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The U.S. city of Cambridge, Massachusetts, unanimously approved a resolution Monday calling for an end to the U.S. embargo against Cuba, still in force despite widespread rejection in the United States and abroad.
Policy Order 2021 #50 calls for “the immediate restoration of engagement with the Republic of Cuba,” urging the U.S. Congress to “pass legislation that will finally end the unsuccessful and harmful 59-year old economic, financial and commercial embargo” as well as the restrictions on travel to and from Cuba.
The complete restoration of trade and travel between the two countries would be beneficial to both, the resolution notes, particularly in the areas of food production, economic opportunities, education, health care, tourism, arts, music, and sports, along with medical and biotechnological research.
The Policy Order was introduced by Councillor Patricia Nolan and co-sponsored by Councillors Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler, Dennis J. Carlone, and Quinton Zondervan.
Councilors Carlone and Zondervan previously introduced a similarly successful Policy Order in October 2020, approved unanimously by the Cambridge City Council, that called for scientific and medical collaboration with Cuba, considering Cuba’s many successful epidemiological and medical approaches to COVID-19, including the development of low-cost vaccines.
Cambridge, a city of 110,000 people across the river from Boston, the capital of Massachusetts, is home to both Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as well as to a number of the country’s leading biotechnology and research institutes, including Moderna—developer of one of the leading COVID-19 vaccines.
According to Cambridge City Councillor Nolan: "It is past time for the United States to have full relations – diplomatic, trade and travel – with Cuba, our close neighbor, since both our countries would benefit and can learn from each other. The embargo should never have been instituted – it was only due to short-sighted, misguided policies of the Cold War era, and the USA should join the rest of the world in establishing relations.”
In response to the resolution, the former head of the Cuban Mission in the United States, Jose Ramón Cabañas, remarked on Twitter that it is "almost a joke to surrender American foreign policy under the opinion of one particular group in one particular point of the national geography when you have so many cities and local governments asking for engagement with Cuba."
Cambridge is the second city in the past month to call directly for lifting the U.S. embargo of Cuba, following a similar call from the City of Chicago on February 23.
It is also one of 16 resolutions passed by city and town councils over the past year, many of which have emphasized the need for collaboration with Cuba on COVID-19 treatments considering Cuba’s many advances in this regard.