CODEPINK Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - February 3, 2015
Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK Co-founder, Medea@codepink.org
Alli McCracken, CODEPINK National Coordinator, Alli@codepink.org
Miami Press Conference for First Large US Delegation to Visit Cuba Since Opening of Relations: “To Cuba With Love”-- 150 people traveling February 8-15
When: 8:00am on Sunday, February 8, 2015
Where: Hialeah Ramada Inn (by the pool), 1950 West 49th Street, Hialeah, FL
Miami, Florida –– The activist group CODEPINK will be hosting a press conference in Miami for the “super delegation” of 150 people to Cuba to mark the recent thawing in US-Cuba relations, particularly the easing of travel restrictions. Timed for Valentine’s Day, the “To Cuba With Love” delegation will include some of our nation's most dynamic activists, including leaders from the peace and justice movements, and the environmental, healthcare and LGBTQ communities, and representatives from Ferguson, Missouri, working on police accountability. Instead of traveling under the onerous license from the Office of Foreign Assets Control, they will now be traveling under a general educational license.
The delegation, led by CODEPINK co-founders Jodie Evans and Medea Benjamin, will have high-level meetings with government officials, visit members of the Cuban 5 who were recently released from US prison, talk to doctors who combat Ebola in Africa, meet with entrepreneurs about the new business possibilities, and interact with local people about cultural, economic, environmental, educational, agricultural and health care issues.
Speaking at the press conference will be co-founders of CODEPINK plus several representatives from the delegation such as health professionals, environmental activists, and professors, who are anxious to meet with their counterparts in Cuba.
Numerous delegates have been involved with Cuban/U.S. issues for years—lobbying, protesting, advocating for the closure of Guantanamo Bay prison, setting up sister cities and committing civil disobedience by openly challenging the travel restrictions. Some, including CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin, had their passports taken away and their bank accounts frozen for their activities. “It’s so exciting that after 50 years, the US government is finally beginning to lift the ridiculous restrictions on our right to visit our Cuban neighbors,” said Benjamin. “We look forward to the day when all restrictions are lifted.”
“We’ve been following the debate very closely in the United States, and we’re concerned that some elected officials like Senator Marco Rubio are trying to reverse the progress that’s been made,” said Jodie Evans, one of the co-founders of CODEPINK. “We think the US government should go even further to take Cuba off the terrorist list and to accede to the Cuban government’s demand that the Guantanamo Base be returned to Cuba.”
The group will also be having a press conference in Havana upon arrival. More information about the trip can be found at www.codepink.org/cuba.