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Letter to the The New York Times

To the The New York Times’ Editor:

Your three editorials about Cuba this month are a welcome acknowledgment that the embargo is a fossilized Cold War fiasco (“The Shifting Politics of Cuba Policy,” “Cuba’s Impressive Role on Ebola,” “The Moment to Restore Ties to Cuba”). The United States is losing opportunity and credibility by maintaining it against universal condemnation.

Recognition of Cuba’s response to the Ebola crisis and to other humanitarian crises over the years, its commitment to health care, and the shift in generational attitudes toward the embargo is long overdue. These editorials should help politicians understand that they no longer have to fear following common sense on Cuba.

While Congress is tied up in a partisan straitjacket, it is unlikely to move soon toward relations with Cuba worthy of the 21st century.

A significant step could be taken by engaging in serious dialogue to secure the release of a United States Agency for International Development employee, Alan Gross, jailed in Cuba since 2009, and three Cubans, jailed in the United States for the past 15 years.

Both governments claim that these men violated their laws. Both governments insist on release of their citizens as a demonstration of good faith. Serious humanitarian reasons support their release. Once they are free, their respective governments can talk about commerce, education, health and human rights. We all stand to benefit.

LINDA BACKIEL
San Juan, P.R., Oct. 27, 2014

The writer served as an appellate attorney for the jailed Cubans.

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