A resolution calling for an end to the U.S. Economic, Commercial and Financial Embargo against Cuba was passed at the Richmond City Council meeting on Tuesday March 1st by a vote of 6 in favor and one abstention. The initiative was introduced by Councilwoman Gayle McLaughlin and co-sponsored by Mayor Tom Butt.
“By supporting this resolution, we are standing with the majority of people in the United States who support a change of US policy towards Cuba. The blockade not only has made an impact on the Cuban people but also people in the United States” said Richmond former Mayor Gayle McLaughlin.
“People from throughout the U.S. and the world consider the US blockade of Cuba-which also restricts trade with Cuba by third party countries–to be ineffective, inhumane and in violation of U.S. laws and international conventions”, said Rita Barouch, Chair of the Richmond/Regla Friendship Committee. (Richmond has a Sister City in Regla, Cuba)
The resolution calls on Rep. DeSaulnier and Senators Boxer and Feinstein to support and co-sponsor legislation currently pending in the House and Senate that will end the economic blockade and outdated travel restrictions: the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015 (HR664), the Cuba Trade Act of 2015 (HR3238), the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015 (S299), and the Freedom to Export to Cuba Act (S491).
On December 17, 2014, U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced a new era of relations between the two countries and agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations. In November 2015 Mayor Butt and Councilwoman McLaughlin presented a proclamation to welcome Kenia Serrano, President of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples, who visited Richmond and emphasized that Cuba’s number one priority is the end of the US Blockade.
“The resolution adopted by the City Council of Richmond is very timely. As President Obama plans to visit Cuba in March it is important for those of us living in the United States to continue putting pressure on elected officials and the administration to end the blockade on Cuba, to lift the travel ban and to return Guantanamo to Cuba. Hopefully the resolution passed at the Richmond City Council tonight will be replicated by City Councils around the country” said Alicia Jrapko, U.S. coordinator of the International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity.