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Cuba Policy Foundation

Suddenly, a More Level Playing Field in the Debate Over Cuba, 3/28/2001

 New 'Cuba Policy Foundation' Announced Today, Led by Senior Diplomats In   
Republican Administrations, in Favor of Lifting Embargo Against Cuba  

President of Organization, a Top Latin Americanist Under First President
Bush,  Housed Elian Gonzalez Last Year While He Lived in Washington  

President of Organization Invites Cuban American National Foundation Leader
To  Meet Her in Series of Joint Forums  

WASHINGTON, March 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Vowing to play a significant role in the national debate over U.S.-Cuban relations, a new nonpartisan organization led by former State Department officials in Republican Administrations -- the Cuba Policy Foundation -- was announced today.  To be located in Washington, DC, the Cuba Policy Foundation will educate Americans on why the U.S. should end its embargo against Cuba and normalize relations completely, based on the costs of the current policy to the American economy and other important U.S. national interests.

Because of the stature of the Cuba Policy Foundation's leaders -- a stature that cuts across partisan and ideological lines -- the organization's ability to educate, especially in Washington, will be unique.

Serving as President and day-to-day leader of the Cuba Policy Foundation will be Ambassador Sally Grooms Cowal, a senior diplomat with vast experience mostly under Republican Administrations.

Ambassador Cowal's 23-year career in the U.S. Foreign Service includes posts as Counselor for Political Affairs at the U.S. Mission to the U.N. under President Reagan; Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs under President George Bush; and Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago under Presidents Bush and Clinton.

Ambassador Cowal housed Elian Gonzalez and his father Juan Miguel last year while they lived in Washington, D.C. during the legal battle over Elian's return to Cuba.   The Ambassador was president of the international student- exchange program Youth for Understanding, based in Washington,  when she offered one of the organization's homes to Elian and his dad.  She became friends with them during their stay.

Serving as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Cuba Policy Foundation will be the Honorable William Rogers, Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs under President Ford. 

"The Cuba Policy Foundation is not just a nonpartisan organization," Ambassador Cowal said.  "It is a decidedly centrist organization."

"The Cuba Policy Foundation," she said, "will reject the approaches of the far-left and the far-right and simply present the facts to the American people, which we believe are on our side.  While we agree with the need for democratic reform, the U.S. embargo of Cuba has achieved nothing for 40 years except hurt America's own economic and national interests.

"Our businesses, cities and ports are losing millions of dollars every year because of the embargo, while families with relatives both in the U.S. and Cuba are being kept apart. "So why continue a policy that is only hurting ourselves?"

In her first act as president of the Cuba Policy Foundation, Ambassador Cowal today sent a letter to the president of the Cuban American National Foundation, Jorge Mas Santos, proposing that the two of them hold a series of joint forums to debate the merits of lifting the U.S. embargo against Cuba.

"We will be aggressive in presenting the facts to the American people," Ambassador Cowal said.  "No one can objectively dispute that the embargo has failed to produce change.  No one can objectively dispute that the embargo has hurt American businesses.  And no one can objectively dispute that there are a whole host of economic, diplomatic and humanitarian considerations that point to the need for a different approach."

Ambassador Cowal said the Cuba Policy Foundation will have a high public profile not just in Washington, but nationally.  To educate Americans on how they are being hurt by the current U.S. embargo, she said, the Cuba Policy Foundation will hold press conferences in four cities over the next two months -- which, she added, will be just the start.

Serving as Policy Director of the Cuba Policy Foundation will be Manny Hidalgo, the founding executive director of the Miami-based organization Cubans and Americans for Educational Exchange. Manny, whose family left Cuba 40 years ago, was born in the United States and spent much of his youth in Miami.  He is a graduate of Georgetown University and will receive his M.A. from Florida International University in Latin American and Caribbean Studies this spring.  His academic research has focused on the role of the Catholic Church in bridging the Cuban and Cuban-American communities.

Handling communications for the Cuba Policy Foundation will be the public affairs firm Attention America.  The firm's chairman, Steven Goldstein, will be the Communications Director and press contact for the Cuba Policy Foundation.  Goldstein did the public relations for the 40,000 plaintiffs suing Exxon over the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and was a senior staff member in the U.S. House and Senate.

Initial funding for the Cuba Policy Foundation was made possible by the Arca Foundation, which has funded several organizations that have done educational work related to Cuba.

SOURCE  Cuba Policy Foundation   

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