New campaign launch - 'Wish you were here'

Campaign News | Thursday, 26 March 2009

Time for a UK ministerial visit to Cuba

The new ‘Wish you were here’campaign targets the British government and calls for a high level ministerial visit to Cuba to improve relations between our two countries.

We want thousands of action cards to be sent to the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, calling on him to visit Cuba in 2009.


‘Wish you were here’ action cards are available from the CSC office on 020 8800 0155 or by emailing

Please request them for distribution among your friends, family, work colleagues, and union branches today.

Ask your MP to sign EDM 1171 too. (See link below)


After 50 years of the Cuban Revolution, CSC believes it is time for the the British government to respect the popular choice of the Cuban people and to increase efforts to improve UK relations with the island. The clearest message that our Government could give would be a high level ministerial delegation to discuss, without preconditions, issues of mutual interest as well as differences of opinion.

Right now there are many positive developments in international relations with Cuba, and it is important the UK is not left behind.

For example, in 2008 the EU lifted remaining sanctions which had previously restricted high level government exchanges.

Not only has Spain had exchange visits between Cuban Foreign Secretary Felipe Perez Roque and sent his counterpart Miguel Angel Moratinos, they have also hinted that a visit by Spanish President Jose Zapatero is a possibility in 2009.

Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheál Martin, has just announced that he would make a formal visit early in 2009, a host of Latin American leaders plan to visit within the next few months, and more are sure to follow.

There is no reason for David Miliband not to consider a formal visit to Cuba in 2009.

Such a visit would have many benefits for the UK. Positive engagement would allow our government to distance itself from the aggressive policies of the outgoing Bush administration that the UK was so often associated with.

Millions of UK citizens have visited the island on holiday and 200,000 British tourists visit Cuba every year. Like those visitors, David Miliband would be better able to see for himself many of the achievements, as well as the problems faced, and would be in a position to strengthen relations with Cuba and beyond into Latin America.

In a time of worldwide recession, Britain could be well placed to develop relations with the island that would benefit UK companies as well as Cuban ones.

Time for Change

The illegal US blockade remains a real obstacle. The world still waits for an end to this cold war policy, despite its condemnation by a record 185 countries at 2008’s UN vote.

However, there are signs of a shift in the US position. In a letter to president-elect Obama, an influential coalition of US business groups called for "the complete removal of trade and travel restrictions on Cuba."

Obama has said that he will loosen restrictions on travel and remittances for Cuban-Americans and indicated that he would discuss issues directly with the Cuban government. This is a welcome departure from Bush's approach.

Why wait for a US lead?

A UK Ministerial visit in 2009 would be a real chance for the UK to show once and for all that it does have an independent foreign policy.

Please ask David Miliband to make an official visit Cuba in the 50th anniversary year of its Revolution and break with the US driven policies of the past.


- Sign the ‘Wish you were here’ action card today

- Ask your friends, colleagues and family to sign the card today

- Get unions/organisations you belong to distribute the card too

‘Wish you were here’ action cards are available from the CSC office on 020 8800 0155 or by emailing

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