Legendary ballerina's letter ignites massive support from US stars

Campaign News | Monday, 10 December 2007

Cuban ballet legend Alicia Alonso appeals to US to end travel ban

U.S. Cuba Cultural Exchange (USCCE), a national network of artists and presenters, took the initiative from Alicia Alonso’s letter (http://www.cubaresearch.info/alicialetter) to create a campaign to end the ban the U.S. has imposed infringing on the rights of artists in both countries to collaborate and create.

USCCE has obtained an unprecedented number of signatures (http://www.cubaresearch.info/cubaletter) from noted artists, intellectuals, presenters and industry executives from Alice Walker to Tom Waits calling for an end to this ban between our two countries. During the Bush administration further restrictions have been imposed under the embargo, impeding upon a common dialogue of art and culture.

Alicia Alonso, who is also UNESCO’s Goodwill Ambassador, stated in her letter, “Let us work together so that Cuban artists and writers can take their talent to the United States, and that you are not prevented to come to our Island to share your knowledge and values; so that a song, a book, a scientific study or a choreographic work are not considered, in an irrational way, as a crime.” Her stirring letter inspired the organizers of USCCE to create a movement towards changing the current restrictions acquiring hundreds of signatures in its initial outreach. The letter, along with the hundreds of signatures will be delivered to the White House and the campaign will be ongoing until changes are made to allow for a free flow of creative expression between the U.S. and Cuba.

Actor Sean Penn stated, “When the fulfillment of multi-cultural interest and exposure is limited by the arbitrary acts of any government; when the dialogue and interaction between artists of one country and any other is banned, we begin to humiliate our own humanity. It has been said that the poets are the unacknowledged legislators of any given era. Let’s let those poets in the United States and Cuba interact.”

“The response has been overwhelming and reaffirming the strong support to change such absurd and inhumane laws preventing art and culture to flourish,” stated Louis Head and Bill Martinez, Co-Founders of USCCE. Ry Cooder, who collaborated with the Buena Vista Social Club and reintroduced Cuban music to the mainstream masses, issued a strong statement stating "President Clinton helped us bring Buena Vista Social Club out to the world. President Bush helps his gangster buddies in Miami make more money. You be the judge!"

Actor Danny Glover sent the following statement, "As a basic democratic tenant Americans should support freedom of travel and of exchange between Cuban and American artists whose culturally diverse imaginations and creative collaborations are so necessary to dismantle the immoral blockade and censorship that impedes citizens from both countries in their projects to build respectful, just, and peaceful relationship between our two countries." Industry executive Robert Kraft, President of Fox Music stated, “The intrinsic value of an artistic dialogue with our Cuban friends can not be underestimated. The musical, artistic, and intellectual influence that Cuban culture has on American creativity is profound, and must be continued and supported.”

USCCE was formed in 2005 to encourage change in U.S. foreign policy towards Cuba bridging any cultural gaps allowing for shared free expression through the arts. To view the full list of signatures or for further information on USCCE, visit http://www.cubaresearch.info/cubaletter


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