CABA Delegation Takes Trip To Washington
The Cuban American Bar Association has never shied away from politics, but the group is ratcheting up its political involvement with a trip to Washington.
A CABA delegation will travel for the first time to the nation's capital for its annual retreat Thursday to Saturday.
While in Washington, CABA will meet with members of Congress as well as high-level administration officials. It's unclear whether President Barack Obama or Secretary of State John Kerry will attend meetings set at the White House and State Department.
"We're hoping to meet with President Obama, but obviously with the current issues with Syria we understand how busy he is," CABA president Sandra Ferrera said.
CABA has been granted a 50-minute meeting at the White House through U.S. Representative Joe Garcia of Miami and a 75-minute meeting at the State Department to conduct briefings on Cuba.
The association also has meetings scheduled with U.S. Senators Marco Rubio of Florida, Orrin Hatch of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas and U.S. Representatives Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, both of Miami, and Cuban-born Albio Sires of New Jersey. The group also will meet with Ambassador Carmen Lomellin, U.S. permanent representative to the Organization of American States.
The group also will hold a Cuba briefing at the Washington office of Hogan Lovells. Yara Lorenzo, a CABA board member and Miami associate with Hogan Lovells, set up the meeting.
"We just wanted to go to D.C. and let people know who we are and what we're about and that we're available as a resource about human rights and legal issues affecting the island," Ferrera said.
CABA members will advocate for several of the association's key policy issues. One is working to get special humanitarian visas for former Cuban political prisoners living in Spain under substandard conditions.
In 2003, in what's known as the Black Spring, the Cuban government jailed 75 political dissidents. In 2010, Cuba, in an accord with Spain and the Catholic Church, gave the dissidents the option of release from prison if they agreed to exile in Spain. All fled Cuba. In 2010, those in the group of 75 who wanted to immigrate to the United States were granted humanitarian visas.