MIAMI (Reuters) – A new advocacy group calling for the United States to change its policy toward Cuba launched an advertising campaign yesterday with posters on the Washington DC metro system showing President Barack Obama and urging him to “stop waiting.”
The metro ads by the group #CubaNow are designed to highlight economic changes happening in Cuba. The group believes the 52-year-old US embargo against the communist-ruled island has not worked.
“It’s time to bring the conversation on US-Cuba policy into the 21st century,” said #CubaNow director Ric Herrero.
The group said its mission, unlike other Cuba policy groups, was specifically focused on changing US thinking about Cuba policy.
While the group opposes the embargo, it recognized that overturning it in Congress is an uphill battle and other ways can be found to change policy, such as allowing all Americans to travel to Cuba.
“There’s plenty the President can do within his existing authority,” said #CubaNow founding member Andres Diaz, a Cuban-born former Obama administration official at the Department of Commerce.
#CubaNow was founded by a group of mostly younger generation Cuban Americans. Herrero declined to discuss its funding.
The group’s launch coincides with the fifth anniversary of Obama’s 2009 steps allowing Cuban-Americans to travel freely to visit relatives in Cuba as well as send remittances.
That policy shift helped “usher in more change in that time than had been seen in the previous 50 years,” the group said in a press release.
Herrero said the group, based in Miami and Washington, wants the White House to take “new steps” to encourage Cuba’s burgeoning private sector which has emerged under economic reforms being slowly introduced by the Cuban government.