White House Conference Call on Cuba – URGENT

This morning at 10:30, I’ve been invited to participate in a White House Conference Call on Cuba with Dan Fisk, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs, and Caleb McCarry, Cuba Transition Coordinator, U.S. Department of State. We’ll be discussing, obviously, this US administration’s actions vis-a-vis Cuba.

If there’s anything you all want to let the White House know or if there’s any questions you would like answers to, please let me know in the comments ASAP.

Update: For starters, Ill be mentioning the possibility of charges being filed against raul castro for his involvement in the Brothers to the Rescue murders. Ill be voicing displeasure about the wet foot/dry foot policy and Ill be asking about “advocacy agreements” added to Cuba trade contracts.

This is your chance to have your voices heard, folks. Please take advantage of this opportunity.

Update: Conference call just ended. There were quite a few Cuban-Americans and others participating including Carlos Eire, Alvaro Vargas Llosa, Jose Basulto, Ninoska, Carlos Mayans, Cuban-American Mayor of Wichita, Kansas…too many to note all. I was quite humbled to be among such estemmed company and to tell the truth quite nervous.

All asked important questions. The raul castro indictment topic was addressed and the response was that the government is in the process of authenticating the recently released recording and will make a determination once that is complete. Also addresed was the US government’s stepping up of diplomatic outreach to allies and other countries to garner support for the democratic process in Cuba. Carlos Eire, specifically, addressed the PR efforts needed to help garner understanding of the realities of Cuba.

The new immigration policy for Cuban doctors was mentioned and we were told there have been quite a few doctors already taking advantage of said policy with a list of many more waiting in the wings.

Mine was the second to last question and I fumbled through a follow-up of Carlos’ questions, asking what efforts the administration is undertaking to garner support for the Cuban cause not just from the rest of the world and from within Cuba, but to help educate the US public on the realities of Cuba.

Obviously, these conference calls are just one of the measures being taken, both to listen to what our community thinks but to help us get the word out to the American public. In essense, the US governmnet will continue and in some instances expand their efforts for support from the American people, but the onus is on us to help deliver that message.

It is we who have to keep speaking the truth about Cuba, shouting even if it appears no one is listening, until more eyes are opened and more hearts are touched.

Our work is only beginning, folks.

39 thoughts on “White House Conference Call on Cuba – URGENT”

  1. Ask Cuba for freedom of political prisoners for the lifting of the US embargo.

    Good luck Val.

    God Bless You

  2. Wow! Congrats.

    two things if you have some time:

    1. The plight of political prisoners, like Dr. Biscet.

    2. The role church groups have played in helping Castro’s regime and trying to pass it off as a humanitarian or religious gesture and their trips to Cuba. There needs to be an investigation on the church leaders of this organization and a re opening of an investigation on how closely the NCC worked with the Castro dictatorship to get Elain to Fidel. The National Council of Churches and the latest actions by the Episcopal church USA to help Castro in relation to breaking the embargo.


    Knock em dead!

  3. Ditto on your questions. I’d like you to ask about post-castro Cuba reconstruction. Are any plans in place and what will be the role the Cuban exile community will play as a bridge to the world in the rebuilding? Capital funding? Etc.

  4. Please, please, please hammer away at the Brothers to the Rescue suit, and the necessity to support it and do the right thing, instead of waffling along like Clinton did…what better way to undermine and de-legitimize the kaSStro klan than by indicting raul and fidel as criminals…this would send a hell of a message to the Cuban people, and perhaps “stoke the embers.” It would give hope to those in the island that the USA does not intend to consider a transition from fidel to raul “business as usual,” and that the United States does not consider any kaSStro as a legitimate head of the Cuban state.

    I admit to having strong personal reasons and interests in the matter, in connection with the death of my friend Armando Alejandre Jr. in that vicious, and cowardly shoot-down, planned and abetted by the kaSStro gangsters.

  5. GUILLERMO FARINAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Val, aside from what’s been mentioned a good idea would be to have the letter we all signed in response to ENCASA. That should give you enough talking points.

  6. Val, You’ve pretty much covered what I would like discussed. Thank you for offering us this opportunity.

  7. Val In addition to all of the above, I would mention that the State Department could do a lot more to counter the propaganda coming out of Havana, just straight talk with facts, more press releases. We need more counter propaganda. Congrats!!!

  8. Wow, Val, congratulations! What an honor.

    I agree with everything you’re going to bring to the table. Please stress the importance of the dissimination of information right now, i.e. doing as much as possible to prevent Radio and TV Marti from being blocked. And I strongly agree with the above comment from Alberto-Q that the U.S. administration should not consider the turnover of power from Fidel to Raul as legitimate. I’m a bit torn over the embargo at this point, but they should consider lifting the travel ban for U.S. citizens in the near future.

  9. Val, Please tell them that the US government needs to do a much better job of communicating the truth about Cuba to the folks in the US who do not have the advantage of living in Miami and can’t get access to the information and background that we get in this community, especially since the MSM is so soft on castro. There would be much more interest and enthusiasm in changing Cuba if people here in the US were more aware of the true situation. This needs to be done in preparation to undertaking policies that will help change Cuba. I hate to say that image and PR are so important, but they really are.

  10. Congrats Val,

    Question: why do we need to ‘fly’ airplanes near Cuba to promote freedom and democracy when we have a land base in Cuba itself?

  11. Val,

    I am incredibly impressed, but not surprise. Stay away from the rhetoric and stick to the facts. As someone mentioned above, the need for more “counter propaganda” and not just general stuff. We need to put a face to it, like Dr. Biscet.

  12. Congratulations, that’s quite an honor.

    I addition to educating the public on the horrors of living under communism in Cuba, I think the White House needs to educate the public on the difference between illegal immigration and asylum seekers.

    I believe one of the reasons that the wet foot/dry foot policy has yet to be re-addressed is the outcry about illegal immigration, especially from members of the President’s party. I have seen among my fellow Republicans a general lack of understanding the differences between refugees and illegal immigrants. This needs to change before any policy change can be effectively made.

  13. OMG, that is amazing! It’s well past 10:30 now, so I hope it went well (and can’t wait to hear all about it), and that you kept the “you knows” to a minimum. 😉

  14. Good Luck Val, I know you’ll be an effective and forceful advocate for the right policies we should be pursuing vis-a-vis Cuba.

  15. I think its great that you are going to have the oppotunity to speak and be heard, now I like to say that actions, they speak louder than words.
    Lets see if they will indict the Castro’s!

  16. Great Val!
    Tell them that Cubans who are stopped at Sea should NOT be sent back to Cuba. Their life becomes more of a hell and they are easy targets for the govt. mobs.
    Tell them that WE, The UNITED STATES should do more for the Castro political prisoners. We should ask other countries that have relations with the dictator to intercede on behave of Cuban political prisioners. PLEASE bring the name of Dr. Oscar Elias Bicset to the White House.
    Buena suerte, mi hermano.

  17. Wet finger… touch Val on the shoulder… hear the sizzle!!!! Wow Val, what an honor. There’s so much to cover but you hit the main points that are relevant now. Nervous, mixed in with talent is good. I think your hard work on this blog and your devotion to the cause has earned you the privilege to sit side by side with all those that you mentioned.

  18. Don’t ever retreat, don’t ever give up.

    Your courage is a great inspiration to Cubans as well as non-Cubans.

    May God bless you and keep you.

  19. Val, todos esos momentos de frustracion, todas esas mañanas de levantarte de madrugada para leer las noticias y comentarios de diversas fuentes; Esto es el fruto de tus esfuerzos – el poder servir como una voz para ésos en Cuba que no la tienen. Creo que puedo hablar por todas las personas que comentan en este blog que estamos muy orgullosos de ti y los contribuidores de Babalu.

  20. Val,

    Like Tati said: “…estamos muy orgullosos de ti y los contribuidores de Babalu.”

    Gain the confidence you will need in the future from all these opportunities that will continue to come your way. I sound like a fortune cookie! Anyway, know that you are very capable, Val.

  21. Can’t thank all of you who participated in the conference call enough…am sure you all articulated the message loud and clear and certainly this poster could not have done better. You are right, the work is only beginning. But, to quote Churchill again, it perhaps is “the end of the beginning.

  22. Would you please tell them, that some of us are having the nagging feeling,
    that our struggle for Cuba’s freedom is only relevant to them
    come election time……
    may the force be with you

  23. To all,

    First, thanks so much for your kind words of congratulations and for your support. I am once again humbled.

    I feel the need to impress upon you all one thing as I dont really feel comfortable receiving such accolades and since there have been certain criticisms of me by parties I will not name: this isnt about me. i dont want to seem unappreciative to those that have congratulated me for this and other recent events but this, to me, is not about me getting a column up on Real Clear politics or Townhall or participating in this phone conference today.

    We put a lot of hard work into the blog not to get kudos, but to get the word out. To help people understand Cuba and to counter all the leftist bullshit out there in the world.

    Every word written on this here blog has a specific purpose and Im sure you all know me well enough by now to know that this purpose isnt to get my ugly mug out in front of a camera or to have some newspaper article written about me. This, everything here, all the hard work, all the interviews, all the editorials, all of it – is simply and solely about Cuba and her release from bondage.

    Im not the sharpest pencil in the box, I dont have masters degrees in political science or economics or international relations or law. Im just the hokey son of a welder that happens to be able to string a words together to express relatively coherent thoughts for what i deem to be a just cause.

    And that’s it. And trust me on this, guys: I learn much more from you all than you do from me. And I am just as inspired by you guys as you may be from anything written here.

    We are all here for one reason and one reason alone and hopefully, one day – soon – we’ll all be rewarded with a free Cuba.

    Because that’s what this is all about.

  24. Val, (1) With all due respect, BabaluBlog, your creation, was the pioneer in getting the word out in the Blogosphere about Cuba. For what it’s worth, it’s the blog about Cuba. The recognition you are receiving is due to that salient fact alone. Many have followed your footsteps, many do great work, but you were the first and people are finally recognizing the fact that you are an important voice in the Cuba debate. (2) Now, what is this bullshit about “certain criticisms” you wrote about? If these “critics” read this blog, then let them crawl out from under their rock and state their complaint publicly on this blog. This is so fucking petty that makes my blood boil. Satan’s favorite sin — envy — has gotten the better of them. Well here is the patented, trademarked Pitbull response to these “critics”: Fuck you and fuck your criticisms. We do the work we do here because it has to be done. If we were publicity hounds, we’d be in a different line of work, like writing Latina Chick novels.

  25. Val,

    Congratulations and a big thank you to Babalu! I’m one of many, who look forward to your posts and know that you are making a difference… it’s evident! Stay the course! It’s only a matter of time and patience to see a Free Cuba.

    I wish you well! 🙂 Melek

    “To live in the presence of great truths and eternal laws, to be led by permanent ideals – that is what keeps a man patient when the world ignores him, and calm and unspoiled when the world praises him.” ~ H. De Balzac

  26. Took the words right out of my mouth El pitbull. Thanks to Val, X numbers of people are reading the truth about Cuba, about che and fidel and the rest of the insects from that rats nest and that’s what it’s about, getting the word out to counter all the propaganda. We don’t have an army, we have words and Val I know you don’t want the praise, but your great heartfelt writing is Babalu, it’s that and all your hard work and dedication that has brought you this well deserved recognition. So thank you, whether you want to hear it or not. Latina Chick novels? Oh my,priceless!

  27. Beautiful, Val! But forgive us if we can’t help ourselves in praising you, we cannot be argued with when we say you deserve it.

    And yes, it is all about a free Cuba, it would be worthless if it weren’t. If you get up on RCP, you are read by people who matter and that’s important.

  28. Val, your self-deprecating style and humility makes you the perfect spokesperson for “the people” about Cuba, whether you realize it or not.

    When I sign on here and write my two cents about this issue or that, I feel that im writing in the place of my father-in-law, a very simple man who left Cuba in ’61. He’s not really on the Internet, and he’s not the most articulate person in the world- a waiter by trade- but he’s a venerable fount of wisdom and common sense about everything Cuba. One musing from him would surpass the entire collective “wisdom” that emanated from all the credentialed talking heads of the Clinton Administration over the course of 8 years.

    Having an advanced degree is nice and all, but it is by no means a prerequisite for advocating wiser policies. In fact, intellectual pointy-heads oftentimes serve as obstacles to progress, instead of advocating for authentic reforms and changes that they should be pursuing.

    We are tired of the shuttle diplomacy and diplo-babble that substitutes for the sterner tone and tougher policies and that have dominated the debate and discussion, and further solidified the status quo in the post 9-11 age- just look at the situation with Iran and Israel right now. We need the collective WILL to do the RIGHT thing, as unpopular as it may appear to some to pursue. In memory of our countrymen who died on Sept 11th, we must face up the hard truths about the evil that we confront in the world, rather than just paper over it and hope that these crises will just disappear. We owe it to those people and to our servicemen who have lost their lives in the subsequent struggle against terrorism and evil, and we owe them nothing less then that.

    The real knowledge and creative ideas about Cuba doesn’t reside in the beltway or in the media- it resides in the hearts and minds of people who aren’t apologists, enablers, or dupes of authoritarian regimes, and who see the United States as the GOOD GUYS on the World Stage. Those are the people who visit your blog everyday (except for the occassional agent provocateur, no doubt!) So take hold of the flame Val- we all know that it’s in good hands.

  29. Congratulations Val. I’m to late to suggest anything now. I’ll try to be prepared next time.
    There are many Cuba blogs but yours and George’s have something special.

  30. Val,

    I know I’m late on this (as with everything else) as I was out of town for a couple of days. Despite your objections…I will also congratulate you. It’s not about getting credit for the blog, it’s about the respect you’ve gained from those in high positions.

    Congrats again and thanks!

  31. Great Job Val! I am going to gather up all the requests and wishes from the rest of the Blogs that I have listed on the Anti-Fidel “International” Blogs link on my website and will send it over to you. Like this we can coordinate all the blogs and websites. We’ll all work “together”, that’s what it’s all about, right? There are so many blogs, websites and organizations on the internet, here in America but most importantly around the world, that are working very hard, on a daily basis, to expose the truth of the Castro regime and nobody is familiar with them. Val, we cannot forget all their hard work. If you are to “represent” all of us, then these Blogs must be heard. If they are not heard, then we are not working together and you are not representing “All” of us. I will be posting all our requests on Cubanology.com so everyone could see them and you could mention them, when you meet again. Thank You, great post, Jose Reyes

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