CubaNow’s mission is to inform, connect and inspire a new conversation around the realities taking hold on both sides of the Florida straits and advocate for practical and effective policy actions that empower individuals to serve as catalysts for meaningful change in Cuba. From pro-democracy advocates to rising entrepreneurs, the growth of Cuba’s civil society is a defining part of its current narrative. The Cuban people are creating opportunities unimagined just a few years ago as they leverage modest economic reforms into greater independence from the Cuban state. Pro-democracy advocates are more vocal, numerous, and effective than they have been in half a century. Roughly half a million entrepreneurs are forging a new future for themselves, their families and their communities, despite their modest resources. At the same time, attitudes and perceptions in Florida and throughout the United States are also shifting after five decades of pursuing the same policy without anything to show for it. We will never stop calling on the Cuban government to respect human rights, but we’re also not going to wait for them to act before finding new ways to support the Cuban people. If we want to be relevant in the Cuban people’s new reality and help influence the changes that are already happening, our 50 year-old isolationist policy simply isn’t an option anymore. In these pages you’ll find information on the changes currently taking place in Cuba, as well as highlights from the voices of change on the island who grow stronger by the day. We’ll also dig deep on the changes taking place in America, including within the Cuban American community, which is leading the way in shaping a new approach and inspiring a conversation on how to best help empower the Cuban people.
As Americans, we believe in the transformative power of a pluralist democracy, human rights and open markets to foster freedom and prosperity in Cuba. However, these values cannot be forced from abroad, they can only be born from the demands of the Cuban people themselves. The best way for us to promote these values in Cuba is by allowing Americans to engage with the Cuban people, and giving them the freedom to connect, speak out and serve as catalysts for meaningful change in Cuban society.
“People abroad should support the nascent sector of private micro businesses known as ‘self employment,’” because “economic autonomy is political autonomy.” Yoani Sanchez, Democracy Advocate and Cuban Blogger
To that end, we believe that the all-or-nothing approach of current US-Cuba policy is not only counterproductive, but has failed to advance its own stated goals. Our policy toward Cuba should simultaneously seek to empower the Cuban people, pressure the Cuban government over over on-going human rights violations, and advance U.S. national interests throughout our hemisphere.
We seek to foster dialogue between stakeholders, social entrepreneurs, and community leaders, helping them envision a better future and empowering them to act on what’s possible. We respect diversity of opinions and encourage different viewpoints. We believe we can disagree without being disagreeable, and that we should encourage one another to speak out on what we believe. We believe there is no better way to influence Cuba’s future than by playing a direct and constructive role in its present. Helping the Cuban people today will ultimately empower them to create their own freedom.
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