Miami, and the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs of
the University of Minnesota. Many of the comments we received in these sessions helped shaped the final
report, and we are grateful for the candor and wisdom we found outside of our habitual Washington-New
At the Council on Foreign Relations we would
like to acknowledge the support for the Task Force
provided by the Council's President, Leslie H. Gelb, Senior Vice President Mike Peters, Vice President
Jan Murray, Director of Publishing Patricia Dorff, Communications Director April Palmerlee, and National
Programs Deputy Director Irina Faskianos. Our colleagues on the Task Force staff, specifically Research
Associate Jessica Duda and Program Associate Meghan Bishop, provided expert research and
administrative support without which this report could not have been produced.
Finally, we are grateful to the John D. &
Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the General Services
Foundation, and the Christopher Reynolds Foundation for the financial support each provided for the
work of this Task Force.
Council on Foreign Relations
In the last quarter of 1998, following the
visit to Cuba of Pope John Paul II, the Council on Foreign
Relations convened an Independent Task Force to assess U.S. policy toward Cuba in the post-Cold War
era. The Task Force represents a bipartisan group of former State Department officials, congressional
staff, labor leaders, and students of Latin American affairs and U.S. foreign policy from a cross-section of
think tanks, academic and religious institutions, businesses, trade unions, and government agencies. In a
chairmen’s report issued in January 1999, the Task Force recommended a number of steps to strengthen
civil society in Cuba, expand people-to-people contact between Cubans and Americans, and "contribute
to rapid, peaceful, democratic transition in Cuba while safeguarding the vital interests of the United
Three key assumptions guided the Task Force
in its efforts to develop a bipartisan consensus, spanning
the liberal-conservative spectrum, for changes in U.S. policy toward Cuba. First, we agreed that the
United States should set its sights beyond President Fidel Castro and focus on how to build bridges
between the American and Cuban people. Second, we determined not to recreate the continuing public
debate over whether to tighten or lift the embargo. Instead, with rare exceptions, we have proposed new
policy measures that could be implemented within the framework of current law through regulations
authorized by the president. Finally, we determined that no change in policy should have the primary effect
of consolidating, or appearing to legitimize, the political status quo on the island.
Our first set of recommendations therefore
focused on family reunification, people-to-people contacts,
humanitarian aid, the private sector, and the national interest. Among the measures we proposed were to:
lift restrictions on travel by Cuban Americans to Cuba and on the amount of remittances family members
can send to the island; allow Cuban Americans to claim tax exemptions for dependents living in Cuba; lift
most restrictions on the sale of food and medicine to Cuba; allow increased travel to Cuba for research,
scientific, cultural, religious, educational, humanitarian, and athletic purposes, as well as commercial flights;
ease restrictions on travel to the United States by Cuban academics, artists, athletes, and mid-level
officials; open limited American commercial activity on the island; probe areas for counternarcotics
cooperation; and consider military-to-military confidence-building measures. 
SUBSEQUENT POLICY CHANGES
Shortly after we concluded our work, the Clinton
administration announced a series of measures which,
though more limited in scope than those we had urged, were consistent with the spirit of our
recommendations and, in the case of people-to-people exchanges, adopted certain of the Task Force’s
recommendations. In making these announcements, the White House noted that a number of additional
measures contained in our report would remain under active consideration for future implementation.
The most significant of the administration’s
January 1999 steps were designed to allow greater
people-to-people contact. These included substantially expanding legal, licensed travel for Americans
wishing to visit the island, streamlining the temporary visa process for Cuban professionals who wish to
visit this country, and allowing charter flights to Cuba to depart from Los Angeles and New York as well
as Miami, to Havana and other cities in Cuba. Other measures proposed by the Clinton administration
would begin direct mail service between the two countries as authorized by the 1992 Cuban Democracy
Act, increase funding for Radio and TV Martí, and use public diplomacy to call attention to human rights
In light of a broader congressional debate
over sanctions policy, particularly regarding food and medicine
trade bans, the Clinton administration indicated it would streamline the licensing of medical sales to Cuba
and license the sale of food and agricultural inputs to non-governmental entities on the island.
In addition, the administration proposed to
Cuba a series of steps designed to enhance counternarcotics
cooperation. Direct bilateral talks in 1999 resulted in the stationing of a U.S. Coast Guard official this year
at the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, as a liaison with respect to searching vessels for contraband. The
two countries also upgraded their communications regarding counternarcotics from fax to phone.
In addition to these measures that echoed our
earlier report’s proposals, this year the U.S. Department of
State has announced that it found no evidence to support including Cuba on the annually updated "majors
list" of countries that the U.S. government determines are involved in illicit drug production and transit, and
are therefore eligible for U.S. government assistance only if certified by the president.
AN OPPORTUNITY FOR A FOLLOW-ON REPORT
Since early 1999, congressional and public
debate over U.S. policy toward Cuba has continued to
evolve, suggesting that the desire within our Task Force to reach a new bipartisan consensus on Cuba
policy is shared by the wider community.
In March 2000, Senate Foreign Relations Committee
chairman Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) worked with GOP
colleagues to include in an authorizations bill an amendment ending sanctions on the sale of food and
medicine to Cuba. This bill passed by voice vote in the full committee. Similar votes in the Senate and
House followed last summer, as well as a vote in the House to lift—or, more precisely, not to
enforce—the travel ban. Simultaneously, the congressional vote in favor of Permanent Normal Trade
Relations (PNTR) for China helped strengthen the consensus for engagement as opposed to isolation as
the primary policy option for promoting economic and political freedom.
In addition, the new people-to-people measures
successfully facilitated bridge-building across a broad
spectrum including the humanitarian, religious, cultural, athletic, academic, public health, environmental,
and scientific arenas. In 1999 an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 Americans traveled to Cuba, up from
fewer than 40,000 in 1998. Likewise, the number of Cubans visiting the United States on temporary visas
increased substantially—to 40,000 in 1999 from 9,000 in 1998. The year 2000 will record even higher
numbers of two-way travel.
None of this, however, has led to a loosening
of Cuban policy toward dissidents or improvements in
human rights. Cuba remains a one-party state that seeks to suppress any independent political activity.
The Cuban National Assembly in 1999 passed laws criminalizing the transmission to foreigners of
economic and foreign investment information related to the enforcement of Helms-Burton, and Cuban
intellectuals experience intensified pressures for conformity. Although international human rights groups
and activists on the ground in Cuba report a reduced number of political prisoners—300 to 350—they
also note that extended jail-time is now reserved for high-profile dissidents, while lesser-known activists
face harassment, house arrest, or temporary detentions. The government has failed to make good on its
promise of allowing greater freedom for the Catholic Church. Both dissident activity and repression of
dissident activity continue.  Periodic expulsions of journalists and others who attempt to support the
dissident movement in Cuba continue. And, the Inter-American Press Association recently noted that
"faced with harassment and persecution, more than 20 independent journalists have been forced to go into
exile over the past six months," and condemned, "Havana’s totalitarian regime." 
Nevertheless, we have been heartened by the
fact that the international community has begun to focus
greater attention on the condition of human rights on the island and on the importance of promoting a
peaceful democratic transition and defending human rights in Cuba. When King Juan Carlos II of Spain
joined Spanish prime minister José María Aznar and such Latin American heads of state as Mexican
President Ernesto Zedillo at the November 1999 Ibero-American Summit in Havana, they and other Latin
American heads of state pointedly sought meetings with prominent dissidents, including veteran human
rights activists Elizardo Sánchez and Gustavo Arcos and independent journalist Raúl Rivero. These
leaders also spoke publicly and critically about the lack of democracy in Cuba.
Moreover, in April 2000 at the United Nations
Human Rights Commission meeting in Geneva, several
Latin American and European countries that each year previously had voted against the U.S. embargo at
the U.N. General Assembly, either voted for or abstained from a resolution condemning human rights
practices in Cuba, which passed by a vote of 21 to 18 with 14 abstentions.  The vote prompted Cuba
to withdraw its application for membership in the post-Lomé accord for trade with the European Union
and to opt instead for bilateral aid relationships.
In light of these developments and the change
in the U.S. administration, the Task Force decided to issue
a follow-on report. We do so because we continue to believe that with regards to U.S. policy toward
Cuba, we are in a new era and a new environment that requires the United States to rethink its policy
toward Cuba. We say this for a number of reasons.
The Cold War has ended. The Soviet Union, once
Cuba’s chief military, economic, and ideological
supporter, has disappeared. The east European nations once under Soviet domination with which Cuba
had close supportive relations are now among the most forthright critics of Cuba’s suppression of human
rights. In nations throughout the Western Hemisphere, the democratic ideal has triumphed. Despite
continued challenges and setbacks, electoral democracy is widely considered to be the only legitimate
form of government in the Western Hemisphere and no serious observer believes the Cuban political
model represents the wave of the future. Although authoritarian tendencies and flawed elections continue
to challenge the Americas, Cuba remains isolated as the only nation in the Western Hemisphere in which
the head of state rules without having been subject to competitive elections.
On the economic front as well, the closed,
statist economic model has collapsed in nation after nation. The
future clearly belongs to open economies that can integrate with global finance, trade, and investment.
Although there is a vigorous debate in the Western Hemisphere and worldwide about the best way to
marry open markets with economic equity, no serious observer believes that the closed economic model
represented by Cuba will survive. Indeed, the loss of Soviet bloc subsidies and the pressures of the global
marketplace have forced Cuba to legalize the dollar, seek joint ventures with foreign partners, accept
labor dislocation in its domestic economy, and allow private economic activity to begin.
Echoing our first report, the primary and overriding
objective of the United States—containing the spread
of Cuban communism in this hemisphere—has been achieved. We believe that whatever shape it may
take, Castro-style communism will not long survive the post-Castro era in Cuba. Indeed, we believe that
many Cubans, including many who may hold official positions, understand that a transition to a democratic
and free-market Cuba is inevitable.
For all these reasons, we therefore continue
to believe that the United States can discuss policy toward
Cuba with confidence and from a position of strength. Although Cuba’s official rhetoric remains
antithetical to American values, we note that in a 1998 report cleared by the entire U.S. intelligence
community, the Defense Intelligence Agency concluded that "at present, Cuba does not pose a significant
military threat to the United States or to other countries in the region."  We note, also, that whether
from conviction or from necessity imposed by the loss of military and economic assistance from the former
Soviet Union, Cuba has publicly renounced its former policy of material support for violent revolutionary
movements. We are heartened by the east Europeans’ success in replacing communist dictatorships with
democratic societies and note the important role that civil society played in these successful transitions.
While we recognize that Cuba is in many respects different from these east European examples and that
civil society remains effectively repressed and suppressed, we continue to believe that engagement with
ordinary Cubans, and also with those mid-level officials who recognize that a transition is coming, can help
promote the emergence of civil society and a more rapid, peaceful transition to democracy on the island.
We are aware, however, that in the past, political
instability in Cuba has repeatedly created pressures for
U.S. intervention on and around the island. Many future scenarios could unleash these types of pressures
on the United States. Should a successor government emerge in the wake of Fidel Castro’s death or
incapacity, for example, it is unlikely to command the same authority as the current government. Indeed,
such a government might feel the need to demonstrate its control early in its tenure at the same time as
Cuban citizens might be tempted to test its perceived weakness.
There are many possible future scenarios that
could lead to pressures for the United States to intervene
militarily. Thousands of Cubans might seek to flee the island and a successor regime might use force to try
to stop them. Also, civil unrest could break out for a variety of reasons, and one branch of the armed
forces might be reluctant to use violence against its citizens. If, under any of the above scenarios,
thousands of Cubans set out in rafts and makeshift vessels for the United States, their relatives and friends
in Florida would likely head to sea to rescue them, as occurred in the Mariel Harbor boatlift of 1980.
Fighting on the island could also break out and involve U.S.-based Cuban citizens or Cuban Americans
who would find it difficult to stand by while their relatives were under attack or they perceived their
homeland might be liberated. We hope none of these scenarios unfolds, but policymakers must be
prepared for the worst case and not merely hope that such developments will not occur on their watch.
We believe that the recommendations we have
prepared may well enhance the prospects for a nonviolent
and democratic political process in Cuba and lessen the likelihood of confrontation and conflict that might
inspire calls for American intervention. By issuing these recommendations, we are not predicting violence
in Cuba's future. We continue to believe that a rapid, peaceful transition to democratic government is what
the Cuban people want—it is certainly what we hope will transpire. Nevertheless, we believe that the
United States should now adopt a series of measures that may reduce the chances of U.S. military
involvement, should Cuba's transition go awry, and by doing so, make Cuba’s peaceful transition to
democracy more likely.
We note, also, that in the wake of the divisions
generated by the case of Elián González, relations between
U.S. federal authorities and the Cuban-American community have been damaged and frayed by distrust,
anger, bitterness, and recriminations. Whatever one believes about the merits of that case, the new
administration in Washington should make a major, sustained effort to rebuild communication and trust
with Cuban Americans. Several of our recommendations are directed to that end. We believe that a
trusting working relationship between the federal government and the Cuban-American community is
crucial for managing potential future crises on the island.
Our recommendations in this second report also
attempt to confront and resolve some of the most
intractable problems that a successor, democratic government in Cuba might inherit. We have learned
from watching the transitions from communist dictatorships and command economies in other
nations—whether Nicaragua or the states of the former Soviet Union—that even after electoral
democracy triumphs, the burden of the past weighs heavily on a nation’s capacity to recover, particularly
economically. In Nicaragua, for example, sorting out competing property claims posed a major obstacle
to economic growth and foreign investment for the new democratic government in 1991 and remains an
irritant in U.S.-Nicaraguan bilateral relations. We also know that the failure of new democracies to grow
and prosper can relegitimize anti-democratic forces and threaten a return to authoritarian policies—a
danger that has hovered over post-communist Russia. With regard to Cuba, we believe it is both
important and possible for the United States to begin to identify issues, such as outstanding U.S. property
claims and labor rights, that can be addressed now rather than leave them as an albatross around the neck
of a successor, democratic government.
We thus have sought to identify such problems
as well as the prospects for current and future American
investment and trade, that may be addressed prior to a transition. Our hope in doing so is to help ease the
difficulties of a transition democratic government and reduce the obstacles to rapid economic recovery
SUMMARY AND FRAMEWORK OF RECOMMENDATIONS
Two years ago we began our recommendations
with a statement of basic principles. That statement
remains relevant today and continues to guide our approach.  We then made a basic decision that our
Task Force would not join the protracted public debate over whether the United States should unilaterally
lift its embargo. That is still the case today, especially since we continue to believe—as our first report
demonstrated—that there indeed exists significant common ground for advancing U.S. policy toward
Cuba in other ways.
Our new set of recommendations builds on the
first set; in some cases, it goes beyond them. For example,
the first set contained recommendations almost entirely directed toward the executive branch. To be sure,
some of the Task Force members felt that any executive action taken toward Cuba should fully reflect the
views of the Congress, and some Task Force members dissented from certain of the first report’s
recommendations. Given the extent of the subsequent debate in Congress, we felt it was appropriate for
this follow-on report to make some recommendations that Congress may consider as well.
Our recommendations seek to build and strengthen
bridges between the Cuban and American people;
promote family reunification; address current and future matters of U.S. national security; promote labor
rights and facilitate resolution of property claims; and further expose Cuba to international norms and
We note that in the final days of the 106th
Congress, the House and Senate voted to approve an
agricultural appropriations bill that includes an amendment to remove food and medicine from unilateral
sanctions. We find two provisions of the new law troubling, one regarding export sanctions and the other
regarding travel. First, the amendment grants the president the authority to allow the sale of food and
medicine to each of the countries on the State Department’s terrorist list—Sudan, Libya, North Korea,
Iran, and Cuba—under a one-year general license. However, only with respect to Cuba does the new
law prohibit U.S. banks from providing private commercial financing for such sales—the amendment
permits only third-country financing. This provision was set into law despite two previous votes in the
Senate and one in the House, which called for an end to agricultural and medical sanctions on Cuba
without restrictions on private U.S. financing.
The second provision of the new law relates
to travel by American citizens to Cuba. It was included
without public hearing on the matter and despite a vote in the House of Representatives, by a margin of
232-186, to lift the travel ban indirectly by withholding the funds necessary to enforce current restrictions.
The new provision codifies into law twelve existing categories of legal travel, currently set forth in the
Cuban Assets Control Regulations, that can be licensed under specific or general licenses, while creating
an additional category for specifically licensed travel to Cuba by potential American agricultural vendors.
The new provision states that all travel to Cuba outside of the existing categories will be considered
"tourism." And "tourism," under the new law, is explicitly prohibited.
The travel categories codified by the legislation—travel
by journalists, government officials, Cuban
Americans, and professional researchers, as well as for religious, academic, athletic, informational, artistic,
and humanitarian exchanges—excludes an additional category that heretofore gave the Office of Foreign
Assets Control (OFAC) discretionary authority to issue licenses for the purpose of travel not specifically
covered by the other twelve categories. Under a strict interpretation of the new provision, many common
sense matters that require travel to Cuba, for example, morale-related visits by friends and family to U.S.
officials based there, a Medevac helicopter to provide emergency care for American citizens, travel by
authorized travel-service operators such as airline charter companies, federal prosecutors and private
defense attorneys to take testimony in Cuba (in espionage cases, for example), could be prohibited. And
although at the time this report was issued it was too early to determine definitively the chilling effect of this
new legislation, we have learned from one president of a major travel agency licensed by the
administration to provide charter air travel that these provisions, now the law of the land, would bar the
managers of licensed travel-service providers from traveling to Cuba to arrange future licensed travel. In
addition, as President Clinton noted, the law will certainly constrain the American president’s ability to
pursue creative people-to-people initiatives and will dampen efforts by Cuban Americans to maintain the
family ties they choose with their relatives on the island.
We note below the extent to which these new
provisions of law affect our recommendations regarding
family reunification, agricultural and medical exports, and travel.
BASKET ONE: FAMILY REUNIFICATION AND MIGRATION
Over the last 41 years, political persecution
and exile, as well as the hostile division between our two
countries, have forcibly kept Cubans and their loved ones apart—sometimes for decades, sometimes
forever. The publicity over Elián González, the six-year-old Cuban boy found clinging to an inner tube off
the coast of Florida, alerted many Americans to the human dimensions of this tragedy. Like thousands of
other Cuban citizens, Elián's mother trusted her own life and that of her son to an ill-fated voyage on the
open sea. Elián's survival caught the world's attention. Since 1959, some 200,000 Cubans have crossed
the Florida Straits on inner tubes, rafts, and boats; 600,000 have fled by plane. In the early 1960s, many
Cuban parents became desperate enough to send their children to the United States under the Catholic
Church’s Operation Pedro Pan, so that their children might grow up in a free society. One of these
children is now a member of our Task Force.
We believe that for both humanitarian reasons
and the national interest and security of the United States,
U.S. policymakers should take all possible steps to remove the obstacles that divide Cuban Americans
from their family members in Cuba and promote lawful family reunification. In making these
recommendations, our Task Force wrestled with the moral dilemma posed by the practice of returning
Cubans to the island. Some on our Task Force felt that Cuba should be considered a special case, and
that as long as a closed, repressive system persists in Cuba, the United States has a moral obligation to
accept anyone attempting to flee, whatever his or her motive or circumstance. On the other hand, a
special policy of open borders for all Cubans encourages people to take to the sea and tempt death. We
do not want to legitimize the dangerous practice of alien smuggling, either from Cuba or from any other
country in the world. That is why the recommendations in this section, taken together, attempt to maximize
the opportunity for family reunification and safe, legal migration to the United States.
1.End Restrictions on Family
Visits. At present, the United States permits Cuban Americans to
travel only once per year to Cuba without first asking permission, and then only for a humanitarian
emergency. We recommend an end to all restrictions on visits by Cuban Americans to Cuba. Since
current travel regulations do grant Cuban Americans a general license for travel once annually, we
propose that the president eliminate the once-per-year limitation and permit Cuban Americans to
travel under a general license as often as they like—the same rights currently accorded to
professional researchers and full-time journalists. The federal government should not be the judge
of how often Cuban Americans—or any other Americans—need to visit relatives living abroad.
Nor should existing or forthcoming regulations and laws force Cuban Americans to violate the law
in order to see their family members, for whatever purpose they deem fit.
2.Lift the Ceiling on Remittances.
Current regulations permit all American citizens to send $1,200
per year to any Cuban family other than those of high-ranking government officials. Indeed, an
estimated $500 to $800 million in annual remittances—sent mainly by Cuban Americans—provide
a lifeline to hundreds of thousands of Cuban citizens, provide them with a modicum of
independence from the Cuban state, and support the creation and growth of small businesses. We
recommend eliminating the ceiling so that personal decisions and financial resources, rather than
government regulations, determine how much financial support Americans can provide to their
3.Allow Cuban Americans to
Claim Relatives as Dependents. Currently, American citizens with
dependent relatives living in Canada and Mexico can claim them as dependents for federal income
tax purposes, provided they meet the other relevant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requirements.
As in our first report, we recommend an amendment to U.S. tax laws so that American taxpayers
with dependents who are residents of Cuba can also claim this deduction. Moreover, we would
recommend that the same rights be extended to taxpayers of other national origins who have
dependents in their home countries, if they meet the other relevant IRS requirements.
4.Allow Retirement to Cuba
for Cuban Americans. As we suggested in our first report, we
recommend that retired and/or disabled Cuban Americans be allowed to return to Cuba if they
choose, collecting Social Security, Medicare, and other pension benefits to which they are entitled
in the United States, and be accorded corresponding banking facilities, as is the principle with
respect to other countries.
5.Revise Criteria for Temporary
Visas. The United States should do more to facilitate visits by
Cuban citizens to see their relatives in the United States. Current policy on temporary visas treats
Cuban applicants like it treats those from other foreign countries, applying a selection of high
criteria such as salary, types of bank accounts, age, or property ownership to estimate their
likelihood of returning home voluntarily. The nature of the Cuban government and economy makes
these standards not only prohibitive but inappropriate for Cuban applicants. Moreover, recent spot
checks by the United States Interests Section in Havana have found a surprisingly high rate of
return to the island among those who visit the United States, a finding that should ease the anxiety
of consular officials who are concerned that temporary visitors from poor countries will not abide
by the terms of their visas. Although we do not minimize the task of adopting new criteria for Cuba,
we believe that it should be done and that Cuban applications that meet these criteria, provided the
applicants have letters of invitation from relatives in the United States, should be processed as
quickly and favorably as possible. We recommend also that visas should be granted for a longer
period of time than the customary thirty-day allotment and that the appropriate visa be granted to
Cuban nationals visiting the United States for fellowships and study. We note that in the last year
the number of Cubans visiting the United States on temporary visas has increased more than
four-fold, to 40,000 in 1999 from 9,000 in 1998. We applaud this development and hope the
issuance of temporary visas—a practice that allows Cubans to develop their own, independent
views of American society—continues to increase. We recognize as well that unnecessary
impediments, such as bureaucratic obstacles and exorbitant fees erected by the Cuban authorities,
prevent many Cuban citizens from taking advantage of visa opportunities to travel to the United
States. We call upon the Cuban authorities to remove these barriers.
6.Public Education to Accelerate
Safe, Legal, and Orderly Family Reunification. Cubans can
currently pursue four programs to migrate legally to the United States: the immigrant visa program;
the Special Program for Cuban Migrants, known as the "lottery system;" the program for political
asylum seekers; and the worldwide lottery system. The most widely known is the "lottery system,"
established following the 1994 migration accords, under which the United States agreed "that total
legal migration to the United States from Cuba will be a minimum of 20,000 Cubans each year, not
including immediate relatives of United States Citizens." Several thousand more slots are potentially
available in addition to the annual 20,000, the figure incorrectly and widely assumed to be the
maximum available amount. For example, many of the 1.4 million people of Cuban origin living in
the United States (including the 125,000 who have come since 1994) are not aware that they may
acquire permanent residence status that would make their immediate relatives—children, spouses,
and parents—eligible to apply for immigrant visas. We therefore recommend that the Immigration
and Naturalization Service (INS) and the U.S. State Department, together with local authorities
and community organizations, intensify public education efforts to inform Cuban-American residents
of the available legal mechanisms they may exercise. This way, their immediate relatives wishing to
migrate may obtain immigrant visas, a category of legal migration that the United States makes
available over and above the 20,000 visas distributed each year mostly to winners of the "lottery."
Moreover, we strongly encourage the Cuban government to permit radio, television, and the print
media to transmit this information regarding legal options for migration to the United States to the
Cuban people, and we urge the Cuban government to disseminate this information widely itself.
Though participating in the "lottery" or waiting for an immigrant visa may extend the period of time
Cubans must wait to enter the United States legally, we believe that taking advantage of the
enhanced opportunities for legal migration is an important step toward reducing the life-threatening
dangers of efforts to leave Cuba irregularly. If funds for a public information-community outreach
program are currently not available in relevant agency budgets, Congress should make such an
7.Expand Consular Services.
Since our first report was issued, the demands on the U.S. Interests
Section in Cuba have increased greatly. Current U.S. consular services in Cuba should not be
limited to Havana. To process an increase in the number of legal Cuban migrants, we recommend
that the United States open a subsection of its Havana consular office in Santiago de Cuba, a step
that will also help the United States to fill the annual quota of several thousand slots available for
political asylum seekers each year and better monitor the treatment of Cubans returned to the island
under the migration accords. Moreover, we recommend that the United States negotiate a
reciprocal agreement with Cuba that will allow each country to expand its consular
services—perhaps with Cuba opening a subsection of its current consulate in another U.S. city—to
accommodate increased contact between citizens of both countries.
8.Prosecute Alien Smugglers.
In spite of expanded opportunities for legal migration, there has been
a troubling increase in alien smuggling from Cuba to the United States—a dangerous practice in
which smugglers extract exorbitant fees for the perilous journey across the Florida Straits. The
September 9, 1994 "Joint Communiqué on U.S.-Cuba Immigration Agreement" states that the
United States and Cuba "reaffirm their support for the recently adopted U.N. General Assembly
resolution on alien smuggling," and "pledged their cooperation to take prompt and effective action
to prevent the transport of persons to the United States illegally." The communiqué also notes that
"the United States has discontinued its practice of granting parole to all Cuban migrants who reach
U.S. territory in irregular ways. The Republic of Cuba will take effective measures in every way it
possibly can to prevent unsafe departures using mainly persuasive methods."
both Cuba and the United States to the 1994-95 migration agreements (the
fundamental objectives of which are to prevent the loss of life and to safeguard American borders)
requires the United States to prosecute smugglers. Family reunification measures—combined with a
review of current automatic parole practices and criteria, including the existence of prior criminal
records, and a more judicious application of the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act—will, in our view,
reduce the risk to life that so many Cubans are now undertaking while enhancing their opportunities
to migrate to the United States legally and safely.
9.Confront Neglected Immigration
Issues. A number of migration-related technical issues, such as
fee structures and the timeliness and prohibitions of exit and entry-paper issuance for temporary
and permanent migration, require more regular and serious communication. We believe such
contact can increase the expanded opportunities for safe, orderly, and legal family reunification and
is in the interest of both the Cuban people and the United States. Therefore, we recommend more
regular, routine, and substantive contact through the Interests Sections in both capitals. We also
hope that the governments of both Cuba and the United States will seriously address the issues that
each would bring to the table during such talks. These talks would provide the opportunity to revisit
a stalled 1996 U.S. initiative proposing a return agreement with Cuba to repatriate, in a mutually
acceptable, timely fashion, those with criminal records who are not already included on the list of
"excludables" agreed to under the 1984 migration agreement.
BASKET TWO: INCREASING THE FREE FLOW OF IDEAS
In our first report we noted that expanding
human contact to help spread information, new ideas, and
fresh perspectives can help break the isolation of, and expand engagement in, Cuba. We recommended
more licensed travel not only by individuals, but by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). As a result of
the adoption of these recommendations, new bridges between the American and Cuban people now exist.
We also continue to believe that—as we have
seen in successful transitions from communism to
democracy in nations such as Poland, Nicaragua, and the former Soviet Union—often some officials in the
old regime, because of long-standing conviction, a change of view, or a desire to adapt to changing
political realities, can help the peaceful establishment of a new democratic polity.
The Task Force wrestled with the issue of lifting
the ban on travel. Many members were concerned that
this travel would largely be of a "tourist" nature, and that the proceeds would go to the Cuban government
through its joint ventures with foreign hotel concerns, and thus strengthen its repressive capacities. Others
noted, however, that no apparent weakening of the instruments of official repression was evident when
Cuban state income was more constrained in the early 1990s. Still others argued that allowing unlimited
travel by Cuban Americans to the island, as we propose, but not by all Americans, as we also propose,
raises serious constitutional questions about whether such a distinction is warranted. Moreover, the large
increase in people-to-people travel proposed in our first report and implemented by the Clinton
administration has already significantly increased the number of Americans staying on the island, many of
whom, no doubt by necessity, stay in joint-venture tourist hotels. However, we also note that in many
regions of Cuba, small, privately run restaurants, bed and breakfasts, and informal taxi and guide services
are springing up—they benefit from this increased travel outside the confines of state authority.
On balance, the Task Force believes that freedom
is contagious and that people-to-people contacts by
ordinary American citizens will help convey democratic and free-market ideas to ordinary Cubans, while
continuing to dispel the Cuban government’s propaganda about the American government’s hostility
toward Cuba. We believe that when possible, in providing normal travel guidance about Cuba to visiting
Americans, the State Department should highlight the availability of informal and private services in Cuba
and note that the proceeds from such services benefit ordinary Cubans substantially more than the
proceeds of state-owned facilities.
Thus, to speed the dynamic currently underway,
we propose strengthening some of our previous
1.Issue a General License
for Travel by All Americans. Following the Clinton administration’s
January 1999 measures, new travel regulations have effectively expanded licensing for American
travel to Cuba—to nearly 200,000 for 1999, by most estimates. Trusting in the power of freedom
and democracy, and in view of the success of people-to-people contacts, we recommend that the
president issue a general license to all Americans wishing to travel to Cuba. Americans traveling
freely, without government licensing or program restrictions, will support the expansion of
free-market activity in Cuba and will build links with Cuban society that no government program
would envision. If the Cuban government blocks Americans from visiting the island, it alone will be
held responsible for isolating its population. American citizens personify American ideas and values.
We note that despite the recent codification of travel regulations, the House of Representatives
voted recently to indirectly lift the travel ban by withholding funds to enforce current restrictions.
Whether through a change in law by Congress, which would be preferable, or through the existing
licensing authority of the executive branch, all Americans should now be able to travel freely to
Cuba. The effect of a general license for all American travel will be to eliminate the current
requirement of prior approval from OFAC; it will thereby end the ban on travel to Cuba by
Americans excluded by current regulations.
2.Make Federal Funds Available
to Support People-to-People Exchanges. According to
OFAC, more than 200 American NGOs are currently engaged in some sort of exchange with
Cuban institutions. At present, only a handful of private foundations support these exchanges. Many
of the American NGOs now building new ties with Cuban institutions receive federal funds for a
range of their international activities, including from the National Endowment for the Arts, the
National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, the National
Endowment for Democracy, the Fulbright Scholarship Program, the United States Information
Agency (USIA), as well as from the Inter-American Foundation and many sources at other
executive branch agencies, such as the Department of Education, the Department of Agriculture,
the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Smithsonian Institution. But current practices reduce
the potential impact of these programs by preventing NGOs from spending these funds for licensed
exchanges and forcing them to compete instead for limited funds from private foundations. We
therefore recommend an end to the current practice of prohibiting the use of such funds to support
American NGOs’ people-to-people programs with Cuba, which include programs between
American and Cuban official and independent trade unions, and sponsorship for undergraduate,
post-graduate, and mid-career study by Cubans in the United States and Americans in Cuba. We
recognize that many NGOs will avoid federal funding, for fear of compromising their integrity and
independence in Cuban eyes. But we think the decision should be theirs, not the government’s. In
addition, Cuban professionals should be invited for USIA-sponsored international education tours.
We also recommend an increase in the number of staff at the U.S. Interests Section to help
facilitate the emergent partnerships between American and Cuban NGOs and private foundations.
And finally, we urge private sector and U.S. government support for book and literature programs
focused on democracy and market reform. Such materials should be made available to Cuban
religious organizations, students, scholars, and independent civic groups.
3.Direct Commercial Flights
and Ferry Service. In our last report, we recommended that the
United States permit commercial airlines to open routes from major U.S. cities and hubs to Havana
and other Cuban cities. Since then, charter service has expanded from Miami, New York, and Los
Angeles to Havana, Santiago, Camagüey, and other cities. We again recommend that commercial
airlines be permitted to fly to Cuba; to that end, we recommend that the United States negotiate a
civil aviation agreement with Cuba. In addition, we recommend that OFAC be authorized to issue
licenses for regular ferry services between Florida and Havana.
4.Expand Links Between American
NGOs and their Cuban Counterparts to Promote
Environmental Health and Conservation. Americans and Cubans have a common interest in
protecting species such as manatees, sea turtles, and migratory birds that share our ecosystems.
The long-term health of the Cuban population and its prospects for future prosperity will depend on
the wise stewardship of the Cuban environment. Conservationists within Cuba can provide an
important counterpoint to those who would despoil critical ecosystems such as the Biramas and
Zapata wetlands, or the remaining forests of the Sierra Maestra and Sierra del Rosario. Yet
restrictions on developing joint programs with their Cuban counterparts hamper American NGOs’
efforts to build exchanges in the area of environmental conservation. For example, joint
environmental research between American NGOs and scientists at Cuban universities and research
institutes is hindered by restrictions that prohibit the transfer of funds and equipment for joint
field-based activities. This is because research scientists tend to be based at universities, research
institutions such as botanical gardens, and centers such as the Institute of Ecology. Although these
entities can be defined as branches of the Cuban government, the technical specialists working
there are individuals who will be active in conserving Cuba’s environment well into the future,
beyond the current regime. An investment in developing cooperative environmental and wildlife
conservation projects between the United States and Cuba would receive broad support in both
countries. We therefore recommend issuing the requisite licensing to American NGOs for the
purpose of transferring funds and equipment for joint field-based activities.
BASKET THREE: SECURITY
Whatever the precise shape Cuba’s future political
evolution takes, the Cuban military will likely play an
important role, either permitting or seeking to suppress a peaceful democratic transition.
One of the most heartening trends in eastern
Europe—with the exception of Yugoslavia—have been the
strongly positive roles played by the military forces in a number of the former Soviet satellites. Many
NATO generals served as officers in the armed forces of former communist regimes. This is true even in
Poland, where as recently as 1986, the Polish Army was enforcing martial law against the Solidarity trade
union. In our own hemisphere, in El Salvador, for example, former guerrillas now participate in the
democratic process and have become political party activists and elected officials. We note also that the
Southern Command (SouthCom) has begun to interact with the Nicaraguan army, once under total
control of the Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional (FSLN), but now serving under elected civilian
We hope the Cuban armed forces will move down
the same road and accept civilian control in a future
democratic state. We believe that as the Cuban armed forces gain confidence that the United States will
not take military advantage of a political opening on the island (as government propaganda claims), the
more likely it is that the armed forces will permit, or even support, such an opening in the future. We want
to enhance the chances that this will happen.
Some Task Force members are reluctant to grant
the present Cuban regime and its military and security
agencies the legitimacy that the exchange recommendations listed below seem to imply. These members
emphasize, in any event, that such exchanges can serve U.S. interests only if they involve mid-level,
younger officers in the Cuban armed forces, not merely the most senior—and presumably most
ideologically committed—officers. These Task Force members emphasize also the value of
civilian-to-military exchanges: they note that the United States must encourage the armed forces in former
communist nations that have carried out successful transitions to democracy, such as Poland, to conduct
similar exchanges with the Cuban armed forces. Finally, they stress that one of the central messages that
the U.S. military should convey to its Cuban counterparts is that future relations, and indeed the status of
the Cuban military itself, will depend significantly on whether it plays a constructive role in a peaceful,
We share these concerns and believe that any
program of military-to-military contact should be designed
accordingly, and that such contacts be carefully calibrated and reviewed regularly. Nevertheless, although
we recognize the risks involved, we take a pragmatic, realist view. The Cuban military exists. Indeed, it is
one of the few strong institutions on the island. Its attitudes and behavior will be crucial to Cuba’s future
political course. We believe that the vital interests of the United States will be served by taking steps now
to prepare for that future.
Contacts. Several former Commanders in Chief (CINCs), such as
General Jack Sheehan and General Charles Wilhem with responsibility for the Caribbean have
stated that Commander in Chief of Allied Forces Southern Europe (CINCSOUTH) and his staff
should be able to sit down with their Cuban counterparts to discuss security issues relevant to their
responsibilities, in such areas as drugs, crime, joint disaster relief, and joint air-sea rescue. At a
lower level, it would also be beneficial to promote contacts at the O-4 and O-5 rank (lieutenant
commanders and commanders, majors, and lieutenant colonels). On the Cuban side, these officers
will be in key positions of responsibility seven to ten years from now, so now is the best time to
start developing the kinds of professional ties and relationships that will facilitate future
communication, dialogue, cooperation, and better mutual understanding. If, after a trial period, the
United States determines that such engagement is having no constructive effect or that the Cuban
government is so manipulating and limiting the contacts as to nullify their purpose, the nature and
scale of the engagement can be reviewed.
Contacts. It is in the interests of the United States to develop an
active program of counternarcotic contacts with Cuban counterparts, through the exchange of
information regarding drug trafficking, organized crime, and human rights. Cuba is geographically
central to the drug economy of the Caribbean Basin. Regarding drug trafficking, the goals of such a
program would be to cooperate in the exchange of information related to the shipment of drugs
through, over, and around Cuba and the Caribbean, whether the drugs’ ultimate destination is Cuba
or the United States. The intelligence to be shared would be the information useful for deterring and
suppressing the drug trade. Intelligence exchanges focused on information related to the drug trade
and organized crime would be beneficial to the United States and support the broader U.S.
objective of a more stable, peaceful, and prosperous Caribbean Basin. At a minimum, these should
involve some limited exchanges of personnel between both countries to foster cooperation on these
vital matters of mutual interest. If Cuba’s public commitment to battle the drug menace in the
Caribbean proves hollow, and the counternarcotic-exchange effort yields no early harvest, it should
3.Explore Regional Cooperation
on Colombia. We note that Colombia has invited Cuba to join
with Norway, France, Spain, and Switzerland, in a group of países amigos (friendly countries) to
"accompany" Colombia in its search for a negotiated settlement to the country’s conflicts. The
government of Colombia has indicated that, particularly with respect to the Ejercito de Liberación
Nacional (ELN) guerrillas, the government of Cuba has played a constructive role in the
negotiations. We recommend that the United States government actively and formally work with
Cuba, if the opportunity presents itself, in support of the Colombian peace process.
BASKET FOUR: TRADE, INVESTMENT, PROPERTY, AND LABOR RIGHTS
Our last report recommended a series of measures
designed to relieve the suffering of the Cuban people
today while building the basis for a better relationship between Cuba and the United States in the future.
Here, we elaborate on some of these proposals and include additional recommendations that focus on
two fundamentals that Cuba will need to address in the future: labor rights and the legacy of property
1.Food and Medicine Exports.
In January 1999, the White House, echoing this Task Force’s
earlier recommendation, announced that it would open up commercial sales of food and medicine
to Cuba. However, when the new regulations were promulgated five months later, they banned
private financing and limited food sales to "independent, non-governmental entities," noting that
"end-users" must have no relationship with the Cuban government.
Prior to the
final congressional vote on sanctions reform in October 2000, bipartisan
the House and Senate voted to end the sanctions on sales of food and medicine to Cuba without
the private-financing restrictions carried under the new law. Recognizing the bipartisan support that
now exists, this Task Force recommends that whether by law or as a matter of presidential policy,
all sales of food, agricultural products and inputs, and medicine and medical products to
non-governmental institutions, governmental agencies, and private citizens in Cuba be permitted, for
cash or with conventional 90-day commercial (but not government-subsidized) credits. Currently,
the Cuban government does not permit cooperation among private farmers and independent small
businesses in the purchase of U.S. food or medical products or inputs. We call upon the
government of Cuba to permit all "end-users" to purchase American products.
2.Permit Investment in and
Export of Newly Created Informational Products. The 1988
Omnibus Trade Bill amended the Trading with the Enemy Act to legalize the export of informational
material to countries otherwise subject to the prohibitions in the Act. The Treasury Department
interpreted the new law to include exports only of finished products, such as published books,
compact discs, artwork, movies, and so on. The original intent of the new law was to allow
Americans to export not only these finished products, but also to invest in the production for export
of newly created informational materials. Consistent with Recommendation Four in this basket, we
recommend, as we did in our first report, that OFAC be instructed to revise existing regulations to
permit direct American investment in the creation and export of new informational products.
3.Facilitate Resolution of
Expropriation Claims. President Eisenhower banned U.S. trade with
Cuba forty years ago, in October of 1960, in response to Cuba’s nationalization, without
compensation, of properties and businesses then owned by Americans on the island. Cuba had
taken over agricultural lands and sugar mills soon after the 1959 revolution; in 1960 it seized the
U.S.-controlled nickel mines, the telephone company, petroleum refineries, electrical generation
and distribution facilities, cement and tire plants, supermarkets, and banks.
residential property) claims to one side, the U.S. Foreign Claims Settlement
Commission (FCSC) valued the U.S. corporate properties taken at $1.6 billion in 1972.
Calculating interest at the rate of 6 percent utilized by the FCSC, this gross loss would be roughly
$5.52 billion today, though the impact on the companies has been reduced by tax benefits.
The embargo was
tightened by President Kennedy in February of 1962. It has remained in
ever since. Titles III and IV of the 1996 Helms-Burton law—the provisions that penalize foreign
companies and have created serious tensions with Europe and Canada—are both directed at
foreigners who "traffic" in the expropriated U.S. property.
claims of U.S. citizens, in short, have been central to the U.S.-Cuba
confrontation for four decades. As a first step toward resolving the claims issue, we propose a
solution that would be more meaningful to the business prospects of the expropriated U.S.
companies than would be the uncertain possibility of some discounted cash recovery at some future
date from a future Cuban government for their net losses, after taxes, for property taken more than
forty years ago. The proposal would at the same time reduce the likelihood of confrontation
between the United States and its allies over Helms-Burton.
requires some background. In recent years, the Cuban government has
legalized dollar holdings and transactions, delegated authority to managers of the state enterprises,
and enacted Law Number 77, entitled the Foreign Investment Act ("Law 77"), which establishes a
framework for foreign investment in joint ventures in Cuba.
A number of European
and Canadian companies have entered into joint ventures with Cuban state
companies. Others are under active consideration. In at least one case involving property
confiscated from a U.S. claimant, ITT, the Italian phone company STET reached a settlement with
ITT as a result of which STET was able to enter into a joint venture with the Cuban telephone
company without facing a risk of challenge under Helms-Burton.
Like the Europeans
and Canadians, certain U.S. companies with claims certified by the FCSC
interested in future business opportunities in Cuba. Many of these "certified claimants" are prepared
to resolve their forty year-old nationalization claims against the Cuban government in the context of
joint venture agreements with the relevant Cuban enterprises, through which they would again be
able to participate in—and contribute to—the Cuban economy. They would do so by renouncing
their certified claims in exchange for equity in joint venture projects under Law 77.
of a certified claim is not inconsistent with Helms-Burton it is the essence
statute that a determination not to pursue a claim, or its abandonment or relinquishment, requires no
authorization from the U.S. government. The decision is the certified claimant’s to make. Title III
establishes that claimants—both certified and non-certified—have causes of action against
"traffickers," (which, for the moment, they cannot pursue because of the suspension of Title III
access to U.S. Federal courts). But Title III does not require a claimant to sue to obtain a
recovery. A claimant may litigate or desist as the claimant chooses. Settlement of a claim in the
context of a joint venture would be, in substance, nothing more than a voluntary decision to desist
from pursuing a Title III suit.
by which the U.S. company may propose to enter into a joint venture with
Cuban enterprise would have to be licensed under the present regulatory scheme—and it could be
licensed. Helms-Burton "codified" the embargo of Cuba as it stood on March 1, 1996. It thus
preserved the ban on U.S. persons engaging in business transactions in Cuba in the absence of a
license, "except as specifically authorized by the U.S. Secretary of Treasury."  Thus, the
proposed settlements could be licensed under the economic embargo of Cuba in effect on March
1, 1996, consistent with Helms-Burton.
that this proposal addresses only claims certified by the FCSC and not
Cuban Americans who lost property. Some members of our Task Force believe the American
government should espouse the property claims of Cuban Americans. Others believe doing so
would reinforce the current Cuban government’s nationalist rhetoric and also be highly destabilizing
to a new, democratic government; they argue that this issue should instead be left to another day,
and properly subject to judicial proceedings in a sovereign Cuba, without participation by the U.S.
We limit our
recommendations now to a first step toward addressing what will inevitably
long and complicated process involving the claims of American citizens, whatever future political
course Cuba takes. We believe, however, that the opportunity to resolve the vexing expropriation
claims should not be limited to the claims of business enterprises. Any holder or transferee of a
claim should be permitted to negotiate an exchange of that claim for whatever value is deemed
adequate to satisfy that claim. In short, other exchanges of value, in addition to participation in a
joint venture, should be permitted (and indeed encouraged); the sooner this bone of contention can
be resolved and the ancient claims disposed of the better.
At this time
we recommend that the president prepare to issue licenses for the purpose
negotiating and implementing such settlements as we describe herein.
allow expropriation claims against Cuba to be resolved by claimants as
part of a
joint venture arrangement—raises the issue of whether U.S claimants who settle existing claims in
exchange for equity positions in their original, or other, industries, would then be free to invest and
expand on their equity, or would remain passive owners only. Without the ability to further
capitalize their investment, some claimants might have less incentive to go forward. On the other
hand, to allow them to invest without limitation might be seen as creating a privileged class of
individuals and companies–either the original claimants or those who had purchased rights to a
claim—who would be legally allowed to invest in Cuba, to the exclusion and perhaps commercial
disadvantage of all other U.S. individuals and companies. The Task Force chose not to resolve this
point. There seemed to be a consensus for taking the first step of allowing U.S. claims to be
resolved through equity ownership, but not a consensus in favor of the next step of allowing
follow-on investments by the new U.S equity owners. Some suggested that the discriminatory effect
was reason to reject the proposal; others thought that the logical solution was to license investment
in other words, raised a broader issue that reached beyond the mandate
Force had set for itself: whether removing the present ban on U.S. investment in Cuba is in the
national interest and would promote a rapid, peaceful transition to democracy in Cuba. The debate
has often been articulated elsewhere in narrow and sterile terms—whether the United States should
simply lift the embargo or tighten it, as a means to alter the political structure in Cuba. Not enough
thought has been given to the possibilities of allowing U.S. investment in Cuba subject to certain
norms that would promote human and worker rights and the evolution of independent trade unions.
Around the world, U.S. corporations are taking the lead in adopting codes of conduct that make
many important standards—regarding child labor, working hours and conditions, human rights,
sexual harassment, and non-discrimination—a condition of partnership with producers.
We think a serious
discussion among those who wish to see a more thoughtful and creative policy
toward Cuba needs to begin about this subject. Certainly, with regards to communist countries
such as China and Vietnam, U.S. policy has evolved toward engagement by the U.S. private
sector, as an instrument of opening markets and stimulating democratic change. In South Africa,
such codes of conduct promoted by American companies played a constructive role in that
society’s evolution from authoritarian racism to multi-racial democracy. As the debate in the Task
Force on claims settlement elucidates, the subject of U.S. investment in Cuba needs the same kind
of creative and pragmatic thinking.
lifting the ban on investment argue that, given the economic structure
of joint ventures
in Cuba, investment would simply channel hard-currency reserves into the regime, strengthen its
capacity for political control and repression, and thus perpetuate the regime. This is a serious
concern. However, the Task Force, in both its first and second reports, also reached a consensus
that engagement with Cuba, through significantly expanded people-to-people exchanges, on
balance promotes democratic change. The fact is that such exchanges—by bringing hundreds of
thousands of Americans to Cuba—also bring additional hard currency to the government. So too
do others of our recommendations: lifting the current limit on remittances by Cuban Americans;
extending remittances to all Americans; ending the limit on visits by Cuban Americans to their
families; lifting the ban on travel by all Americans; and permitting limited investment on the island to
support these activities in the small but growing private sector there. Therefore, much more open
and creative thought must be given to judging the real effects of U.S. investment. Practices around
the world suggest that in general, U.S. corporations overall are far more likely to impose codes of
conduct, direct pay of workers, and other labor and human rights as a condition of investment.
Moreover, substantial evidence exists to show that workers in firms in which non-U.S. investors
are involved—despite the clear effort by the Cuban government to control hiring and siphon off a
substantial percentage of workers’ earnings—reap substantial economic benefits. These benefits
both allow them to provide better for their families and also reduce their economic dependence on
the government, which is an important lever of its social control. Although the Task Force has
chosen not to join the investment debate outright, we believe strongly that there is a need to try to
find creative new ideas that could break the old deadlock on issues of investment, such as outlined
above, and promote the goal that unites Americans of good faith: promoting rapid, peaceful,
democratic change in Cuba.
4.Begin Licensing Some American
Business Activity. The Cuban government has been slow to
enact liberalizing economic reforms. It prohibits, for example, Cuban citizens from investing in small
businesses on the island. We believe that permitting certain limited American investment on the
island can further the economic reform process in Cuba and begin to help all Cubans to participate
fully in their economy. To that end, we reiterate a recommendation from our first report: that four
limited categories of American business routinely receive licenses to operate in Cuba. As in our first
report, they are: 1) news gathering or the procurement and creation of informational material; 2)
providing on-the-ground services to capture the business resulting from increased American and
Cuban-American travel; 3) activities related to the distribution of humanitarian aid and sales; and 4)
activities related to culture, including the production, purchase, and sale of new cultural materials
and artworks, such as theater, music, architectural preservation and restoration, photography,
urban planning, and the media and the verification of Cuban Adherence to intellectual property
rights. In our judgment, each of these categories supports objectives clearly specified in U.S. law.
one of the greatest obstacles to the development of an independent trade
movement in Cuba and to greater rates of foreign investment is the monopoly the state currently
holds on the hiring and paying of workers. Although it may make more fiscal sense for the state to
capture tax revenue through tax policy rather than through a direct labor tax, we are more
concerned by the state prohibition on direct hiring. As it becomes apparent that Cuba is reducing
the role of the state in the hiring process, we recommend consideration of American investment
beyond these four categories, contingent upon demonstrated progress in adhering to workers’ core
labor rights, as identified by the International Labor Organization (ILO). 
5.Conduct an Independent
Study of Labor Rights in Cuba. The development of a free and
independent trade union movement, and protection of core labor rights such as the right to strike
and organize, count among the foundations of democracy. We note the leading role played by the
independent Solidarity trade union movement in Poland, with strong support from the AFL-CIO
and by trade unions in South Africa in the successful transition to democracy and the end of
apartheid, respectively. Today, many core ILO standards and internationally recognized labor
rights are denied in Cuba, where official trade unions largely serve the interests of the state. The
current Cuban law, to cite just one example, that requires foreign investors to contract workers
indirectly, violates internationally recognized labor rights. The overall result is that foreign investors
pay several hundred dollars per month per worker, but the worker receives a fraction of that
amount in pesos. This amounts to a labor tax of approximately 90 percent. This tax, along with
many other economic hardships and inequities experienced by Cuban workers, grows out of their
fundamental inability to exercise the right to free association and collective bargaining. In practice,
foreign investors as a rule supplement this base pay with monthly dollar bonuses and basic hygiene
and food products. Indeed, even many state enterprises and some government institutions now
supplement peso salaries with regular dollar bonuses. Earlier in the 1990s, coveted jobs in the
mixed-enterprise sectors were once reserved for party loyalists and the military. Today, jobs in
tourism and related services, private and cooperative farming, and microenterprises have
expanded; it has thus become much more difficult for the government to subject hiring practices to
a political litmus test.
can and should play an important and positive role in a peaceful democratic
transition to a society capable of protecting existing social benefits for workers, while also sharing
the benefits of the new global economy with all of its working people. As we have seen from the
experiences in the former Soviet Union and many nations of eastern Europe, this is a daunting but
essential task. Recently the AFL-CIO and the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions
(ICFTU) have led delegations to Cuba to discuss the fundamental importance of an independent
trade union movement in the defense of workers’ rights, and how best to prepare the Cuban labor
force to function in a more open economy. The process of dialogue and discussion needs to be
broadened and deepened. We therefore recommend an independently funded study of labor rights
in the mixed and state-enterprise sectors, comparing Cuban law and conditions to those of
comparable economies in the region, and to basic worker rights guaranteed under the ILO. The
study should also examine the issue of race and ethnicity in the Cuban work force to examine the
extent to which Cubans of color have equal access to jobs in the joint-venture sectors, especially
tourism. Such a study should draw on the work in this area already done by the AFL-CIO and by
other research conducted on the ground in Cuba, to provide interested parties—such as American
and international trade unions, businesses, and human rights groups—with a baseline of information,
and to suggest directions for further initiatives to prepare Cuban workers and management for their
inevitable encounter with the demands of the global economy. We recommend that after the study
is completed, the U.S. administration consult with labor, business, and congressional leaders to
discuss how to implement its findings.
6.License American Universities
and the Private Sector to Establish Management Training
and Labor Rights Institutes. In recent years, Cuba has been sending young managers of
joint-venture enterprises to Europe for training in business management. Among the most
competitive fields in Cuba, now attracting some of the brightest young people, are international law,
business, and economics. Indeed, the mixed-enterprise sector continues to expand, providing a
training ground for those individuals who will emerge as the forces driving the emergence of a
market economy. The American private sector, directly and through university programs, can play
a valuable role in this process. We recommend that the president issue licenses to American
businesses, business schools, and NGOs to establish management training institutes in Cuba with
European, Canadian, and Latin American partners. We likewise recommend that Cuban students
be awarded scholarships, paid by universities and the private sector, to attend business school and
management training programs in the United States. We believe a similar program should be
considered in cooperation with the AFL-CIO, to educate Cuban workers about internationally
recognized labor rights and the organizing of free trade unions. Finally, we call on the government of
Cuba to permit its students and other citizens to take advantage of such opportunities as they arise.
7.Support Cuban Observer
Status in the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank.
Since the collapse of the Soviet bloc, the Cuban government has undertaken sporadic economic
reforms, but has rejected a comprehensive liberalization of the economy. We recognize that Cuba
has a considerable distance to go and much to learn about how modern market economies and the
international financial system function before it will be eligible for full membership in the international
financial institutions. The process of exposing Cuba to the norms and practices of the international
community should include the opportunity for Cubans to understand those institutions that are
relevant to implementing economic reforms that will be necessary to compete in the global
economy. As a first step in laying the groundwork for an economic transition in Cuba, we
recommend that the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank consider granting
Cuba observer status.
8.Oppose Cuba’s Readmission
to the Organization of American States (OAS). Admission to the
OAS is another matter. The OAS and its member states labored long and hard over the last
decade to strengthen the institution’s commitment to democracy as the only legitimate form of
government in the Western Hemisphere and to take on a collective responsibility, as first enunciated
in the Santiago Declaration in June 1991, to defend democracy when it is at risk. We believe
Cuba’s readmission to the OAS now would undermine that important institutional commitment to
democracy. Therefore, until Cuba accepts the democratic disciplines of regular, free elections
embraced by every other nation in the region, we oppose its readmission to the OAS.
ADDITIONAL AND DISSENTING VIEWS BY MEMBERS
On Addressing Lifting the U.S. Embargo
We strongly support the Task Force’s recommendations
but believe that its objectives can be best
achieved by addressing the central issue of U.S.-Cuban relations: the embargo.
The current U.S. embargo obstructs humanitarian
aid and obscures the failure of the Cuban government’s
economic policies, which is the central cause of the very significant human suffering in Cuba today. The
new president has a historic opportunity to work with a new Congress to lift the embargo, specifically all
restrictions on trade and travel, and he should be encouraged to do so.
We agree with the report’s conclusion, however,
that the ban on American investment should be treated
differently. It should only be lifted as the Cuban government allows Cuban citizens to participate in the
Cuban economy through direct employment, business ownership, and other economic rights.
María de Lourdes Duke
Micho Fernandez Spring
On Travel and People-to-People Exchanges
There are two reasons why, in spite of some
differences in tone and even in content, I am willing to sign
this report. One is that it properly assumes that the task before us is to devise a policy for the middle and
longer term, taking as a given the biological fact of Fidel Castro’s mortality. The other is that the report
largely frees us from the trap of waiting for reciprocity from Havana. That will never come under the
present regime. A proper U.S. policy toward Cuba takes its point of departure from the notion that we
know what we want. Whether the current government of Cuba—which after all has never been
elected—wants it too should properly be a matter of indifference to us. As we are not omnipotent, or
even "hegemonic," we may not get where we want to go, but that should not stop us from identifying and
using the many assets we do possess.
Cuba is a very special Latin American country.
Although supposedly very nationalistic, it is nonetheless
permanently fascinated by and attracted to the United States—our culture, our institutions, our way of life.
Indeed, I would not be a bit surprised to see the next government in Cuba, or the ones that follow it,
among the most pro-U.S. in the island’s history. The parts of the report with which I am most in sympathy
are the ones that seek to build upon the preternatural disposition toward friendliness and admiration that
exist among broad sectors of the Cuban people (and, for all we can know, may even seep up into the
lower rungs of the political and military leadership).
I likewise believe that any effort to increase
the contact between Cubans on the island and their relatives in
the United States is bound to serve our common long-term purposes, by providing the Cuban people with
a more complete and accurate view of the world outside, puncturing the walls of propaganda and
disinformation behind which the Cuban people are forced to dwell.
For the same reason I now find myself favorably
disposed to the notion of lifting the ban on tourist travel.
Quite apart from the fact that the ban itself is becoming increasingly difficult to enforce thousands of
Americans visit the island each year illegally by traveling through third countries, for many years to come
Cuba will be in no position to provide hostelling for the number of Americans that will want to visit. This
means that our people will have to stay in Cuban homes. This will provide a source of independent hard
currency income for many families, with the potential to create alternative poles of economic power in a
society where the government uses scarcity as a primary tool of domination.
Although this report recommends an end to the
ban on travel by all Americans to Cuba and increased
exchanges across fields, as a matter of emphasis, I believe it is important to stress expanded cultural
activities and exchanges. This includes exhibitions, historic preservation, literature and poetry, theater,
media arts, photography, dance, opera, musical presentations, both classical and modern, architectural
design, and the graphic arts, as well as facilitating the expansion of people-to-people programs that
include travel from and to Cuba by artists and students as well as presenting exhibitions and
performances. Moreover, I wish to emphasize that outside of the realm of business, on the one hand, or
federal funding, on the other, there is a vast realm of society itself that should be engaged in supporting
exchanges and contacts of this nature.
People-to-people contacts are desirable only
if they help level the playing field between the Cuban people
and the Cuban government. Allowing unrestricted travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens under existing conditions
in Cuba would overwhelmingly benefit the Cuban government at the expense of the Cuban people. The
government owns all hotels. Cubans who work in the tourism sector cannot be paid directly or in hard
currency. Instead, their wages are paid to the Cuban government, which then exchanges the hard currency
into Cuban pesos at the artificial exchange rate of one peso for one dollar. Since the real exchange rate is
about 20 pesos to the dollar, the Cuban government keeps approximately 95 cents of every dollar spent
on hotels, food and entertainment. Finally, people-to-people contact is limited by the fact that the Cuban
government practices "tourism apartheid." Cubans cannot frequent the hotels or use the beaches on which
they are located—a policy aimed at keeping foreigners segregated from the vast majority of Cubans on
the island. If and when the Cuban government rescinds the above-mentioned practices, I would favor
allowing any U.S. citizen wishing to visit Cuba to do so.
Susan Kaufman Purcell
On Federal Funding for NGOs
There should be no federal funding of NGOs
operating in Cuba. Such funding automatically compromises
the independence of the recipients. The Castro regime will seek every opportunity to portray ostensibly
private organizations as nothing more than tools of the U.S. government, and this provision makes it more
likely that such a campaign of vilification will be believed by the Cuban people.
Ted Galen Carpenter
On Independent Trade Unions and Labor Rights
While I share some of the concerns expressed
by colleagues on the Task Force regarding relationships
with Cuban authorities, I believe the report has succeeded in its objective of making recommendations
that do not require any fundamental change in the status of the embargo. In concurring with the general
policy thrust of the report, however, I would also make some additional comments consistent with the
AFL-CIO Resolution of October 8, 1999, on Food and Medicine to Cuba, which has been distributed to
members of the Task Force.
In promoting conditions for a peaceful transition
to democracy in Cuba, we must also have realistic
expectations and measurements for progress toward the legal recognition of independent labor unions, the
release of political prisoners, the legalization of opposition political parties and the holding of free and fair
elections, among other steps necessary to bring about such a transition. If these steps were not to
materialize within a reasonable period of time, reasonable people might well conclude that the basic
assumption of the Task Force’s approach was wrong.
The study of labor rights is well conceived,
but it would be significantly strengthened with an active role by
the International Labor Organization and by a serious commitment to follow through on whatever
recommendations it might produce, as is implied by the recommendation in the last sentence for the
administration to discuss implementation measures.
In discussing labor rights elsewhere in the
document, too much emphasis is placed on the efficacy of
corporate codes of conduct in protecting the rights of workers, particularly freedom of association and
collective bargaining. The world has a universal standard on labor rights and their implementation. They
are ILO Conventions and core labor standards. They need to be enforced, in Cuba and everywhere else
in the world.
I support the insistence on labor rights. This
is one of the few instances where the report actually demands
something from the regime.
On Observer Status at the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank
I support the recommendation that Cuba be given
observer status at the World Bank and the
Inter-American Development Bank so long as this status is offered with the agreement by the governing
bodies of both institutions that Cuba would not be granted full membership until it conducts free and fair
democratic multiparty elections.
Susan Kaufman Purcell
Micho Fernandez Spring
One of the principal objectives of the report
is to do nothing that would have "the primary effect of
consolidating or legitimizing the status quo on the island." But in fact membership in such organizations is
avidly sought by the present government to satisfy just that purpose. The Lomé organization, mentioned in
the text, is a case in point. If economic education is what we seek, let Cuba—which already has an
Interests Section in Washington—send some of its diplomats across town to "observe."
The Task Force is correct to note that the
Castro government has permitted some economic
reforms—reforms forced by the loss of Soviet subsidies, not because of a fundamental change in Mr.
Castro’s philosophy. The problem on the island is the denial of freedom to the Cuban people, not a failure
to "expos[e] Cuba to the norms and practices" of International Financial Institutions (IFIs). The Cuban
diaspora has shown its ability to prosper when it has been allowed to operate in a free society. The
difference between Cubans on the island and those in exile is in the conditions under which the two parts
of the Cuban community are able to conduct economic activities. Further, it is the Castro regime that
would be given "observer status," not a freely chosen Cuban government. World Bank and IDB observer
status (and ultimately membership) should be predicated on a democratic Cuba.
On Developing Further Military-to-Military Contacts
Part of the constructive contribution to the
Cuba debate made by the Task Force is its effort to look
beyond the Castro regime and propose policy changes that do not "have the primary effect of
consolidating, or appearing to legitimize, the political status quo on the island." The recommendation to
develop military-to-military contacts does not contribute to this objective. Mr. Castro’s rule is based on
the concept of a mobilized society and a strong centralized state directed by a vanguard party. The Cuban
military (FAR) is a fundamental component of this vanguard. Control over the military is maintained by
individual loyalty to Mr. Castro, the continuation of the party organization and focus on political education
within the military, and the professionalization of the FAR. Arguably, the professionalization of the military
is a double-edged sword for the regime, contributing to regime loyalty but also creating an atmosphere in
which a separate identity can be developed while gestures of loyalty are mimicked. As one authority on
the Cuban military noted, "the regime’s dilemma is in discerning among the true believers, the sycophants,
and the survivors." That, however, is also the dilemma confronting any U.S. engagement with the FAR,
which remains an instrument of the Castro government, with loyalty to the Castro brothers still the
dominant criteria for leadership. At most the United States should continue the routine military-to-military
contacts related to the U.S. presence on Guantánamo and continue licensing meetings between Cuban
military officials and civilian, non-U.S. government military experts and former U.S. military officials.
Further, the U.S. government should make clear, using Radio and TV Martí, our willingness to engage
with the military of a democratic Cuba. It should not expand—or endeavor to
expand—military-to-military contacts with an instrument of the current Cuban government. This only
serves to legitimize the regime.
I endorse the main thrust of the Task Force
report and most of its recommendations, particularly those
that seek to reach ordinary Cubans and non-governmental segments of Cuban society in the private sector
and in a nascent, repressed civil society. I cannot, however, endorse those recommendations that focus on
upgrading contacts with institutions that are instruments of state power, particularly the section that
recommends military-to-military contacts. While such contacts might be helpful if—as is posited in the
report—they reached younger officers, they are more likely—in reality—to be the basis for travel and
exchanges between our military with segments of the Cuban intelligence community.
Susan Kaufman Purcell
Micho Fernandez Spring
The report would expand contacts with regime
officials, notably the military. But this is based on a
misreading of the experience in Central Europe, where the agents of change were not officials but
opponents of the regime—Protestant clergy in East Germany, Solidarity and the Church in Poland,
dissident intellectuals in Czechoslovakia. Purging the Party hacks from their institutions (academia,
judiciary, professions, the military) has been the key to their progress. Expanding exchange with the
Cuban military is particularly inappropriate. It is impossible for us to pretend to be sending signals for
change of the regime while consorting with the security organs that maintain it. Ostracism will have better
pedagogical value than seminars at Harvard.
On Continuing Counternarcotic Contacts
There should be no cooperation on counternarcotics
efforts. It is bad enough to endorse any new
initiatives in Washington's futile and increasingly disruptive "supply side" war on drugs. Even supporters of
the prohibitionist strategy, though, should oppose collaboration with Cuban authorities. Joint measures
between U.S. and Cuban agencies help legitimize the role of the Cuban military and, even worse, the
Castro regime's internal security apparatus. The report recommends not only exchanges of information but
"exchanges of personnel" between the two countries. Such collaboration sends precisely the wrong
message to the Cuban people who view, correctly, the military and the internal security agencies as
Castro's instruments of repression. A cautious dialogue with the Cuban military may be appropriate, but
the Task Force Report should oppose more tangible linkages with the military and should oppose even
opening a dialogue with the internal security bureaucracy.
Ted Galen Carpenter
I am wholly unpersuaded that Cuba is honestly
interested in stemming the flow of drug traffic to the United
States. The evidence, indeed, of Cuban involvement in transshipment and money-laundering is so
significant as to make this subject a nonstarter.
Susan Kaufman Purcell
On Regional Cooperation on Colombia
Whatever the government of Colombia may publicly
say about Cuba’s apparent support of the peace
process, it is doubtful to me that the current Cuban government favors any outcome there even vaguely
similar to that which we and other democratic "friends of Colombia" would wish to see.
I see no utility in inviting the Cuban government
to become involved in peace efforts in Colombia. If Cuba
has leverage with the rebels, these are derived from its support or encouragement of their activities. If this
is the case, Cuba deserves no place at the negotiating table.
Susan Kaufman Purcell
Micho Fernandez Spring
On Facilitating a Resolution of Property Claims
The Task Force Report outlines an imaginative
approach for beginning to resolve the certified claims of
U.S. corporations who lost assets long ago, when Cuba expropriated nearly all private property.
I believe the time is at hand to go further,
and establish an orderly process for resolving the claims of
Cuban Americans who later became U.S. citizens and, in the process, were deprived of their property by
the Castro regime. Under traditional legal doctrines, the United States would not espouse the claims of
persons who were not citizens when their property was taken. Traditional legal doctrines should not apply
to Cuban Americans. In recent years, the United States has extended its moral authority, and its legal
system, to victims of World War II who were not citizens when they suffered and died. Cuban Americans
deserve no less.
In my view, an orderly process should build
on four principles. First, the United States should espouse
money compensation for Cuban Americans, not the physical return of their real estate. Second, the
amount of money compensation for each claimant should be adjudicated by a claims settlement
commission, to minimize delay and legal fees. Third, the United States should insist on realistic funding
mechanisms, as it normalizes relations with Cuba, so that the principal and interest on claims can be paid
within 10 years. Finally, this new process should supercede Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, once
normal relations are established with a new Cuba.
I believe the time is not yet ripe for settling
outstanding disputes, but if certified claimants want to waste
their time and resources talking to the present government, we should place no obstacle in their way. In
the unlikely eventuality that they manage to resolve their claims now, no harm done. As to encouraging
new U.S. investment, the notion that Cuba might—under the present political system—reduce (to what
extent?) the role of the state in the hiring process is completely unrealistic and politically naïve. It is a
contingency not even worth considering.
The Task Force is to be commended for its attempt
to address the complicated issue of expropriated
properties. The report is correct in noting that a resolution of property claims "is not inconsistent with
Helms-Burton," noting the agreement reached on the ITT property claim with the Italian phone company
STET. Helms-Burton, however, was not premised upon an American property claimant’s direct
partnership with a Cuban government entity. Hence the agreement between ITT and STET, not ITT and
the Cuban government. More significantly, the recommendation raises a potentially troubling precedent: in
effect, it rewards the government that expropriated the property, leaving the individual property claimant in
a position to negotiate the best deal with little or no leverage. The difference between the Helms-Burton
remedy and this recommendation is that, under Helms-Burton, two litigants would appear before an
impartial court as equals; under the Task Force recommendation, the American claimants would be going
to Cuba as supplicants to an entity that is not only partial, but is actually an agent of the entity that took the
property in the first place. This recommendation, while a topic for further discussion, raises a number of
questions relevant to broader U.S. interests regarding Cuba and the protection of international property
rights. In the absence of resolving such broader questions, I am concerned that the recommendation
comes closer to legitimizing extortion than ratifying the rights of property claimants.
Susan Kaufman Purcell
The report proposes allowing the settlement
of expropriation claims in exchange for equity interest in joint
ventures. This is a clever way to open a loophole in the embargo if one is looking for clever ways to open
loopholes in the embargo. I am not. Easing the embargo on investment was supposed to be outside the
scope of this inquiry. More important, it is something to be held in reserve until the regime enters some
kind of transitional phase and there is a positive trend to reinforce. In the meantime, it is only a unilateral
erosion of the U.S. position.
On the General Limitations of the Report
The Task Force's new report is more the product
of impatience than of analysis. Two years ago, it
produced a first report which went further than I thought made sense. Since then, nothing significant has
happened except that the Elián González case has led (perhaps misled) some to conclude that the
domestic political clout of the anti-Castro Cuban Americans has been broken. Those who are eager to
restore ties with Cuba undoubtedly sensed an opportunity.
But the Castro regime remains as it was two
years ago—a petty fascist dictatorship. This is not a regime
in its Gorbachev or Khatemi phase but in its Stalinist period. Any idea that the measures in this report will
foster political change are an illusion.
Be that as it may, I continue to support (as
I did in the last report) humanitarian measures that may expand
the freedom of action of Cubans on the island, including economically, and that expand the freedom of
action of Cuban Americans to exert influence there. The Basket One measures look good. I am agnostic
about Basket Two, though a bit skeptical that they will have the leavening effect that is hoped for.
Basket Three and Four are, for the most part,
misconceived. The Task Force is pledged to avoid
proposals that would challenge the embargo or legitimize the Castro regime. It has not been faithful to that
I refrain from endorsing this report due to
my doubts that the statement of principle guiding the Task
Force was satisfactorily honored. First, I believe that certain key recommendations that would significantly
alter U.S. policy toward Cuba were not reasonably proven as leading to, "rapid, peaceful, democratic
change in Cuba while safeguarding the vital interests of the United States." In fact, if some of these policies
were implemented, the economic and political control of the current totalitarian government of Cuba might
be significantly enhanced, therefore, actually hindering the Cuban people's ability to attain a favorable and
rapid solution to their present predicament.
Second, my overall dissatisfaction with the
methodology that guided the decision-making process within
the Task Force's working sessions. As a result, key recommendations were ultimately included in the
report despite the absence of an in-depth discussion based on factual information. Some were discussed
in a hurry, most were approached with no background data or supporting materials to benefit Task Force
members, especially those who lack expertise in certain areas within the scope of the report.
Third, my disappointment with a lack of focus
on objectively accounting for the actual effects of recent
U.S. policy changes, especially those linked to the Task Force's prior recommendations. As a result, I did
not find evidence that events in Cuba since the publishing of the first report have demonstrated that certain
unconditional, unilateral, policy actions on the part of the United States have advanced democratic change
and, thus, merit further unilateral concessions in these areas.
Finally, I find Basket Three, "Security," particularly
troubling for its seeming implication that Cuba no
longer poses a threat to the security of the United States and thus, merits increasing and friendly
cooperation by our country. A more informed and balanced analysis of the non-conventional threats Cuba
poses or may pose in the post-Cold War era was sorely lacking. Important issues such as Cuba's
biochemical warfare capability, its continued harboring of international terrorists and fugitives from U.S.
justice, and its ongoing participation in hemispheric subversion and drug trafficking were not addressed.
The recommendations on security, thus, seem naïve, if not altogether deficient and misguided.
Notwithstanding the above, I overall support
and endorse the stated intentions of this Task Force and the
dedication of each one of its members and facilitators to its explicit goals. Importantly, I believe in a policy
of selective/conditional engagement to advance a timely transition to democracy in Cuba and I trust that all
who seek freedom for Cuba will continue to work in good faith to develop the right policies to help bring
ADDITIONAL AND DISSENTING VIEWS BY OBSERVERS 
On the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act
I concur with the general policy thrust of
the Task Force and believe the recommendations in this report
will serve to advance United States policy to Cuba in a bipartisan fashion. The report makes an
appropriate departure from the 1999 report in recognizing that members of Congress must play a
significant role in the formulation of Cuba policy. The policy recommendations contained in the report
provide a foundation for greater coordination with the Executive branch in an area of elevated
While the report pointedly notes the shortcomings
of legislation recently enacted to lift food and medicine
sanctions on Cuba, it fails to acknowledge, on balance, the significance of this measure in advancing
overall U.S.-Cuban relations. The Act prohibits the extension of U.S. government or commercial credit
Cuba for sales, while explicitly allowing third-country financing or sales with cash in advance. Criticism of
this provision is misleading since in 1999, the Task Force recommended that the president "authoriz[e] all
necessary financial transactions for cash payments on a noncredit basis." The Act goes no further than this
Any constraint of the president's ability to
pursue greater people-to-people contacts will be relatively
slight, as the codification of existing regulations protects travel-related transactions for all of the following
activities: family visits, official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments and intergovernmental
organizations, journalistic activity, professional research, educational activities, religious activities, public
performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions and exhibitions, support for the Cuban
people, humanitarian projects, activities of private foundations or educational institutes. An additional
category of travel is even created to allow commercial exports of agricultural commodities. The examples
of potentially restricted activities cited in the report are truly at the fringe of desirable people-to-people
activities. The legislative history further indicates that the authors of the Act did not intend to derogate
from current law or the flexibility provided for in existing regulations.
This Act supersedes the requirements of the
Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act that would
have required regime change before any modification to the embargo could be effected. As such, the
enactment of this measure represents a significant, bipartisan shift toward limited engagement with Cuba
and an opening that can not be easily reversed. Food and medicine sanctions on Cuba may only be
reimposed at the request of the president and by an affirmative vote of both the House and the Senate.
We do well to call for changes in U.S. policy,
but we must also acknowledge that more dramatic change
is unlikely unless the Cuban government demonstrates reciprocity. A new consensus is emerging, but will
only be sustained if Cuba can demonstrate in good faith that it is willing to entertain additional contact with
the United States.
Robert R. Neal
On the General Limitations of the Report
The goal of the original Task Force report,
the thrust of which I generally supported, was to lay aside the
debate over the efficacy of the Cuban embargo, and work to find consensus on ways the United States
could reach out to the Cuban people and support Cuban civil society in preparation for a post-Castro
Unfortunately, in its second report the Task
Force has strayed from this guiding principle. It advocates a
lifting of the embargo on tourism in Cuba, lifting of all restrictions on food and medicine sales, and a
proposal to resolve expropriation claims by giving U.S. businesses equity interest in foreign joint ventures
(which, as Peter Rodman rightly points out, is a backchannel way to permit direct U.S. investment in
Cuba). For these reasons, the new report is very disappointing.
The framework of U.S. Cuba policy should be
to isolate the Castro regime, while working to end
Castro’s isolation of the Cuban people, by encouraging programs that foster and support an independent
civil society—not engaging the Cuban government.
First, a point of clarification. I was astounded
to read the following statement in the introduction of the
report: "In March 2000, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) worked
with GOP colleagues to include in an authorizations bill an amendment ending sanctions on the sale of
food and medicine to Cuba." As I made clear in a Task Force meeting, Senator Helms opposed the
amendment in question. He let it through his Committee only because the votes were not there to defeat it,
but worked (successfully) with Republican leaders in the House and Senate to ensure it did not become
law until further restrictions were added. Why the Task Force staff felt the need to give the false and
misleading impression that Senator Helms supports ending all sanctions on the sale of food and medicine
to Cuba is a mystery to me—and unnecessarily undermines the credibility of the entire report.
As the Report notes, the compromise language
that became law this year prevents any government credits
or private financing of sales to Cuba, and codifies the U.S. travel ban on Cuba. Tightening the travel ban
in exchange for a minimal easing of restrictions on food and medicine sales was, in the end, a good
As a result of this codification of the travel
embargo, the Task Force recommendation of lifting of the U.S.
tourism travel ban is essentially moot. This is a good thing. Cuba practices tourism apartheid, and ordinary
Cubans are not permitted anywhere near the exclusive hotels and resorts where Western tourists
stay—unless they are employed there or are selling their bodies. Allowing U.S. tourists to flood Cuba’s
beaches and resorts would have done nothing more to encourage democratic change than tourists visiting
South Africa’s "Sun City" resort contributed to ending apartheid.
As for federal funding of NGOs for people-to-people
exchanges, the U.S. government already spends $5
million a year to assist NGOs working to promote democracy in Cuba. This program, which is specifically
targeted at supporting an independent civil society in Cuba and those working for democratic change,
should be continued and expanded. But the U.S. government should by no means provide funding for
programs with Cuban government institutions—such as exchanges with Cuba’s official "trade unions" and
environmental groups the Task Force suggests—which would do nothing to help Cubans build an
independent civil society. U.S. tax dollars should be used to support groups seeking to create space for
Cubans outside the Cuban state—not to support programs of the Cuban state.
I agree with those who dissent from the recommendations
for military-to-military contacts and
counternarcotics contacts. These violate the Task Force’s principle of not recommending any change in
policy that has the primary effect of consolidating, or appearing to legitimize the Cuban regime. The United
States certainly could and should develop innovative ways to reach out to the junior officers in the Cuban
military, and make them aware of the experience of the militaries in Central European nations (who did not
fire on the crowds when change came, and were as a result given a place of honor in the new democratic
society). There are many ways this could be done: through NGOs, use of the international mail, and
creative new programming on Radio Martí. Unfortunately, the Task Force has not recommended any
such measures. Instead it has recommended cooperation with the Cuban military—measures that would
be used by Castro to legitimize his regime.
The proposals on labor rights have merit, and
are unique among the report’s recommendations in that they
actually require something of the Cuban regime. But the recommendations to give Cuba observer status at
the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank are misguided—like other recommendations for
government-to-government collaboration—because they do not. All of these concessions to the
government should be held back and used as leverage for the time when Castro is gone, and a transitional
regime will be searching for ways to negotiate an end to Cuba’s isolation in exchange for real democratic
Sadly, the Task Force expanded too much effort
on proposals aimed at convincing the Cuban
establishment of the merits of Western democracy, capitalism and culture. Instead, we should be
developing proposals for ways in which the United States can do in Cuba what it did in Central
Europe—support those who are working to promote democracy and create a free society within the
decaying shell of Castro’s totalitarian system.
 U.S.-Cuban Relations in the 21st Century:
Report of an Independent Task Force Sponsored by the
Council on Foreign Relations (New York, NY: Council on Foreign Relations, January 1999), p. 10.
 See recommendations from our first Task Force report in Appendix I, Ibid., pp. 12-28.
 "Cuba Short Term Detention and Harassment
of Dissidents," Amnesty International Report AMR
25/04/00 (New York, NY: Amnesty International, March 30, 2000), p .2.
 Inter-American Press Association General Assembly Declaration, Santiago, Chile, October 2000.
 In favor: Argentina, Canada, Chile, Czech
Republic, El Salvador, France, Germany, Guatemala, Italy,
Japan, Latvia, Luxembourg, Morocco, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Spain,
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America. Against: Bhutan,
Burundi, China, Cuba, India, Indonesia, Liberia, Madagascar, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Republic of
Congo, Russian Federation, Sudan, Tunisia, Venezuela, Zambia. Abstaining: Bangladesh, Botswana,
Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Mauritius, Mexico, Nepal, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Senegal, Sri Lanka,
Switzerland. Source: United Nations, "Commission on Human Rights Report on the Fifty–Sixth session
Part II, 20 March-28 April 2000," (July 21, 2000), pp. 60-61.
 Defense Intelligence Agency, "The Cuban
Threat to U.S. National Security," April 22, 1998. The DIA
coordinated with the National Intelligence Council, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security
Agency and the Intelligence and Research Bureau at the State Department.
 Our first report was guided by this basic
statement of principle: "No change in U.S. policy toward
Cuba should have the primary effect of consolidating or legitimizing the status quo on the island. On the
other hand, every aspect of U.S. foreign and economic policy toward Cuba should be judged by a very
pragmatic standard: whether it contributes to rapid, peaceful, democratic change in Cuba while
safeguarding the vital interests of the United States." U.S.-Cuban Relations in the 21st Century: Report of
an Independent Task Force Sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations, New York: Council on
Foreign Relations, 1999, p. 10.
 Section 515.201(b )(1) of the Cuban Assets Control Regulations.
 The ILO adopts international labor standards
in the form of Conventions and Recommendations
setting minimum standards on fundamental labor rights: freedom of association and the right to collective
bargaining, elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labor, effective abolition of child labor,
elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation, and other standards regulating
conditions across the entire spectrum of work related issues. Source: International Labor Organization,
ILO: What it Does (Geneva, Switzerland: 2000), p. 2.
 All Task Force Observers other than those
in the executive branch were given the opportunity to
submit written comments. The absence of such comments by some observers does not imply either their
endorsement or dissent from the report of specific recommendations contained herein.
TASK FORCE MEMBERS
ALLEN R. ADLER is a private investor in the
securities markets and the communications/media industry.
In addition, he is a Trustee of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the World Policy Institute, and New York’s
Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, among other non-profit activities, such as the New York Council of
Human Rights Watch, and the Rockefeller University Council. Mr. Adler is a graduate of Princeton’s
Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and has his MBA from Harvard University.
BERNARD W. ARONSON served as Assistant Secretary
of State for Inter-American Affairs from
1989 to 1993, longer than any other holder of that position. Prior to leaving his post, Mr. Aronson was
awarded the State Department’s highest civilian honor, the Distinguished Service Award, by then
Secretary of State Warren Christopher. Mr. Aronson served as International Advisor to Goldman Sachs
& Co. after leaving the State Department, and currently serves as Chairman and Partner of ACON
Investments L.L.C., which manages Newbridge Andean Partners L.P., a private equity fund that makes
direct investments in Latin American companies, primarily in the Andean region.
MARIO L. BAEZA is Chairman & CEO of TCW/Latin
America Partners, L.L.C. and various related
entities. He is the former President of Wasserstein Perella International, Ltd., and a former Associate
Partner in the international law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton. Mr. Baeza is a member of the Board of
Directors of the Council on Foreign Relations and of several other non-profit and for-profit institutions.
TED GALEN CARPENTER is Vice President for Defense
and Foreign Policy Studies at the Cato
Institute in Washington, DC, and is the author or editor of 12 books on international affairs. He holds a
Ph.D. in U.S. Diplomatic History from the University of Texas and is a member of the editorial board of
the Journal of Strategic Studies.
ALBERTO R. COLL, Dean of the Center for Naval
Warfare Studies at the United States Naval War
College, served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Special Operations and
Low-Intensity Conflict) in the Bush Administration. A member of the Virginia Bar, Mr. Coll is the author
of several books and numerous articles in the fields of international relations, national security affairs, and
U.S. policy toward Latin America.
RODOLFO O. DE LA GARZA is Vice President of
the Tomás Rivera Policy Institute and Mike Hogg
Professor of Community Affairs in the Department of Government at the University of Texas at Austin,
and a specialist in ethnic politics. He has authored many journal articles and books on Mexico and the
political influence of Latinos on U.S.-Latin American Relations. He is a member of the Council on Foreign
Relations, the Pacific Council on International Policy, the Overseas Development Council, and the
Hispanic Council on International Affairs.
LULY DUKE is President and Founder of Fundacíon
Amistad, a non-profit organization that works to
increase awareness of Cuban history, culture, and society. Mrs. Duke has also been the Executive Vice
President of the Harbor for Boys and Girls for the past 20 years. She serves on the Board of Directors of
the Child Society Center at New York University, the Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and
Children and Americans for Humanitarian Trade with Cuba. Mrs. Duke also serves on the Advisory
Board for Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba (MEDICC).
MARC FALCOFF is a Resident Scholar at the American
Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
and author of many books and articles on Latin America. He served on the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee in the 99th Congress and has been a Visiting Fellow at both the Hoover Institution and the
Council on Foreign Relations.
DANIEL W. FISK is Deputy Director of the Kathryn
and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International
Studies at the Heritage Foundation, Washington, DC. He formerly served on the senior staffs of the U.S.
Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and the former U.S. House of Representatives Committee on
Foreign Affairs, and in positions at the White House and in the Departments of State and Defense. He is
an Adjunct Fellow with the Center for Strategic and International Studies and chaired the Foreign Claims
Committee of the Section of International Law and Practice of the American Bar Association in 1999.
ALAN H. FLEISCHMANN is Chief of Staff to Maryland
Lt. Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend,
and was formerly Staff Director of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere for the former
Committee on Foreign Affairs (International Relations) of the U.S. Congress. Prior to that, he served as a
Vice-President at Latcorp, Inc. and at Chase Manhattan Bank. He is on the Board of Directors of
OFFITBank, a New York based private bank.
CRAIG FULLER is President and Chief Executive
Officer of the National Association of Chain Drug
Stores. Previously, he was Chairman of Global Board Services and Managing Director of Korn/Ferry
International, Vice Chairman of Burson-Marsteller, Senior Vice President for Corporate Affairs at Phillip
Morris, and President of Hill & Knowlton. He also served for eight years in the White House during the
PETER HAKIM is President of the Inter-American
Dialogue. He authors a regular column for the
Christian Science Monitor on Western Hemisphere relations and on political and economic
developments in Latin America and the Caribbean. He serves on boards and advisory committees for the
World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the State Department, Human Rights Watch, the
International Center for Research on Women, and Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr.
Hakim was Vice President of the Inter-American Foundation and Program Officer at the Ford
GARY HUFBAUER is Reginald Jones Scholar at
the Institute for International Economics starting in
1992. Dr. Hufbauer served as the Maurice R. Greenberg Chair and Director of Studies at the Council on
Foreign Relations (1997-98). He was previously Professor of International Financial Diplomacy and
Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Treasury Department. Dr. Hufbauer has published many books on
international economic integration, telecommunications, tax, and sanctions issues.
ADRIAN KARATNYCKY is President of Freedom House,
a non-partisan, non-profit organization that
promotes democracy, civil society, and the rule of law, and monitors democratic change, political rights,
and civil liberties throughout the world. He coordinates Freedom in the World, the Annual Survey of
Political Rights and Civil Liberties. Mr. Karatnycky previously worked for the AFL-CIO focusing on the
former Soviet Union and has written extensively on east European and post-Soviet issues.
WENDY W. LUERS, President and founder of The
Foundation for a Civil Society, New York, is also
the founder, consultant and Steering Committee member of the Project on Justice in Times of Transition, a
inter-faculty conflict resolution project at Harvard University. In addition, she was a journalist and serves
on many non-profit and for-profit boards.
JAY MAZUR, President of the Union of Needletrades,
Industrial and Textile Employees (UNITE), is a
member of the Executive Council of the AFL-CIO and chairs its International Relations Committee. He is
Chairman of the Amalgamated Bank of New York and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations
and the Trilateral Commission.
PHILIP PETERS is Vice President of the Lexington
Institute, where he publishes research and analysis of
Cuba’s economy and U.S. policy. He served in the State Department during the Reagan and Bush
SUSAN KAUFMAN PURCELL is Vice President of
the Americas Society in New York City. She was
Senior Fellow and Director of the Latin American Project at the Council on Foreign Relations (1981-88).
She also served at the U.S. State Department’s Policy Planning Staff, with responsibility for Latin
America and the Caribbean (1980-81). Dr. Purcell was a Professor of political science at the University
of California, Los Angeles. She is a Director of Valero Energy Corporation, The Argentina Fund, and the
Scudder Global High Income Fund, and sits on the Boards of the Council for the Advancement of
Democracy, Freedom House and the Women’s Foreign Policy Group. Dr. Purcell is a co-editor and
co-author of books on Latin America and the Caribbean.
PETER W. RODMAN, Director of National Security
Programs at The Nixon Center, has served as a
Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and as Director of the State Department
Policy Planning Staff. He is on the Boards of Freedom House and of the World Affairs Council of
WILLIAM D. ROGERS is Senior Partner at Arnold
& Porter and also Vice Chair at Kissinger
Associates. Mr. Rogers was formerly Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs and Under
Secretary of State for International Economic Affairs. In addition, he served on the Law Faculty of
Cambridge University and he has served on the Board of Directors at the Council on Foreign Relations.
MICHO F. SPRING was formerly Deputy Mayor of
Boston. In addition, she serves as Co-Chair of
Catholic Charities Caritas Cubana Committee and on the Boards of Brigham and Women’s Hospital,
Partners Health Care and Catholic Charities and is a Director at Citizens Bank of Massachusetts.
MARIA C. WERLAU is President and founder of
Orbis International S.A., specializing in diverse
advisory services and international relocation in Latin America. Formerly a Second Vice President at
Chase Manhattan Bank, Ms. Werlau has a Bachelors and Masters degree in International Relations. She
has extensively written economic issues, U.S.-Cuba policy, and human rights.
ALEXANDER F. WATSON, Vice President for International
Conservation at the Nature Conservancy
in Arlington, Virginia, was a career Foreign Service Officer for more than 30 years. He completed his
service as Ambassador to Peru, Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, and Assistant
Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs. He also served as President of the Pan American
TASK FORCE OBSERVERS
FULTON T. ARMSTRONG has been the National Intelligence
Officer for Latin America since June
2000. Previously he served as Chief of Staff of the Directorate of Central Intelligence Crime and
Narcotics Center; two terms as a Director for Inter-American Affairs at the National Security Council
(1995-97 and 1998-99), and as Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Latin America (1997-98).
Before that, he held various analytical and policy positions, including political-economic officer at the U.S.
Interests Section in Havana, and was on the staff of Rep. Jim Leach (R-Iowa).
NADINE BERG is a Legislative Assistant for Congressman José E. Serrano.
JEFFREY DELAURENTIS is Chief of the Political
/Economic Section of the U.S. Interests Section in
Havana, Cuba. A career Foreign Service Officer since 1991, he had an earlier posting in Havana and has
also served at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, the National Security Council (Director for
Inter-American Affairs focusing on Cuba) and as Executive Assistant to the Acting Assistant Secretary for
Western Hemisphere Affairs. Prior to 1991, he was on the staff of the Council on Foreign Relations.
PAULA J. DOBRANSKY, Vice President and Director
of the Washington Office of the Council on
Foreign Relations, was formerly Associate Director for Policy and Programs at the United States
Information Agency, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights an Humanitarian Affairs,
Director of European and Soviet Affairs at the National Security Council, the White House.
EDWARD H. EDENS IV has been a Professional
Staff Member for the Senate Armed Services
Committee since January 1999. Previously he served as Deputy Staff Director for the Senate Committee
on Rules and Administration from (1995-99) and as a member of Senator John Warner’s personal staff
BOB FILIPPONE is the National Security Advisor
to Senator Bob Graham (D-Flor.). Prior to joining
Senator Graham's staff, he worked in the Office of the Secretary of Defense; the Bureau of Intelligence
and Research at the Department of State; was a Missile Systems Engineer at the Raytheon Company; and
has taught international relations at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.
J. BRENT GIBADLO is Legislative Assistant in
the office of Congressman Mark Sanford (R-S.C.). He
currently serves as the Congressman’s liaison to the House of Representatives Committee on International
Relations, along with the Sub-Committees on Asia and the Pacific and the Western Hemisphere.
LEE H. HAMILTON is Director of the Woodrow
Wilson International Center for Scholars. Previously,
Mr. Hamilton served as a United States Congressman from Indiana for 34 years. During his tenure he
served in many capacities as a member of the former Committee on Foreign Affairs (International
Relations) and Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence,
Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress, and Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms
Transactions with Iran. Mr. Hamilton has been honored through numerous awards in public service and
human rights and university honorary degrees.
CARYN HOLLIS is a Director for Inter-American
Affairs, National Security Council. Ms. Hollis is on a
rotational assignment from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, where she served as the Acting
Principal Director of the Inter-American Region, from May until December 1999. Ms. Hollis joined the
Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict office of Inter-American Affairs in 1998 as the Deputy Director
for South America. Prior, Ms. Hollis worked for the Defense Intelligence Agency between (1985-98),
focusing on the analysis of Latin American political and military affairs.
ALAN HOWARD is a writer and also assistant
to the president of UNITE. He has written about
U.S.-Latin American relations for the New York Times Magazine, The Nation and public television.
BERNARD CARDINAL LAW has been Archbishop of
Boston since 1984 and a Member of numerous
councils and congregations on migration, culture, and spiritual development. The Archbishop has served
on the Boards of Trustees of Catholic University and the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
He has served other congregations in Mississippi and Missouri.
GORDON LEDERMAN is a member of Arnold &
Porter’s Public Policy/Legislative Group and
practices in the fields of government relations (focusing on national security issues), litigation, and
international arbitration. Previously, he clerked for the Honorable Robert E. Cowen of the Third Circuit
Court of Appeals. Mr. Lederman authored Reorganizing the Joint Chiefs of Staff: The
Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986. He is a magna cum laude graduate of both Harvard College and
Harvard Law School.
TAUNYA MCLARTY is Legislative Counsel to Senator
John Ashcroft (R-Mo.) and has been pivotal in
drafting and pushing through Congress legislative initiatives on trade, most recently, a proposal to lift the
embargo on agricultural and medical exports to five countries. She has spoken at numerous conferences
on trade policy and has published six law review articles focusing on U.S. trade policy. Ms. McLarty has
a Masters of Law from Georgetown University School of Law, specialized on international trade.
ROBERT R. NEAL, Senior Legislative Assistant
in the office of Congressman George R. Nethercutt Jr.
(R-Wash.), worked on recent legislation to lift food and medicine sanctions on Cuba, along with similar
legislation that blocked the imposition of sanctions on Pakistan in1998. He received his Master of Arts
degree in International Affairs from George Washington University.
BRETT W. O’BRIEN is Senior Foreign and Defense
Policy Adviser to Democratic Leader Rep. Richard
A. Gephardt (D-Mo.). Mr. O’Brien also served as Foreign and Defense Policy Advisor for U.S. Senate
Majority Leader George J. Mitchell (D-Me.). He also worked as Legislative Assistant for foreign policy
and defense matters for Rep. Jim Bates (D-Calif.), and as Foreign Affairs and Defense Analyst at the
Congressional Research Service. Mr. O’Brien received a Bachelors Degree from Harvard University and
a Masters Degree from the London School of Economics.
JANICE O'CONNELL has been a Professional Staff
Member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations
Committee for 23 years and is Senior Foreign Policy Assistant to Senator Christopher J. Dodd
THOMAS E. QUIGLEY is Policy Advisor for Latin
American and Caribbean Affairs at the Catholic
Bishops’ Conference. He has assisted in the drafting of all statements of the U.S. bishops on Cuba, and
has written and spoken widely on church relations in Cuba, most notably around the papal visit of 1998.
CHARLES SHAPIRO, the Coordinator for Cuban
Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, is a career
Foreign Service Officer who has spent the majority of his career at posts in Latin America and the
Caribbean or working on related issues in Washington.
SUSAN SNYDER is the Special Assistant to Ambassador
Wendy Sherman, Counselor of the
Department of State. Ms. Snyder’s portfolio includes Cuba.
MARC A. THIESSEN is Press Spokesman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE 1999 CHAIRMEN’S
REPORT U.S.-CUBAN RELATIONS
IN THE 21ST CENTURY
BASKET ONE: THE CUBAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY
Cuban American remittances to friends, families,
and churches in Cuba are estimated by various sources
at between $400 million and $800 million annually. However measured, this is the island's largest single
source of hard currency. Although it is perfectly normal for developing countries to receive remittances, in
the Cuban political context, the dependence on U.S. dollars sent home by Cuban Americans is a
humiliating badge of failure. Cuba has become a charity case, dependent on handouts from those it has
persecuted, oppressed, or driven away by poverty.
Some voices in the United States argue that,
by enhancing hard-currency holdings in Cuba, remittances
prop up the current regime and prolong the island's agony. This argument is not without merit, but, on
balance, we disagree. First, we share a basic moral and humanitarian concern over easing the suffering of
Cuba's people. Moreover, the success of the Cuban American community is one of the most powerful
factors in promoting change in Cuba. The transfers of money, goods, and medical supplies from Cuban
Americans to friends, family, and religious communities in Cuba are helping create a new group of Cubans
who no longer depend on the state for their means of survival.
Remittances from Cuban Americans help create
small businesses in Cuba and allow hundreds of
thousands of Cubans to improve their lives independent of government control. Furthermore, Cuban
Americans will play an important role in the construction of a postcommunist Cuba. Their national and
global contacts, understanding of market economies, and professional skills will give them a vital role as a
bridge between the United States and Cuba when Cuba rejoins the democratic community.
CUBAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY RECOMMENDATIONS
1.End Restrictions on Humanitarian
Visits. We recommend an end to all restrictions on the
number of humanitarian visits that Cuban Americans are permitted to make each year. The federal
government should not be the judge of how often Cuban Americans, or any other Americans, need
to visit relatives living abroad.
2.Raise the Ceiling on Remittances.
Under current regulations, only Cuban Americans are
permitted to send up to $1,200 per year to family members on the island. We recommend that the
ceiling on annual remittances be increased to $10,000 per household and that all U.S. residents
with family members living in Cuba should be permitted to send remittances to their family members
at this level on a trial basis for 18 months. This policy should continue if the executive, in
consultation with Congress, concludes at the trial period's end that the Cuban regime has not
enacted tax or other regulatory policies to siphon off a significant portion of these funds, and that
this policy furthers the foreign policy interests of the United States.
3.Allow Retirement to Cuba
for Cuban Americans. We recommend that retired and/or disabled
Cuban Americans be allowed to return to Cuba if they choose, collecting Social Security and other
pension benefits to which they are entitled in the United States, and be granted corresponding
4.Promote Family Reunification.
Many members of the Cuban-American community are
concerned about the difficulty their family members in Cuba encounter in getting U.S. visas for
family visits. While commending the efforts of the overworked consular staff in Havana, we believe
it is important that Cuban Americans receive and be seen to receive fair and courteous treatment.
We recommend that the State Department and Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) make
every effort in processing requests at the U.S. Interests Section in Havana to insure that Cuban
citizens wishing to visit family members in the United States face no higher hurdle in obtaining visas
than that faced by family members in other countries wishing to visit relatives in this country. We
recommend that State Department and INS officials meet regularly with representatives of the
Cuban-American community to discuss ways to expedite the determination of eligibility for family
visits to the United States. Later in this report, we recommend an expansion of U.S. consular
services in Cuba.
5.Restore Direct Mail Service.
The 1992 Cuban Democracy Act grants the president the authority
to authorize direct mail service between the United States and Cuba. We recommend that
representatives of the U.S. and Cuban postal services meet to begin restoring direct mail service
between the two countries.
BASKET TWO: THE OPEN DOOR
Since the passage of the 1992 Cuban Democracy
Act, U.S. law has recognized that spreading accurate
and fair information about the outside world in Cuba is an important goal of American foreign policy. The
lack of information about events in Cuba has also enabled the Cuban regime to persecute its own people
with little fear that foreigners will come to their support—or, in some cases, even know what the Cuban
government is doing. Whether through Radio Martí, restoring direct telephone service, or promoting
cultural and academic exchanges, the United States has consistently sought to increase the access of
Cubans to news and information from abroad.
We believe the time has come to significantly
upgrade and intensify these efforts. The Cuban people are
hungry for American and world culture, for contacts with scholars and artists from other countries, for
opportunities to study abroad, for new ideas and fresh perspectives. U.S. policy should encourage these
exchanges and encounters through every available measure.
OPEN DOOR RECOMMENDATIONS
1.Facilitate Targeted Travel.
Despite bureaucratic obstacles erected by both governments, the
exchange of ideas remains one of the most promising areas for genuinely fruitful people-to-people
contact. Since 1995, the United States has significantly cut the red tape surrounding academic
exchanges. We commend that trend and urge the further reduction of restrictions on academic
(undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate) and other exchanges. We recommend that, following
a one-time application, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) grant a "permanent specific
license "to all Americans with a demonstrable professional or other serious interest in traveling to
Cuba for the purpose of engaging in academic, scientific, environmental, health, cultural, athletic,
religious, or other activities. The presumption would be that these applications would normally and
routinely receive approval. 
In 1994, Congress
passed a Sense of Congress resolution stating that "the president should
restrict travel or exchanges for informational, educational, religious, cultural or humanitarian
purposes or for public performances or exhibitions between the United States and any other
country." At the same time, congressional policy toward Cuba has increasingly focused on opening
opportunities for meaningful encounters between American and Cuban citizens. Thus, we
recommend that the OFAC grant easily renewable multiple-entry special licenses to travel agencies
and nongovernmental organizations for structured travel programs available to groups and
individuals for the purposes enumerated by Congress. Individual participants in such travel would
visit Cuba under the organizing agency's license.
is formulated to facilitate a more open relationship between Cubans and
Americans, not to support a Cuban tourism industry currently built on a system that prevents
foreign employers from hiring and paying workers fairly and directly and denies Cuban citizens
access to facilities designated exclusively or foreigners. When and if employers are able to hire and
pay their workers directly, and when the system of "apartheid tourism" ends, we recommend that
the United States consider permitting leisure travel.
2.Allow More Private Visits
of Certain Cuban Officials to the United States. The United States
currently denies visas for travel to the United States by Cuban officials who rank at the ministerial
level and by the 500 deputies of the National Assembly of People's Power. Because of the
positions they now hold and may assume in the future, many such individuals are among those we
believe should have the opportunity to interact with Americans, to experience our system directly,
and to witness the vigor and openness of our own public policy debate. We recommend that the
United States lift its blanket ban on travel to the United States by deputies of the National
Assembly and Cuban cabinet ministers, exercising a presumption of approval for applications from
these officials for travel to the United States, except for those identified by the State Department
who are credibly believed to have directly and personally participated in or ordered grave acts of
repression that violate international law, or who represent a legitimate security concern to the
United States. In making this recommendation we seek to encourage nongovernmental and private
contacts such as those sponsored by U.S. academic institutions. We recognize that this
recommendation risks greater penetration of the United States by Cuban intelligence agencies. We
have confidence in the ability of U.S. national security agencies to guard against this threat, and we
believe that the gains far outweigh the risks. Nevertheless, this danger must be carefully watched
and adjustments in this policy calibrated accordingly.
3.Facilitate Cultural Collaboration
and Performances by Americans in Cuba and by Cubans
in the United States. Since the passage of the 1992 Cuban Democracy Act, there has been a
significant increase in the number of Cuban artists, actors, and musicians traveling to the United
States. Unfortunately, fewer U.S. performers have traveled to Cuba. These exchanges and
activities are vital to any strategy to end the cultural isolation of the Cuban people. Through
simplified visa and license procedures and other mechanisms, the U.S. government should
encourage an increase in these programs. We applaud efforts to date to support such initiatives and
recommend further that the United States encourage collaboration between American and Cuban
artists and allow transactions for the creation of new cultural and/or artistic products. Cuban artists
performing in the United States today are allowed to receive only modest per diem payments to
cover living expenses. We recommend that Cuban artists performing in the United States be
allowed to receive freely negotiated fees from their American hosts. Similarly, American artists
performing in Cuba should be eligible to be paid for their work at reasonable negotiated rates.
4.Protect and Share Intellectual
Property. Currently, Cuba systematically pirates significant
amounts of U.S. cultural and intellectual property, ranging from Hollywood movies broadcast on
Cuban television to computer software used throughout the island. Cuba refuses to consider paying
for this illegal use of intellectual property, citing the U.S. embargo as an excuse. This creates an
awkward situation for the United States. On the one hand, our interest in opening Cuba to outside
influences leads us to encourage and even facilitate Cuba's access to U.S. and other foreign films,
cultural materials, and political and economic literature. On the other hand, the U.S. government
cannot condone theft from U.S. citizens and corporations. Furthermore, we must ensure that Cuba
does not become an international center for the illegal production and redistribution of pirated
intellectual property. We therefore propose that the United States allow and encourage U.S.
companies and artists to guarantee and protect their trademarks and copyrights and to negotiate
permission for Cuba to use their products. We recommend that the U.S. government license and
approve these transactions and authorize companies to spend funds obtained through these
settlements for filming, recording, translation, or other legitimate cultural activities in Cuba.
Likewise, we encourage both governments to regularize and comply with domestic and
international trademark and copyright protection regimes.
5.Pioneer "Windows on the
World." Successful transitions to multiparty systems and market and
mixed market economies in eastern Europe, Spain, Portugal, and Latin America may offer
constructive guideposts to help Cuba's transition occur in as benign a manner as possible. To that
end, the United States should pioneer the creation of a merit- based program for Cubans to study
in American universities and technical training institutes. The program should also include sending
professionals with technical expertise to advise Cuba in the development of institutional mechanisms
that support the emergence of small businesses and private farms. In addition, we recommend that
the United States Information Agency (USIA) invite Cuban government officials (except those
excluded as defined in Basket Two, Item Two) and scholars for its programs that bring foreign
citizens to meet with their peers in and out of government in the United States.
We further recommend
that funds be made available from various public and independent sources,
such as the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for Humanities, the
National Endowment for Democracy, the Fulbright scholarship program, and from private
foundations for university and other programs to support national, regional, and bilateral research
activities involving Cuba. This includes support for new acquisitions by Cuban libraries. In addition,
we recommend that the United States encourage and facilitate direct funding of in-country activities
by private foundations so that their grant-making activities can include direct support to Cuban
research institutions and community organizations. We recommend that the U.S. government
consult with foundation officers and others with expertise in this field to determine a fair and feasible
approach. We note with concern that some academic and other nongovernmental institutions, citing
pressure from the Cuban government, have barred Cuban Americans from participating in existing
exchange programs. Discrimination based on ethnicity or place of origin is a violation of U.S. civil
rights laws. All organizations participating in exchanges or other activities with Cuba should state
clearly that in compliance with U.S. law, they will not discriminate against participants based on
age, race, gender, or national origin.
6.Permit Direct Commercial
Flights. We recommend that the OFAC authorize and license direct
commercial flights to Cuba. Current regulations authorize daily direct charter flights between Miami
and Havana. It is not in the U.S. national interest that non- U.S. carriers capture the entire market
of expanding travel to and from Cuba. We therefore recommend that American commercial airlines
begin to open routes to Havana and perhaps other Cuban cities not only from Miami but from other
major cities and hubs. We recommend also that the United States and Cuba negotiate a civil
aviation agreement to this end.
7.Amend Spending Limits.
Current regulations limit licensed travelers to Cuba to spending no more
than $100 per day, plus transportation and expenses for the acquisition of informational materials,
including artwork. We recommend that the OFAC impose this limit only on spending in
state-owned enterprises and joint ventures.
8.Expand Diplomatic and Consular
Services. The recommendations in this report will greatly
increase demands on the U.S. Interests Section in Cuba. Current U.S. consular services in Cuba
should not be limited to Havana. We recommend that the United States open a subsection of its
Havana consular office in Santiago de Cuba, a step that will also increase our ability to fill the quota
of 5,000 slots available for Cuban political refugees each year. We recommend that the United
States negotiate a reciprocal agreement with Cuba that will allow each country to expand its
consular services to accommodate increased contact between citizens of both countries.
9.Demand Reciprocity in Limitations
on Activities by U.S. and Cuban Diplomats. At present, an
imbalance exists wherein American diplomats in Havana are denied access to government offices,
the courts, the National Assembly, the University, and virtually all official Cuban facilities other than
the Ministry of Foreign Relations. The same is not the case in Washington, where Cuban diplomats
freely walk the halls of Congress, meet with elected representatives, speak at universities, and
otherwise have access to a fairly wide range of American governmental and nongovernmental
representatives. We recommend that the United States and Cuba discuss a reciprocal widening of
the areas of permitted activities for diplomats in both countries.
BASKET THREE: HUMANITARIAN AID
The 1992 Cuban Democracy Act established regulations
addressing the humanitarian needs of the Cuban
population. Since then, the economic crisis has worsened. This basket of recommendations includes
humanitarian measures that will help relieve the suffering of the Cuban people today while building the
basis for a better relationship between Cuba and the United States in the future.
HUMANITARIAN AID RECOMMENDATIONS
1.Institute "Cash and Carry"
for Foods and Medicines. We applaud the intention behind recent
efforts in the Congress and the executive branch to facilitate the increased delivery of humanitarian
aid to Cuba. Recognizing that a consensus is emerging to extend humanitarian aid to benefit the
Cuban people directly, we recommend that the president accelerate and facilitate this process by
eliminating all licensing with respect to donation and sales of food, medicines, and medical products
to nongovernmental and humanitarian institutions such as hospitals, which are nominally state-run
but are not primarily instruments of repression, while authorizing all necessary financial transactions
for cash payments on a noncredit basis. We recommend that the State Department issue a specific
list of repressive institutions that are to be excluded as potential aid recipients or buyers. To
further facilitate donations and sales of food, medicines, and medical products, we recommend that
the United States issue licenses to U.S. private voluntary and religious organizations,
nongovernmental organizations, and businesses to operate distribution centers in Cuba.
Aid. We support American engagement with a wide range of civil
institutions, particularly those in the private sector; e.g., the emerging church-run medical clinics and
humanitarian institutions such as hospitals, which are nominally state-run but are not primarily
instruments of repression. With the support and encouragement of the Congress, the administration
has significantly widened the opening for Americans to launch humanitarian, people-to-people
programs in Cuba. We encourage American local governments and nongovernmental organizations
to "adopt" their Cuban counterparts, whether through church, hospital, school, environmental, or
university programs. The United States should eliminate the need for licenses for humanitarian
donations and shipments, including material aid and cash, and should grant a general license for
related travel. We recommend that the United States impose no limit on the amount of material
donations under such programs, while requiring a license for cash donations above $10,000 per
year by any one American institution to its Cuban counterpart—with the exception of private
foundations, for which we recommend waiving that limit and permitting the grant-making bodies to
use their own institutional criteria to determine in-country funding limits. In the same spirit as that
which underlies the Basket One recommendation regarding family remittances, we recommend the
United States permit American families to adopt and send remittances to Cuban families of up to
$10,000 per year.
3.Allow Cuban Americans to
Claim Relatives as Dependents. Currently American citizens with
dependent relatives living in Canada and Mexico can claim them as dependents for federal income
tax purposes if they meet the other relevant IRS requirements. We recommend an amendment to
U.S. tax laws so that American taxpayers with dependents who are residents of Cuba can also
claim this deduction.
4.Provide Benefits for Families
of Prisoners of Conscience. Under current law, the president may
extend humanitarian assistance to victims of political repression and their families in Cuba. We
recommend that the United States encourage our European and Latin American allies to join with
us to provide support and assistance to family members who, because of their imprisoned relatives'
peaceful political activities, may find themselves denied access to jobs by Cuban authorities or who
have lost the wages of an imprisoned spouse or parent. If it is not possible to deliver the funds to
affected families in Cuba today, we recommend that the funds be paid into interest-bearing
accounts in the United States and elsewhere, free of all tax, to accumulate until such time as the
intended recipients can collect.
BASKET FOUR: THE PRIVATE SECTOR
Private-sector, for-profit business activity
in Cuba by U.S. individuals and corporations raises a number of
difficult issues. To take one example, Cuban labor laws currently require foreign investors to contract
Cuban workers indirectly through the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, a violation of internationally
recognized labor rights. Although there are some minor exceptions to the rule, the overall result of these
requirements is that the foreign investor pays several hundred dollars per month per worker, but the
worker receives no more than a few dollars per month. By allowing the Cuban state to control which
Cubans have access to coveted jobs with foreign investors, the system reinforces the Cuban regime's
control over the lives of the Cuban people.
Until a complete settlement of the claims resulting
from nationalization of private property in Cuba is
reached, U.S. investors in Cuba could conceivably end up buying or profiting from nationalized property
and find their titles or earnings challenged under international law by the original owners. Many trademark
and other intellectual property problems involve the two countries. Cuba's insistence that most foreign
investment take the form of joint ventures in which the Cuban government often retains a controlling
interest is another serious problem, as is the incompatibility of Cuba's legal and financial arrangements with
U.S. trade policy.
In formulating our recommendations about private
U.S. business in Cuba, we once again try to walk a
middle way. These recommendations open a door for Cuba progressively to escape some of the
consequences of the embargo—to the extent that the Cuban government gives Cubans the right to own
and operate their own enterprises, allows foreign companies to hire Cubans directly, and begins to respect
basic internationally recognized labor rights. The recommendations will make clear to the Cuban people
(as well as to other countries) that the chief obstacle to Cuba's economic progress is not U.S. policy but
the Cuban government's hostility toward private property and independent business, its control of the
economy and investment, its persistent appropriation of the lion's share of the wages of working Cubans,
and its unwillingness to allow companies to pay fair wages to their employees or permit them to engage in
free collective bargaining.
PRIVATE SECTOR RECOMMENDATIONS
1.Begin Licensing Some American
Business Activity. We recommend that four limited categories
of American businesses receive licenses to operate in Cuba. The first category—already eligible for
licensing—can generally be described as newsgathering or the procurement of informational
material. The second category relates to supporting licensed travel, including transportation to and
from Cuba and services to assist the private sector, such as paladares and bed and breakfasts, in
capturing the business resulting from increased licensed travel. (Examples of this type of business
are guides and Internet registries that provide information for foreign visitors about private
restaurants, bed and breakfasts, car services, and other private services available in Cuba.) The
third category includes activities related to distribution of humanitarian aid and sales. In the fourth
category are businesses that facilitate activities related to culture, including the production of new
cultural materials, the purchase and sale of artworks and other cultural materials, and the
verification of Cuban adherence to intellectual property rights agreements. These four categories, in
our judgment, provide such clear benefits that we recommend the U.S. government begin licensing
private businesses to operate in all these fields, each of which involves primarily activities that
support objectives clearly specified in U.S. law. The U.S. government should routinely license
business operations in Cuba restricted to these four areas and allow the transactions and support
services necessary to conduct them.
2.Condition Additional American
Business Activity. Beyond these limited areas, a number of
groups have looked at how to structure U.S. business relations in Cuba without reinforcing the
status quo. One of the best known is a set of guidelines known as the Arcos Principles. Drawing
from these and similar efforts such as the Sullivan Principles in South Africa and the MacBride
Principles in Northern Ireland, we recommend that American businesses demonstrate that they can
satisfy three core conditions before being licensed to invest in Cuba for activities beyond the four
specified above: the ability to hire and pay Cuban workers directly and not through a government
agency; a pledge by the company to respect workers' internationally recognized rights of free
association; and a pledge by the company not to discriminate against Cuban citizens in the provision
of goods and services. (The final condition is designed to counter the practice of "tourism
apartheid" in which certain foreign-owned and -operated facilities do not allow Cuban citizens to
use their facilities, even when they have the money to pay.) We would also encourage U.S.
investors—indeed, all foreign investors in Cuba—to provide reading rooms, classes, Internet
access, and other on-site facilities so that their employees can enjoy wider access to the world. If
Cuba should change its labor laws to make compliance with these principles easier, it would then
become much easier for U.S. companies to invest. For a specific business license to be approved,
however, it is enough for a particular company to demonstrate that it can satisfy the three criteria
If and when Cuban
law is changed to facilitate compliance with the core principles outlined
or if Cuban authorities begin to grant exemptions and waivers on a routine basis, we would
recommend that Congress and the executive consider broader application of such licensing. In all
cases, licensing a business to operate under these provisions would in no way reduce the risk of
incurring Helms-Burton penalties for trafficking in confiscated property.
BASKET FIVE: THE NATIONAL INTEREST
NATIONAL INTEREST RECOMMENDATIONS
Confidence-Building Measures. Both Presidents Bush and Clinton
have stated that the United States has no aggressive intentions toward Cuba, and the Pentagon has
concluded that Cuba poses no significant national security threat to the United States. We believe,
therefore, that it is in our national interest to promote greater ties and cooperation with the Cuban
military. We believe the more confident the Cuban military is that the United States will not take
military advantage of a political or economic opening, the more likely it is that elements of the
Cuban Armed Forces will tolerate or support such an opening and the less justifiable it will be to
divert public resources from social needs to maintaining a defense force far beyond the legitimate
needs of the nation. We believe this process should proceed on a step-by-step basis with many of
the initial contacts through civilian agencies, both governmental and nongovernmental. We also
believe it would be useful for the United States to encourage an opening of relations between
militaries in other nations that have carried out successful transitions from communist regimes to
democratic societies, such as those in eastern Europe and, where appropriate, in Latin America.
We also recommend that the Pentagon and State Department initiate conversations with the Cuban
Armed Forces and others to reduce tensions, promote mutual confidence-building measures, and
lay the basis for the improvement of relations in the future should Cuba move toward a democratic
2.Probe Areas for Counternarcotics
Cooperation. Cuba sits at the center of a substantial drug
trade in the Caribbean Basin. Its neighbor to the east, Haiti, has recently emerged as a major port
for cocaine transit from South America to the United States. Despite the outstanding indictments
against some Cuban officials for alleged drug trafficking, the Cuban state has both the geographical
and the institutional resources to help America fight the war on drugs if the Cuban regime chooses
to do so. In recent years, the United States and Cuba have cooperated on a limited case-by-case
basis in counternarcotics efforts in the Caribbean Basin. We recommend that the appropriate U.S.
government agencies test Cuba's willingness to take serious steps to demonstrate its good faith in
furthering cooperation in the counternarcotics arena, while protecting the confidentiality of U.S.
intelligence sources and methods. We note that Cuba still harbors individuals indicted in the United
States on serious drug trafficking charges. Clearly, limited cooperation in this area will depend on a
demonstrated willingness by the Cuban government to address this issue seriously.
3.Institute Routine Executive
Branch Consultations with Congress and Others on Cuba Policy.
We recommend continued and enhanced bipartisan consultations by the executive branch with
Congress and with a broad range of leaders representing political, social, and economic groups in
the Cuban American, humanitarian, religious, academic, and cultural communities. As we have seen
in U.S. policy toward Central America, and throughout most of the post-Cold War era, a
bipartisan consensus between Congress and the executive is a precondition for sustaining a
long-term, successful U.S. foreign policy initiative.
4.Form a Working Group on
the 21st Century. When people in both the United States and Cuba
talk about the future relationship between the two countries, they often speak of the "normalization
of relations." In fact, the United States and Cuba have not had "normal" relations since the United
States intervened to end Spanish rule in 1898. Since the current Cuban regime came to power in
1959, it has employed a formidable propaganda machine to cloak Cuban nationalism in a banner of
anti-American rhetoric. Cuban schoolchildren are taught to view the Cuban revolution as the only
legitimate guarantor of national sovereignty and to regard the United States as a constant threat to
Cuba's independence. However opposed the United States has been and remains to the present
Cuban government, the American people have no interest in intruding upon Cuba's sovereignty,
independence, or national identity. As Cuba inaugurates its second century of independence, we
recommend that the Council on Foreign Relations or another similar private institution convene a
binational working group of scholars, policy analysts, and others to begin working out an agenda
for a new relationship between the United States and Cuba in the 21st century, analyzing a range of
complex bilateral and regional issues, including the resolution of outstanding property claims; the
status of the U.S. military base at Guantánamo Bay; the implications for the Western Hemisphere of
the restoration of a Cuban sugar quota; the impact on the Caribbean economy of resuming normal
bilateral trade relations; Cuban participation in the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) and the Free
Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA); prospects for Cuba's reentry into the Organization of
American States (OAS); and the integration of Cuba into the international financial system.
These proposals represent a beginning of what
we hope will become a growing bipartisan policy toward
Cuba. We believe that responsible officials and interested individuals and groups should monitor the effect
of these recommendations, should they be implemented, and after a reasonable period of time assess
whether changes, modifications, and additional steps are warranted.
 Current regulations require all individuals
wishing to travel to Cuba (with the exception of journalists
who may travel without government preclearance under a "general license") to apply for a "specific
license," for which applicants must demonstrate a preestablished legitimate professional or research
interest in Cuba. Persons traveling under a "general license" to Cuba are not required to clear their plans
with the U.S. government in advance. They are, however, required to certify at reentry to the United
States that their travel and activities in Cuba conformed to the purposes for which the licenses are granted;
making false statements a violation of federal law.
 For instance, identifying the Ministry
of Interior as an excluded institution would have the effect of
excluding fire departments throughout the island, which in our view are legitimate potential recipients of aid
or purchasers of food and medicine. On the other hand, the Ministry of Interior is also responsible for
running the Bureau of Prisons, an agency that international human rights groups regularly charge with
engaging in repressive activities. Thus, in carrying out this recommendation, the State Department should
focus sanctions as specifically as possible on those agencies that are actually responsible for repressive
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