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For Immediate Release

Press Release

Open Letter Calls on President to End Cuba Embargo; Return Guantanamo

WASHINGTON -

More than 100 organizations, academics, faith leaders and activists signed onto an open letter to President Barack Obama in advance of his historic trip to Cuba beginning March 21, 2016.

The letter calls on Obama to end the 54 year old embargo/blockade of Cuba and to return the US occupied territory of Guantanamo to Cuba.

Signed by 70 organizations including Code Pink and Council on Hemispheric Affairs, and prominent individuals such as Noam Chomsky, the letter identifies 12 actions President Obama can take without congressional authorization.

They are:

1) authorize the use of the dollar in international transactions;

2) permit Cuba to import from third countries products with more than 10 percent U.S. components;

3) allow Cuban entities to open correspondent accounts in U.S. banks;

4) end the policy of financial persecution against Cuba;

5) not impede the granting of credits or other financial facilities;

6) allow imports of Cuba's exportable products or services;

7) authorize Cuban planes and boats to carry passengers, cargo and mail between the two countries;

8) authorize direct exports of U.S. products to Cuba;

9) authorize companies to invest in Cuba (international firms have submitted more than 400 proposals for investment in the Mariel Economic Zone);

10) remove the limit on Cuban products that can be imported by U.S. visitors to Cuba;

11) authorize U.S. citizens to receive medical treatment in Cuba;

12) allow the distribution of credits, loans and financing for acquisition of products in the U.S. market.

Concerning Guantanamo, the open letter author and Chicago solidarity organizer Stansfield Smith said, "The US Guantanamo naval base is 113 years old and was the first US base in this hemisphere outside United States borders. It is the only base in which the host country does not have treaty rights to terminate. It is time to give Guantanamo back to Cuba."

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SOA Watch is an independent organization that seeks to close the US Army School of the Americas, under whatever name it is called, through vigils and fasts, demonstrations and nonviolent protest, as well as media and legislative work.

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