File #3565: "DI-1311_ref.pdf"




Welcoming Remarks
Richard A. Nuccio
Special Adviser to the President and
the Secretary of State for Cuba
It is a great pleasure to welcome such an outstanding group
of people here this afternoon.
The fact that the President's
Cuba policy can attract the interest and involvement of some of
our finest scholars and journalists and most dedicated
organizational and foundation leaders is very gratifying.
demonstrates that much more is going on in Cuba policy than what
you read about in the newspapers.
President Clinton's announcement on October 6 about a new
series of measures for advancing the policy of support for the
Cuban people first enunciated in the Cuban Democracy Act has
clearly helped to renew the excitement.
In a major foreign
policy speech at the Freedom House meeting, the President
announced some specific steps to invigorate our effort to promote
the cause of peaceful change in Cuba. The measures the President
announced are designed to facilitate the type of efforts many of
you have already undertaken, in some case for many years. We hope
that this meeting and the example you provide will invigorate
your activities and spur others to join the enterprise and
multiply the effort. We want to build on the start that you have
already made in reaching out to the Cuban people, to increase the
support that reaches them, and to enhance the impact that these
efforts have on forging civil society on the island. What better
way to accomplish these goals than to turn to those who already
have a strdng interest in Cuba and who represent the best civic
traditions in our own society.
As I mentioned, our Cuba policy is guided by the Cuba
Democracy Act.
The October 6 measures announced by President
Clinton provide the next steps for implementing that policy.
measures announced refer to increased enforcement of the economic
embargo and to additional steps to improve communications and the
flow of information to and within the island, facilitate the
delivery of humanitarian assistance to the Cuban people, and
address the backlog of urgent humanitarian travel of Cuban
Americans to their families on the island.
We recognize that


some, perhaps most, of you here do not share the commitment of
the Administration to vigorous enforcement of the economic
embargo against Cuba.
This Administration is happy to debate the
wisdom of its overall policy and does so regularly.
But that is
not why we have come together today. We believe that however
change comes to Cuba the process will be more peaceful and the
outcome more democratic if civil society is strengthened on the
That is why we have opened up these important new spaces
in US Cuba policy for your active participation in building civil
society in Cuba.
The parts of the new regulations that we want to emphasize
today relates, first, to travel to Cuba for educational,
scientific and cultural exchanges; second, to assistance to the
Cuban people that strengthens civil society and especially the
involvement of non-governmental organizations in these
activities-this is what we call "support for the Cuban people;"
and third, to the possibility of establishing news bureaus in
Cuba and increasing the flow of information into and outside of
We have already had a number of important successes in our
implementation of related policies.

The total value of private humanitarian shipments licensed
by the USG since passage of the Cuban Democracy Act has just
topped 100 million dollars.
This amount far exceeds the
total assistance of other countries to Cuba during the same
period, making the American people, without a single dollar
of government money, the largest donor to Cuba.
Assistance from U.S. non-governmental sources has helped
alleviate the suffering of the Cuban people, especially in
the struggle against the neuritis epidemic, and has
strengthened the organizational capacities of Cuban NGOs,
including many churches.
We have also succeeded in licensing telecommunications
agreements between Cuba and U.S. companies that have
dramatically improved telephone, fax and email
communications with the island.

Yet these gains are insignificant in light of the objective.
The international community simply has not yet done enough to
accelerate the growth of civil society in Cuba and thereby foster
the process of peaceful, democratic change. Yet despite the
inadequacy of what has been accomplished to date, the government
of Cuba is leery and can be expected to resist exchanges and
other cooperation that would bring new openness to Cuban society.
Let me be clear about an issue related to this hostile
attitude of the Cuban government to some of the measures we are
here to discuss today.
You were not invited here today because
of, and your presence does not commit you to, any political or
policy agenda. We are not seeking to sign you up for any USG


Rather we want to learn how we can better facilitate
non-governmental activities which are legal and consistent with
the goal of a peaceful, democratic transition.
In turn we asr.
for your patience in dealing with a government bureaucracy not
noted for its speed or flexibility and for our requirement to
ensure that those activities we license as exceptions to the
embargo comply with regulations.
We know that many of you bridle
at government interference and would reject any type of
government control of your activities.
Please be assured that
our inquiries and regulations are designed to promote compliance
with the law and to verify that licensed activities are genuinely
non-governmental and aimed at promoting independence of thought
and action.
The USG is not and should not be the primary agent of change
in Cuba. Our role should be to encourage and facilitate those in
our own society and in Cuba who wish to foster peaceful,
democratic change.
Since the revolution, the Cuban government has sought to
take on all functions of civil society and has quashed nearly all
attempts by organizations or individuals to act independently.
The result is a distorted jumble, lacking both freedom and
Some professional societies, such as Cuban
lawyers, that depend on both code and precedent in their work,
actually lack any publication or journal to serve their members.
News organizations employ scores of reporters and journalists but
almost no news of substance is published or broadcast. Writers
and artists produce manuscripts and artifacts with little
potential for publication or realization, except outside the
country or for the consumption of visiting tourists.
dramatists can only see some of their works performed abroad.
One Cuban cinematographer who was asked why his new made-in-Cuba
movie had only been shown outside Cuba explained that this was
the case simply because it had been impossible to figure out what
the censors would allow in Cuba.
A vigorous civil society in Cuba-whether manifested through
church organizations, professional societies and worker groups,
community and fraternal associations, educational institutions,
human rights advocates or political parties-is a vehicle for
ideas, personal and collective expression, intellectual and
spiritual development, social innovation and experimentation.
will respond to basic human needs as well as to satisfy
humanistic yearnings for some means of expression.
institutions of civil society are there to answer citizen
demands, and to hold governments and other institutions
accountable to standards rooted in the values and traditions of
the community.
They are the pillars of human freedom and
It is this sense, and only this sense, that nongovernmental institutions, whether in this country or any othe~,

and their support for civil society are "subversive" of the
established order.
The new measures announced by the President in support of
the Cuban people are designed to allow private U.S. organizations
to play a more active role in strengthening and fostering civil
society in Cuba and to increase significantly the flow of
information to, from and within Cuba.

We hope to see:

the reciprocal establishment of news bureaus in Cuba and the
student and faculty exchanges between U.S. and Cuban
universities, including formal study abroad programs for
U.S. college students;
private (NGO) support for activities of recognized human
rights organizations in Cuba, and other activities of
individuals and NGOs which promote independent activity
intended to strengthen civil society in Cuba;
the sale and donation of communications equipment, such as
faxes, copiers, computers, modems and the like to Cuban NGOs
and individual counterparts.

Some of these areas are entirely new ones for US policy.
is in that spirit that we have asked you here today. We hope to
explain what we intend by the new regulations,
experiences, and, possibly, identify areas of uncertainty or
confusion which we need to further clarify within the interagency process.
We genuinely believe in the ability of nongovernmental actors to find creative ways to strengthen civil
society in Cuba. And we have assembled today an outstanding group
of institutions and individuals who have been doing just that.
During each of the three somewhat separate discussions we
will hold today, we hope to involve a lot of people in the give
and take and to identify others that you can meet with during our
coffee break or after the meeting concludes. We from the
Administration will explain the intent of the President's new
measures, and what kinds of criteria and procedures we will be
using to license the activities that the measures have authorized
in principle.
To help me here today, we have the various members
of the support for the Cuban people working groups which includes
representatives from the Departments of State, Treasury, and
Commerce, as well as the NSC, AID, and USIA.
We also want to welcome a number of people 'from the private
sector and some of our leading NGOs who will offer brief accounts
of some aspect of their experience with Cuba. We believe that it
is vitally important to take advantage of what has been learned
by these pioneers and to incorporate the lessons in new projects
for Cuba.
Indeed, we have had a true embarrassment of riches in


planning this program, despite the fact that we managed to
schedule it at the same time as several other important meetings.
I think that just goes to show the importance of this undertaking
for Cuba.
The result is. that we hope that you will also pay
attention to the people whom we introduce but who won't be able
to say much more than hello.
I am happy so many distinguished
people were willing to join us today, and I am certain you will
benefit from their insights.
We also hope to offer you plenty of opportunities to ask
questions and share your ideas during each of the sessions.
Please keep your questions and comments brief.
On the other hand
we want you to see this as the initiation of a dialogue that will
continue more productively because you have been able to meet the
persons who can help you the most, whether from the
Administration or the private sector.
The type of outreach efforts to the Cuban people that we
seek to encourage are in a way like the organization of this
meeting has been.
The effort has depended on the cooperation of
a lot of people, and I would like to acknowledge them before I
turn to introduce the following three sections of the program.
First, I want to recognize the colleagues who helped plan the
Peter Orr of AID, Gene Bigler of USIA, Clara David and
Serena Moe of Treasury, Joan Roberts of Commerce, Kevin Sullivan
and Tony Gambino of the Department of State, Rob Malley of the
NSC staff, and of course my secretary Angie Frias who was
involved along each step of the way.
The Public Affairs staff at
the Department of State, especially Yvonne O'Brien and Mary Ann
Dixon, were a great help in sending out the invitations and
taking care of attendance. Miguel Bretos and Francine Berkowitz
at the Smithsonian Institution immediately responded to our
shared purpose with the warmth and hospitality that you have
already seen and will enjoy a lot more as the afternoon
Before I move to the substantive components of our program,
I also want to take a moment to introduce the ranking U.S.
government officials who are responsible for the implementation
of our Cuba policy.
You have already met Michael Ranneberger our
very able Director of Cuban Affairs at the Department of State,
or 'ARA./CCA as it is designated organizationally. His office and
his helpful staff are generally your best source of overall
information and orientation on Cuban affairs.
Richard Newcomb is
the Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control at the
Department of the Treasury.
The majority of the interactions you
will have with the USG during the licensing process will be with
him and his colleagues.
One other colleague that I would also
like to acknowledge is Maria Elena Torano, one of the U.S.
Commissioners on Public Diplomacy, the group that oversees'the
work of the United States Information Agency.


I have one last exhortation before turning to the discussion
of educational and scientific exchanges.
It is to stress to all
of you the importance of delving as deeply in Cuba as you
possibly can to learn how to develop the projects and programs
that are of interest to you and to take advantage of the U.S.
Interests Section in the process. Our Principal Officer Joseph
Sullivan is a consummate diplomat who now knows Cuban society
extremely well after more than two years on the job, and he is
aided by a remarkable staff. Manuel Rocha left the Latin
American directorate at the NSC to become Joe's deputy, and he
works tirelessly to know and understand the Cuban people. Merrie
Blocker has made a sensational start as the new PAO, while Sandy
Salmon, the chief of the consular section, Bob Witajewski, the
political-econ chief, and the rest almost verge on famous for
what they have already accomplished.
They can and will help you
make contacts, figure out how to do things, and will also know
when to get out of the way when that is needed.
officialdom often goes out of its way to prevent contact between
visitors and the Interest Section, so don't hesitate to prepare
your connection in advance by working through the Cuba desks at
State and USIA.
Expanding educational, scientific and cultural exchanges
between U.S. institutions and Cuba is an important component of
our effort to increase the flow of information and ideas between
the U.S. and Cuba.
These activities may also indirectly engender
the development of civil society.
The American students and
faculty, scientists, artists and others who participate in these
activities will hold a range of opinions, more likely critical
than not, of our Cuba policy. We believe that regardless of
their views, their habits of critical independent thinking can't
help but have a positive impact on the Cubans with whom they come
into contact.
What better way than through personal encounters
can we convey the eagerness of the American people to usher in a
new era of friendship and cooperation with the people of Cuba.
The Cuba Democracy Act contemplates the licensing of travel for
"clearly defined educational purposes," and the new regulations
that we are here to discuss today spell out more clearly what
educational travel we are prepared to license.
I want to
emphasize that all programs for study in Cuba will. have to be
specifically licensed by the Department of Treasury.
programs may include shorter courses of study as well as the
pursuit of degree programs in Cuban universities.
The USG is prepared to assist you by providing orientations
and advice, but we do not want to get involved in negotiating for
We expect that U.S. institutions will follow the same
professional standards they do in any international undertaking:
seeking the most enlightening, varied and professional experience
they can, and resisting attempts by foreign institutions or
governments to structure their travel, contacts citizens, or with
their professional counterparts or fellow students.


The President's decision to open the way for broader
involvement of U.S. NGOs in Cuba is perhaps the most important of
his announcements on October 6.
The Administration wants to
allow U.S. NGOs to apply their creativity and energy to the
challenge of strengthening civil society in Cuba.
Yet as we open
this door, we are concerned about the array of "government
organized" NGOs or GONGOs that the Cuban regime has created to
attract and channel the flow of international humanitarian
assistance to the Cuban people. As many of you know from direct
experience, these organizations vary considerably in the way they
work, the closeness of their ties to the party and the
government, and the degree of politicization of their activities.
It is your own organization's reputation and experience and your
ability to design the best program for accomplishing your goals
on behalf of the Cuban people that will ultimately guide us.
One of the most exciting recent developments in Cuba is the
emergence of new groups of independent professionals.
formation of a group of doctors was recently announced, and there
are also budding organizations of economists, teachers, lawyers
and others.
The first of these groups, and in many ways still
the pioneer, is the Association of Independent Journalists of
Cuba that was established almost five years ago.
We have decided
to invite a representative of this organization to initiate our
discussion today of the situation related to journalists and the
prospects for the formation of press bureaus in Havana.
rather than have us bureaucrats go on about this topic, we will
turn to two outstanding journalists to conclude our program.
Again, thank you for joining us this afternoon.
Now, manos a la