President Obama is due to give his State of the Union address and while there has already been news about what will be included in the speech, experts are calling for the president to focus on Cuba once again.
According to a report by Reuters, a group of 78 policy experts and former U.S. officials has written to the White House urging the administration to work with Congress to update Cuba legislation to reflect “21st century realities.”
The policy experts have not said directly that they want the US to put a stop to the decades of embargos place on Cuba by the US, however the letter has clearly stated that Congress needs to look very seriously at reform to the sanctions which have not been changed since they were written as law back in 1996, almost 20 years ago.
According to Reuters, the letter includes names from across the political spectrum, including Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of State George Shultz, President Clinton’s National Security Advisor Sandy Berger, as well as three former assistant secretaries of state for the Western Hemisphere and a group of prominent Cuban-American leaders.
This latest letter follows a similar one that was sent in May 2013 which had been signed by 43 people and called on President Obama to consider opening up travel between the two countries as well as considering commerce relations.
“We write to commend you on the historic actions you are taking to update America’s policy toward Cuba and Cuban citizens,” the new letter says, titled ‘Support for a new course on Cuba.’
“Our new posture of engagement will advance our national interests and our values by empowering the Cuban people’s capacity to work toward a more democratic and prosperous country – conditions that are very much in the U.S. interests,” it adds.
According to Reuters, the letter also calls on Obama “to work with Congress to update the legislative framework with regard to Cuba so that it, too, reflects 21st century realities.”
The letter also encourages the Obama administration to “continue to call on Havana to respect the human rights of the Cuban people,” including at an upcoming Summit of the Americas in April where both Cuba and the U.S. will attend together for the first time.
Whether or not the letter will have any impact on the content of the State of the Union address given by President Obama is yet to be seen, as already the focus of the speech is widely believed to be on supporting the middle classes through taxation of big business.