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Sarah Stephens
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Sarah Stephens is Director of the Center for Democracy in the Americas and its Freedom to Travel Campaign, which fights for the rights of all U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba (http://cubacentral.com/).

Entries by Sarah Stephens

Putin in Havana, America at the Movies

(1) Comments | Posted July 15, 2014 | 12:00 PM

When Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Havana this week to build closer ties with Cuba's senior leadership, it begged the question, "Haven't we seen this movie before?"

Our narrative starts at the height of the Cold War. Cuba's revolutionary government established formal diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union on May...

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South Florida Poll Confirms Big Shift in Exile Community on Cuba

(2) Comments | Posted June 17, 2014 | 5:35 PM

Public opinion about Cuba in South Florida has shifted dramatically. Actually, that's an understatement. Let me illustrate the point this way.

In March of 1991, seventy-three percent of Cuban Americans strongly favored tightening the embargo and 62 percent strongly favored assembling an exile army to overthrow Cuba's government by...

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Secretary Clinton's Bold Stroke

(0) Comments | Posted June 11, 2014 | 10:32 AM

Diana Nyad, America's most celebrated long-distance swimmer, tried and tried to cross the Florida Straits. No one had successfully completed the dangerous, marathon swim before. She set out four times, trained hard before setting off, and failed on each occasion. On her fifth attempt, at age 64, she made it....

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Radio and TV Martí: Jammed in Cuba, Slammed by the U.S. Court of Appeals

(0) Comments | Posted May 21, 2014 | 11:42 AM

Last week, when the U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed a finding against the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the agency operating Radio and TV Martí, that it fired 16 employees in bad faith, its decision reopened the question of just how much waste taxpayers and policy makers will...

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El Salvador: New Government, New Opportunity for Peace?

(0) Comments | Posted May 16, 2014 | 12:02 PM

On June 1st, El Salvador's former insurgents, the FMLN, will see its candidate, President-Elect Sánchez Cerén, sworn into office following a peaceful transition. But, he will immediately face a deeply difficult problem. More than 20 years after its brutal civil war ended, El Salvador remained a violent country convulsed by...

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From the Bay of Pigs to the 'Bay of Tweets'

(1) Comments | Posted April 22, 2014 | 4:28 PM

Last week, the John F. Kennedy Library marked the 53rd anniversary of what it called "a botched invasion at the Bay of Pigs on the south coast of Cuba."

The invasion was a CIA covert operation with the goal of overthrowing the Castro government. President Kennedy was determined...

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USAID's Twitter Trojan Horse

(0) Comments | Posted April 15, 2014 | 12:36 PM

More than a week after the story broke, why are we still talking about USAID and the Cuban Twitter scandal? Why has it struck such a chord?

Think about the Elián González saga from fifteen years ago. He was the six year old boy plucked from the ocean after...

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Action by Cuba Against Terror Financing Compels a U.S. Response

(0) Comments | Posted January 27, 2014 | 4:03 PM

Cuba's government has unilaterally taken action against global terrorism, and this step deserves a positive response by the United States.

According to press reports, President Raúl Castro signed a decree "to immediately freeze funds from foreign banks linked to terror groups, including Al-Qaeda and the Taliban."

AFP, the...

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Kerry and Hagel Offer Obama a Way Forward on Cuba

(14) Comments | Posted December 17, 2012 | 10:26 AM

Days ago, the future of Cuba policy in President Obama's second term seemed predictable.

In his first term, Cuba and Latin America never rose on his priority list. At her confirmation hearings, Hillary Clinton promised the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that she and the president were prepared to...

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Fidel Versus the Ghouls

(0) Comments | Posted November 6, 2012 | 3:52 PM

Since the Cold War, our country has had an unhealthy preoccupation with Fidel Castro's mortality. It's like a vestigial tail that our body politic refuses to shake.

Killing Fidel Castro started as a high U.S. government priority before the Bay of Pigs Invasion, as the National Security Archives -- and...

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Haiku Hype: The Flutter Over Fidel's Twitter-Length Reflections

(10) Comments | Posted June 26, 2012 | 11:33 AM

Whoa, Fidel Castro in the age of Twitter.

Headlines from Miami to London sound the alert. "Fidel Castro leaves people guessing as he writes cryptic, Haiku-like notes." As the Miami Herald put it:

In cryptic paragraphs of never more than 65 words, the...
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Summit of the Americas -- Flashback and Fast Forward

(4) Comments | Posted April 17, 2012 | 10:47 AM

As President Obama makes his way to Colombia for the Summit of the Americas -- "to tout his trade record and convince millions of Hispanic voters back home he cares about the region," as Reuters tartly reported -- I found myself thinking back three years when he last...

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Coming to Florida: Cuba Policy Pander-Fest

(10) Comments | Posted January 24, 2012 | 12:11 PM

Cuba-bashing by both political parties is a four-season sport in American politics, but it's always more extreme around election time.

With Florida's primary and two debates immediately before us, it's worth remembering just how big a role campaigns play in sustaining this failed, Cold War-era policy and toughening the...

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In Cuba: A Home of One's Own

(10) Comments | Posted November 8, 2011 | 10:03 AM

According to news accounts, Cubans lined up Thursday morning to buy newspapers that explained the biggest change to their economy in decades.

Cuba has created a private market for housing. Effective November 10, Cubans will have the right to buy and sell their homes at prices they set. While the...

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The U.N., the U.S. Embargo, and the 20-Year Rout

(55) Comments | Posted October 22, 2011 | 2:30 PM

Next Tuesday, the United Nations General Assembly will debate the "Necessity of ending the economic, commercial, and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba."

This will be the twentieth year the General Assembly has considered a resolution condemning the U.S. embargo. In every previous...

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Get Cuba off the List of State Sponsors of Terror

(31) Comments | Posted August 24, 2011 | 12:51 PM

It is both untrue and a travesty to paint Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism as the United States government did in its annual report on the subject last week.

For twenty-nine years, Cuba has appeared on the list, which comes with considerable economic and diplomatic costs. It disqualifies...

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Embargoes

(8) Comments | Posted October 22, 2010 | 1:44 PM

On October 19, 1960 President Eisenhower put in place an embargo against Cuba that has lasted to this day. Fifty years later, the Obama administration is enforcing these sanctions in some high profile areas with greater vigor than even the Bush administration.

Now we're learning that while the United...

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Changes in Cuba Challenge Obama's Will to Respond and Change Course

(90) Comments | Posted September 19, 2010 | 12:23 PM

In today's Washington Post, George Will reaches the conclusion that many of us have held as an abiding faith for some time -- America's Cuba policy doesn't work and its counterproductive. His column (available in full here) concludes as follows:

Today, the U.S. policy of isolating Cuba by...

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After Cuba's Prisoner Release, What's Next for U.S. Policy?

(4) Comments | Posted July 20, 2010 | 9:19 AM

Just hours after the Cuba political prisoner deal was announced, a civil society leader said to our delegation of Americans visiting Havana: "Fariñas won, Spain won, the church won, and Cuba won." Of course, he made no mention of the U.S. since we played no role.

Against the backdrop of...

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The House Agriculture Committee Asks America to Step Off the Sidelines in Cuba

(12) Comments | Posted June 29, 2010 | 3:47 PM

When Darsi Ferrer, a Cuban dissident emerged from nearly a year's confinement for buying black market construction materials, a reporter asked him who should get the credit for his release.

He credited the Cuban Catholic Church. And then he said, "What should be the solution in Cuba? Dialogue. The dialogue...

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