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‘Engage Cuba’ officially launches with TV ad

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

While advocates for the U.S. liberalizing relations with Cuba have hailed President Obama‘s overture to the Castro-led government, they say there is still much more to be done, such as liberalizing travel restrictions that still exist.

Today Engage Cuba, a group created to push for the end of the 53-year trade embargo, has a new ad that will begin airing on Fox News, CNBC and MSNBC.

“Since December, we’ve heard from Americans around the country who can’t believe the U.S. government is denying us the right to travel anywhere in the world,” said James Williams, president of Engage Cuba. “Public polls show that Americans are saying, ‘We are tired of the Cold War-era policy that won’t let us trade or travel to Cuba. We want our government to let us play a role in this significant period of transition.’ That’s why we’re launching Engage Cuba.”

“One of these days, our legislative branch of government is going to have to start to function,” says Luke Albee, a senior adviser to Engage Cuba who served as chief of staff to U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Patrick Leahy. “There is no better issue to help make this happen than changing our archaic Cuba policy. It is in our national interest. And it is right for America and the Cuban people.”

Tonight in Washington, D.C., Engage Cuba will host a launch party, with Tampa Bay area Democratic U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor expected to attend. Other invited guests include a group of U.S. senators, including Warner and Leahy and Arizona’s Jeff Flake, Maine’s Angus King and Rhode Island’s Sheldon Whitehouse.

Watch the 30-second ad below:

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at

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