In February 2016, a delegation of approximately 40 American publishing industry representatives met with their publishing counterparts in Havana, Cuba. The two days of meetings, held with the support of the Cuban government, represented a historic milestone. Their purpose was to build bridges of understanding and explore opportunities for greater cultural and economic collaboration.
The American delegates included authors, publishers, distributors, literary agents, service providers, consultants, and independent booksellers. Cuba was represented by officials from the Cuban Book Institute, the Ministry of Culture, and the Cuban Writers Association, as well as by Cuban authors, publishers, academics, and students.
The undersigned companies and individuals—drawn from the American delegation as well as other leading U.S. publishing industry participants—hereby call upon the U.S. Congress and President Obama to lift the economic embargo against Cuba as it pertains to books and educational materials. This call is consistent with the will of the American people, who, according to 2015 Gallup and Pew polls, overwhelmingly support the elimination of the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba.
- We ask Congress and the president to lift the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba related to the production, distribution, and sale of books and educational materials.
- The U.S. trade embargo is harmful to book culture and runs counter to American ideals of free expression.
- Books are catalysts for greater cross-cultural understanding, economic development, free expression, and positive social change.
- Cuba boasts a rich and proud literary tradition with much to contribute to book culture.
- Cuba's adult literacy rate—nearly 100%—is among the highest in the world.
- Exciting commercial opportunities exist for the American and Cuban publishing communities to collaborate for the benefit of readers and writers everywhere.
- The American book publishing community stands ready to help Cuba's writers and publishers gain access to the global book market, and to help the Cuban people gain greater access to the amazing diversity of books published by American publishers.
Leylha Ahuile, PromoLatino*
Raymond Ambriano, Meadows Wye Logistics*
Dwight Baker, Baker Publishing Group*
Angela Bole, Independent Book Publishers Association
Todd Bottorff, Turner Publishing Company
Charles Brownstein, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
Cevin Bryerman, Publishers Weekly*
Leslie Budewitz, Sisters in Crime
Diana Calice, Independent Publishers Group*
Cecilia de la Campa, Writers House*
George Coe, Baker & Taylor*
Mark Coker, Smashwords*
Markus Dohle, Penguin Random House
Randy Dotinga, American Society of Journalists and Authors
Jane Dystel, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management
Brent Farmer, Charlesbridge Publishing
Terrance Finley, Books-A-Million
Jane Friedman, Open Road Integrated Media
Janet Fritsch, American Collective Stand*
Kenneth Fund, Quarto Publishing Group USA*
David George, California Writers Club
Diane Kelly, Romance Writers of America
Mark Kuyper, BISG
Michael Larsen and Elizabeth Pomada, San Francisco Writers Conference
Adam Lerner, Lerner Publishing Group*
Karen Lotz McMillen, Candlewick Press and Walker Books
Jon Malinowski, Combined Book Exhibit*
Joe Matthews, Independent Publishers Group*
Stephen Blake Mettee, Hummingbird Digital Media*
Jim Milliot, Publishers Weekly
Kristin Norell, individual*
Keith Ogorek, Author Solutions*
Tim O’Reilly, O’Reilly Media
Claribel Ortega, Combined Book Exhibit*
Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books and Savoy Bookshop & Cafe*
Michael Pietsch, Hachette Book Group
Carl Pritzkat, BookLife
John Quatrocchi, Albert Whitman & Co.*
Dominique Raccah, Sourcebooks*
Mary Rasenberger, Authors Guild
Calvin N. Reid Jr., Publishers Weekly*
Carolyn Reidy, Simon & Schuster
Steven Rosato, individual*
Susanah Scally, Meadows Wye Logistics*
James Schmelzer, Publishers’ Services International*
Rudy Shur, Square One Publishers
George Slowik Jr., Publishers Weekly
Oren Teicher, American Booksellers Association
Gregg Wilhem, individual*
Ray Wolf, Fox Chapel Publishing*
Steven Zacharius, Kensington Publishing
* Members of the U.S. publishing mission to Cuba