Speaker Nancy Pelosi Let Cuba Live!

photo: Bill Hackwell

The following is a full page ad that appeared in the San Francisco Examiner paid for by the Bay Area Saving Lives Campaign and was signed by hundreds. It is reported that House Speaker Pelosi will be leading the  congressional delegation to the exclusionary IX Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles this week. 

June 2, 2022

Dear Speaker Pelosi,

It is time to forge a new path forward in U.S. relations with Cuba. We, the undersigned, make this urgent, public appeal to you as an elected representative from San Francisco who is running for office again in November 2022. We call on you to use your power as a national leader to urge President Biden to reverse the 243 coercive measures that the Trump administration added to the long-standing U.S. embargo. The 2020 Democratic Party platform called for relaxing the embargo and Mr. Biden campaigned on this basis. However, the Biden administration has kept Trump’s policy almost entirely in place, even during a global pandemic.

President Trump’s administration blocked Cuba’s use of financial institutions in the middle of the pandemic, making it extremely difficult and expensive for Cuba to import food and medicine or to get the necessary materials to manufacture its own medicines, including vaccines. Doctors watched helplessly as children died because they lacked specialized medications. Large shipments of masks, syringes and ventilators were blocked by U.S. sanctions.

We are encouraged that on May 16, 2022, the administration took three limited steps toward ending Trump’s policies. With a stroke of his pen, President Biden could now sign an executive order and roll back all of Trump’s measures. The recent government decision to exclude Cuba, along with Venezuela and Nicaragua, from the Summit on the Americas being held in Los Angeles in June is a step backwards, which needs to be immediately reversed! Moreover, we urge you to oppose ongoing U.S. government actions to fund regime-change activities in Cuba, which only bring more suffering and hardship to the Cuban people. We call on you to use your significant influence to make sure President Biden moves towards normalizing relations with Cuba!

In 2008 you stated, “For years, I have opposed the embargo on Cuba. I don’t think it’s been successful, and I think we have to remove the travel bans and have more exchanges-people to people exchanges with Cuba:’ Yet in 2020 you blocked a vote on legislation to end the embargo. We urge you to now open the way for a vote on HR 3625 sponsored by Representative Bobby Rush which would normalize relations with Cuba. We call on you to reaffirm your commitment to end the embargo!

In July 2020, after a call by the Saving Lives Campaign, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors made SF the first major city in the U.S. to pass a unanimous resolution calling for medical cooperation with Cuba and the lifting of economic and travel sanctions. Similar resolutions subsequently passed unanimously in Berkeley, Oakland, Richmond, Santa Cruz and Sacramento, now totaling 48 jurisdictions nationally. In recent weeks, people in the Bay Area and across the US have donated six million syringes to support Covid-19 vaccinations using vaccines developed by Cuba’s own biotech industry. We call on you to listen to your constituents who have energetically endorsed medical cooperation with Cuba and an end to the embargo!

On Dec.14, 2021, 114 members of Congress sent a letter to President Biden urging him to take a series of steps aimed at reversing the anti-Cuba measures taken by the Trump and Biden Administrations, and to move towards normalization of U.S.-Cuba relations. We call on you to bring the letter’s recommendations to a vote in Congress.

Under international law the embargo is considered illegal because it targets the entire civilian population of Cuba. This destructive policy has left the U.S. isolated in the global community. On June 23, 2021, 184 countries in the U.N. General Assembly voted overwhelmingly for the 29th year in a row to end the blockade, while the U.S. stood virtually alone against the entire world, asserting a law unto itself. We call on you to take immediate action to Let Cuba Live, a stand that would amplify the values of the Bay Area and be an enduring part of your political legacy!


Bay Area Cuba Saving Lives Campaign