Alan Gross: Castro's prisoner
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    January 19, 2015
    The Honorable Barack Obama
    The White House
    Washington, DC 20500


    Dear Mr. President,
    We write to commend you on the historic actions you are taking to update
    America’s policy toward Cuba and Cuban citizens. Our new posture of
    engagement will advance our national interests and our values by
    empowering the Cuban people’s capacity to work toward a more
    democratic and prosperous country—conditions that are very much in the
    U.S. interests. Many of the signers of this letter wrote to you last
    year calling for exactly these types of changes. We appreciate that
    you not only recognized that the moment had come to act but did so boldly.
    Both that original letter and this one are examples of the broad support
    these changes have from across the political spectrum. We may disagree
    on a number of issues, but we’ve found common
    ground for a simple reason; our fifty-four-year-old approach intended to
    promote human rights and democracy in Cuba has failed.
    It has also been clear that the reforms you announced in 2009 have
    helped to build the foundation for positive change by helping
    Cuban-Americans reunite with and better support their families on the
    island. The free flow of information, improved communications, expanded
    remittances and commerce, and support for Cuban civil society have also
    helped the Cuban people take greater ownership of their own lives.
    Access to the Internet and modern communications tools in today’s world
    have become basic rights, because they are paramount to socioeconomic
    freedom and mobility.
    Accordingly, we are encouraged by your declaration that the U.S.
    Government will continue to call on Havana to respect the human rights
    of the Cuban people. We applaud your guarantees that the UN Special
    Rapporteur for Torture and the International Red Cross will travel to
    the island. Your clear support for facilitating people-to-people
    engagement affirms the enduring belief that the American people are the
    best ambassadors of our values. We hope future efforts by the
    Administration will be matched by quick adoption of streamlined
    regulations that fulfill your intent and we will continue to
    monitor those developments.
    Bringing Alan Gross home to his loved ones was an indisputable testament
    to the power of principled diplomatic engagement. That same creativity
    in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges must be brought to
    the human rights arena, where recent experience shows the importance of
    transparent and principled approaches.
    The Summit of the Americas presents one such opportunity. America should
    never shy away from defending and promoting our values, and your
    decision to attend the gathering in Panama was the correct one. After
    several decades in which democracy and the rule of law have been
    strengthened throughout the hemisphere, the United States must continue
    to lead and challenge our partners to ensure that this region remains a
    beacon for human rights in the world.
    Mr. President, we also call on you to work with Congress to update the
    legislative framework with regard to Cuba so that it, too, reflects 21st
    century realities. In the meantime, we look forward tocontinued progress
    in improving U.S.-Cuban cooperation on matters of national interest and
    stand ready to support this new policy of constructive engagement and
    U.S. outreach to the Cuban people.


    John Adams, Brigadier General, U.S. Army
    (Retired); former Deputy U.S. Military
    Representative to NATO; former Assistant
    Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence,
    U.S. Army

    Gustavo Arnavat, former U.S.
    Executive Director at the Inter-American
    Development Bank
    Joe Arriola, former Manager, City of
    Miami, Florida

    Ricky Arriola, CEO, Inktel
    Bruce Babbitt, former Governor of Arizona;
    former U.S. Secretary of the Interior

    Harriet Babbitt, former U.S. Ambassador to the
    Organization of American States

    Samuel R. Berger, Chair, Albright Stonebridge
    Group, National Security Advisor (1997-2000)

    Tomas Bilbao, Executive Director,
    Cuba Study Group

    Carol Browner, former EPA Administrator;
    former Director of White House Office of Climate
    Change and Energy Policy

    Paul L. Cejas, former U.S. Ambassador and
    Chairman, PLC Investments, Inc.

    Gustavo Cisneros, Chairman, Cisneros Group
    of Companies
    Jon Cowan, President, Third Way

    Chet Culver, former Governor of Iowa
    Jeffrey Davidow, former U.S. Assistant
    Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere
    Howard Dean, former Governor of Vermont

    Larry Diamond, Director, Center on Democracy,
    Development and the Rule of Law,
    Stanford University

    Tom Downey, former U.S. Congressman

    Anita Dunn, Managing Director,
    SKDKnickerbocker Communications

    Alfonso Fanjul, Fanjul Group

    Andres Fanjul, Fanjul Group

    Christopher Findlater

    Richard Feinberg, former Latin American
    Advisor to the White House; Professor, University
    of California, San Diego

    Mike Fernandez, Chairman, MBF
    Healthcare Partners

    The Right Reverend Leo Frade, Episcopal
    Bishop of Southeast Florida

    Pedro A. Freyre, Partner, Akerman LLP

    Francis Fukuyama, Olivier Nomellini Senior

    Fellow, Freeman Spogli Institute for International
    Studies, Stanford University

    Joe Garcia, former U.S. Congressman; former
    Executive Director, Cuban-American National

    Maria Garcia Berry, CEO, CRL Associates, Inc.
    Tim Gill, Founder and Chairman, Gill

    Dan Glickman, former U.S. Secretary of
    Agriculture; former U.S. Congressman

    Felice Gorordo, CEO, Clear Path

    Lee Hamilton, former U.S. House Chairman
    of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the
    Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

    David Hernandez, Co-Founder and CEO,
    Liberty Power

    Ricardo Herrero, Executive Director,

    Vicki Huddleston, former U.S. Ambassador and
    Chief of the U.S. Interests Section, Havana

    Peter J. Johnson, Associate to David Rockefeller

    James R. Jones, Chairman, ManattJones
    Global Strategies

    Wendy W. Luers, President, The Foundation for
    a Civil Society

    Thomas F. “Mack” McLarty III, Chairman,
    McLarty Associates

    Sascha Meinrath, Founder, Open Technology
    Institute at New America

    Eduardo Mestre, Senior Advisor at
    Evercore; Board member of Avis Budget
    and Comcast Corporation

    Scott Miller, Board Member, Gill Foundation
    Luis Miranda, former White House
    Director of Hispanic Media; Managing
    Director, MDC Strategies

    Marcelino Miyares, President, MM
    Communications Inc.

    Frank Mora, Director of the Latin American
    and Caribbean Center, Florida International

    Moisés Naím, Distinguished Fellow, Carnegie
    Endowment for International Peace

    Michael Parmly, former Chief of the U.S.
    Interests Section, Havana

    Ralph Patino, Civil Trial Attorney; Futuro Fund
    Board Member

    Ted Piccone, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution

    Thomas Pickering, former U.S. Under
    Secretary of State for Political Affairs

    Bill Reinsch, President, National Foreign Trade

    Cecile Richards

    Bill Richardson, former U.S. Ambassador
    to the United Nations; former Governor
    of New Mexico

    Bill Ritter, former Governor of Colorado
    David Rockefeller, Honorary Chairman,
    Americas Society/Council of the Americas

    Hilary Rosen, Managing Director,
    SKDKnickerbocker Communications

    Christopher Sabatini, former Editor-in-Chief,
    Americas Quarterly; Adjunct Professor,
    Columbia University’s School of International and
    Public Affairs

    Carlos Saladrigas, Chairman of Regis HR
    Group and Concordia Behavioral Health;

    Chairman of the Cuba Study Group; member of the
    board of Duke Energy Corporation and Advance
    Auto Parts, Inc.

    Ken Salazar, former U.S. Secretary of the
    Interior; former U.S. Senator; former Colorado
    Attorney General

    Francisco “Frank” Sanchez, former U.S.
    Under Secretary of Commerce

    George P. Shultz, Fellow, Hoover Institution;
    former U.S. Secretary of State, Treasury and
    Labor; former Director, Office of Budget &
    Management; former CEO, Bechtel

    Susan Segal, President and CEO, Americas
    Society/Council of the Americas

    Hilda L. Solis, former U.S. Secretary of Labor;
    former Congresswoman; member of the Los
    Angeles County Board of Supervisors

    Enrique Sosa, former President, Dow Chemical
    North America

    Admiral James Stavridis, USN (Ret); Dean,
    The Fletcher School, Tufts University;
    Supreme Allied Commander, NATO (2009-2013);
    Commander, U.S. Southern Command

    Sarah Stephens, Executive Director, Center for
    Democracy in the Americas

    Alan Stoga, President, Zemi Communications,
    LLC; Vice Chairman, Americas Society/Council of
    the Americas

    Ted Strickland, former Governor of Ohio

    Strobe Talbott, former U.S. Deputy
    Secretary of State

    Neera Tanden, President, Center for
    American Progress

    Ted Trimpa, Principal and CEO, Trimpa Group

    Raul Valdes-Fauli, Partner, Fox Rothchild;
    former Mayor, City of Coral Gables, Florida

    Arturo Valenzuela, former U.S. Assistant
    Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs

    Melanne Verveer, former U.S. Ambassador for
    Global Women’s Issues

    Bill Vidal, former Mayor of Denver, Colorado
    Alexander Watson, former U.S.
    Assistant Secretary of State for Western
    Hemisphere Affairs

    James Williams, Director of Public Policy,
    Trimpa Group; Board Member, Project on Middle
    East Democracy

    Timothy Wirth, former U.S. Senator; ViceChair,
    The UN Foundation

    The above signatories have signed this letter in their personal
    capacities; they do not reflect the views of their company, organization
    or university, current or past.