iOS app Android app

John McAuliff
John McAuliff is founder and executive director of the Fund for Reconciliation and Development, Dobbs Ferry, NY, a twenty five year old non-governmental organization that worked to normalize US relations with Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia and now Cuba.

He was active in the US civil rights movement, including the 1964 Mississippi Summer Project; served in the Peace Corps in Peru then headed the Committee of Returned Volunteers. For a decade he directed the Indochina Program in the Peace Education Division of the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker organization, arriving in Hanoi for the first of some 50 visits on the day the war ended.

He has a strong interest in Irish music, dance and politics, including the peaceful end of partition.

His education includes a BA from Carleton College and a year in a MA level program at the Institute for Policy Studies.

He speaks and writes often about US relations with Cuba, with special attention to travel and the role of educational exchange and non-governmental organizations.

Entries by John McAuliff

President Obama Can Help Charlie Crist Win in Florida

(0) Comments | Posted September 4, 2014 | 2:33 PM


Progresso Weekly has published an optimistic assessment of how Charlie Crist can regain the governorship of Florida as a Democrat, an important contest for Americans who want more rational relations with Cuba.

It is worth considering whether a breakthrough by President...

Read Post

If Alan Gross Dies in Cuba... Who Is Responsible?

(7) Comments | Posted August 15, 2014 | 10:26 AM


Raul Castro, Barack Obama, Bob Menendez, Marco Rubio, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Mario Diaz-Balart or Joe Garcia?

All of the above!!!! But especially the last six.

The government of the United States and the government of Cuba should feel deeply ashamed...

Read Post

Policy Heavyweights Push/Enable the President to Move on Cuba

(4) Comments | Posted May 23, 2014 | 6:19 PM

A just-issued letter to President Obama does not go as far as it might, but because of the VIP character of the signers, it is a significant step in the process of inducing the White House to finally move forward.

Here are its policy recommendations (I've italicized...

Read Post

Miami Dade College Sets Back Educational Exchange With Cuba

(0) Comments | Posted January 24, 2014 | 2:32 PM


A Cuban-American initiative has muddied the waters of educational exchange with the U.S. in the run-up to an important international conference in Cuba February 10-14, Universidad 2014.

Under new Cuban regulations, young people can come here to study with more freedom...
Read Post

Upgrading Travel to Cuba in the New Year

(2) Comments | Posted January 2, 2014 | 11:21 AM


The Town of Remedios

President Obama has opened the door part way for travel to Cuba.

His remarks in Miami in November suggest the White House is preparing to take the next step:

"We have to be...
Read Post

Change With Cuba in President Obama's Hands

(4) Comments | Posted December 23, 2013 | 2:38 PM

How then can we expect to be the prime mover in the complex affairs of the world, if we lack the courage here at home to redefine U.S.-Cuban relations? Change is in the hands of the president -- and Cuban Americans. In his eulogy Obama said, "Nelson Mandela reminds...
Read Post

Could Alan Gross Be Home for the Holidays?

(1) Comments | Posted December 10, 2013 | 4:19 PM

The pieces are in place.

Will the U.S. and Cuba play them?

The fourth anniversary of the imprisonment of Alan Gross marked a fundamental shift in discourse which provides President Obama with the moral and political space to negotiate with Cuba for his release.

Stephen B. Kaplitt, a special assistant...

Read Post

Are We Verging on a Big Change with Cuba?

(9) Comments | Posted July 17, 2013 | 6:00 PM

My initial enthusiasm for candidate Barack Obama was based on his biography, and what he wrote about it. With a father from Kenya and a mother who had lived and worked in Indonesia, including with the internationalist Ford Foundation, he seemed unusually qualified to move beyond the democracy evangelism and...

Read Post

Watch the Cuban Vote in Florida

(0) Comments | Posted November 5, 2012 | 12:25 PM

A factor in President Obama's potential victory in Florida are Cuban Americans who wish to maintain the normal liberty to travel and send remittances/investments. More than 25 percent of the Cuban community returned last year and an even larger percentage presumably provide assistance to their family, and their own future...

Read Post

How Obama Can Truly Open Cuba To Travelers

(13) Comments | Posted January 24, 2012 | 7:00 AM

On the first anniversary of President Obama's announcement of new provisions for purposeful travel to Cuba, the situation is murky if encouraging. The Office of Foreign Assets Control led by Adam Szubin, a Bush appointee, does not publish a monthly updated list of licensees on its site as...

Read Post

A New Year Different then Yoani's

(3) Comments | Posted January 10, 2012 | 10:38 AM

Yoani Sanchez has posted a New Year message on the Huffington Post bemoaning as usual the state of affairs in her homeland. She is a brilliant stylist but her pitch is for an external audience, ill disposed to Cuba as it exists today.

Ms. Sanchez is entitled...

Read Post

President Obama Misses a Chance to Create Jobs

(1) Comments | Posted October 25, 2011 | 4:42 PM

Today I received this innovative crowdsourcing message from James Kvaal, Policy Director, Obama for America:

As Republicans in Congress continue to stall on President Obama's jobs plan, we're building a case for action based on the stories of Americans from all over the country. Take...

Read Post

New OFAC Guidelines Shape Cuba Travel

(1) Comments | Posted April 25, 2011 | 1:39 PM

Finally on April 19th the Office of Foreign Assets Controls released 51 pages of guidelines implementing President Obama's new regulations on purposeful travel announced three months earlier. (Links to full text here and analysis here.)

The guidelines are a semi-breakthrough, welcome for what they do,...

Read Post

What's Up With OFAC? "No Irish (Americans) Need Apply"

(0) Comments | Posted April 19, 2011 | 3:29 PM

The Second Annual Celtic Festival in Cuba Will Take Place Without Irish American Musicians

"Never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity!"

That snarky characterization used to be directed at the Cubans by American critics. Looks like the Obama Administration wants to take on that dubious honor for itself.

Read Post

Counterproductive Contradictions Undermine U.S. Policy on Cuba

(13) Comments | Posted March 24, 2011 | 3:40 PM

In an interview with Telemundo, reported by the Cuban Colada blog, Secretary of State Clinton sounded a cautiously optimistic note about the fate of imprisoned USAID subcontractor Alan Gross:

he should be released, and at the very least, on humanitarian terms. He should be sent home to his...
Read Post

Cuba Travel and the Alan Gross Case: A Report From Havana

(0) Comments | Posted February 12, 2011 | 5:19 PM

I am back from a week in Cuba that focused on how to strengthen implementation on their side of the improvement in travel regulations announced by President Obama on January 14th. My focus was on practical implications, in particular the opportunity provided by the advance beyond the Clinton Administration of...

Read Post

President Opens Door for Travel to Cuba

(3) Comments | Posted January 18, 2011 | 6:10 PM

The White House announcement on January 14 of reforms in policy affecting purposeful travel to Cuba is an important step forward.

The Obama administration overcame resistance from a powerful minority of hard line Cuban Americans and their Congressional allies in Florida and New Jersey who oppose even the...

Read Post

Richard Holbrooke's Missed Opportunities with Vietnam

(0) Comments | Posted December 14, 2010 | 3:01 PM

Obama's policy proposals--whether on climate change, energy, Africa, Cuba, or Iran--are forward-leaning; he proposes adjusting old and static policies to new and evolving realities.

-- Richard Holbrooke, Foreign Affairs September/October 2008

The sad and unexpected passing of Richard Holbrooke brings to mind our periodic contact related to Indochina.

Read Post

Cuba Can Rehabilitate President's Progressive Cred

(2) Comments | Posted December 8, 2010 | 1:34 PM

Students with downs syndrome denied future assistance by OFAC (photo by Ted Lieverman)

What's even more puzzling is the apparent indifference of the Obama team to the effect of such gestures on their supporters. One would have expected a candidate who...

Read Post

One Year On for Alan Gross

(0) Comments | Posted December 3, 2010 | 12:29 PM

The detention of Alan Gross shows no public sign of resolution.

P. J. Crowley, the State Department spokesman, marked the one year anniversary of his arrest with the same old disingenuous spin characterizing Alan as:

a committed international development worker who was arrested by Cuban authorities for his activities, dedicated...
Read Post