Patrick Doherty directs the New America Foundation/U.S.-Cuba 21st Century Policy Initiative.
Speaking before the US House of Representatives’ Comittee on Oversight and Government Reform’s Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, General Barry McCaffrey, former commander, US Southern Command, called on the US to do three things:
1. Lift the embargo and let all US citizens travel to the island; 2. Formalize coordination on law enforcement efforts to stem narcotics and human trafficking; 3. End opposition to Cuban participation in regional intergovernmental fora, such as the Organization of American States.
General McCaffrey said that though he welcomes President Obama’s initiatives so far on Cuba policy, he believes it is time for more “dramatic and sudden” initiatives toward Cuba.
General McCaffrey’s comments come two weeks after he joined twelve other retired senior military officers to urge President Obama to embrace efforts to end the travel ban to Cuba and engage the Cuban government on important, shared regional security issues.
The importance of the General’s call to end the embargo is hard to understate. The momentum is building to decisively shift US policy toward Cuba – away from fifty years of failure. President Obama’s openness to exploring talks has moved the debate forward and Congress is picking it up and running with it.
— Patrick Doherty