New TV campaign to end Cuba's travel embargo will air in the U.S. next week

Posted: 19-Jun-15 13:18

A TV advertising campaign by new advocacy group, Engage Cuba, will start being aired in the U.S. across main cable networks like CNBC, MSNBC and Fox News next Tuesday, as part of a new effort pushing for the end of the 50-year-long trade blockade that stops Americans from legally travelling to the island as tourists as well as preventing them to engage in trade and set up businesses in the island.

New TV campaign to end Cuba's travel embargo will air in the U.S. next week

A new 30-second TV ad pushing for immediate change in Congress regarding the trade embargo that forbids U.S. citizens from visiting Cuba as tourists and establishing business relationships in the island, will soon air in three major U.S channels: Fox News, CNBC and MSNBC.

The campaign, created and financed by Engage Cuba, a bipartisan group uniting and mobilising American businesses, non-profit groups and citizens; aims to promote a better public understanding of why and how the U.S. would enormously benefit from the removal of Cuba’s economic blockade .

Since his speech in December 2014, in which he addressed the Cuban and American public to show his sentiment towards Cuba, and how he felt it was time for change, Obama has done a lot in pushing for change and restoring diplomatic relations between the two nations, but he hasn’t gone all the way and achieved complete removal of the embargo because of the opposition he faces in Congress from a group of Republicans.

This is what Engage Cuba hopes to accomplish, to inspire the remainder of Americans who are still “undecided” or “wary” of Cuba by explaining how everyone would benefit from a full normalisation of relationships between the two countries.

In the 30-second ad, entitled “Guess What?” they show through a series of images led by a voiceover, how Americans are free to travel anywhere in the world, including to a communist, extremist country like North Korea; yet they are denied visiting Cuba, a much closer neighbour, geographically and culturally speaking. They go on to explain how $5.9 billion U.S. dollars is lost each year on trade opportunities between the two countries and close with a final statement that poses the question: “Isn’t it time for change?”

Steven Law, who serves as Senior Advisor to Engage Cuba and who previously was Chief of Staff to Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConell declared:

"There is growing bipartisan agreement that our 54-year-old policy of isolation is broken and is hurting our own businesses and farmers,"

"The future of engagement with Cuba has arrived, and it’s time for Congress to help lead the transition process."

Luke Albee, a Senior Advisor to Engage Cuba who served as Chief of Staff to Senators Mark Warner and Patrick Leahy, concluded

"There is no better issue to help make this happen than changing our archaic Cuba policy. It is in our national interest. And it is right for America and the Cuban people."

Engage Cuba has already made a lot of progress in achieving significant breakthroughs in warming up Cuba-U.S. relations. They broke a historic deal that will make it possible for the Cuban Interests Section (which will soon become the new Cuban Embassy) to have banking services that are critical to the normalisation process.

They also built up support for the Flake-Leahy Freedom to Travel to Cuba bill, which now has a total of 40 co-sponsors in the senate.

Engage Cuba works directly with leading companies like Procter & Gamble, Choice Hotels, Caterpillar, Cargill and the Havana Group, among many others who also want to see the end of the embargo and start trading in Cuba.


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