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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Readout of the President’s Meeting with Cuban-American Leaders

The President met today with Cuban-American leaders at the White House, including civil society advocates, faith leaders, and representatives from the private sector, in advance of his trip to Cuba.  From the beginning of his Administration, President Obama has consulted closely with the Cuban-American community about his Cuba policy, and wanted to hear directly from community leaders about his upcoming trip to Cuba. The President reviewed our ongoing efforts to normalize relations with Cuba. The President highlighted the recent regulatory changes made by the Departments of the Treasury and Commerce, and the impact those changes would have on the ability of Americans to travel to Cuba and engage directly with the Cuban people. He also reiterated that while in Havana, he will meet with the Cuban government, Cuban entrepreneurs, and Cuban independent civil society. He emphasized that improving the lives of the Cuban people is a central focus of our policy, including access to increased opportunity, connectivity, and our enduring support for human rights -- including respect for the right to speak freely, peacefully assembly, and associate. The President noted that he will continue to consult closely with the Cuban-Americans, who represent our values and shared aspirations for a better future for the American and Cuban people.


The following individuals attended the meeting:

  • Emilio Estefan, Founder, Estefan Enterprises Inc.
  • Mike Fernandez, Founder, MBF Healthcare Partners
  • Angela Freyre, General Counsel, Export-Import Bank
  • Felice Gorordo, Founder, Roots of Hope
  • Carlos Gutierrez, Partner, Albright Stonebridge Group
  • Father Fernando Heria, Miami Catholic Priest and Judge of the Tribunal to Consenso Cubano, St. Brendan Catholic Church
  • Ric Herrero, Executive Director, #CubaNow
  • Consuelo Isaacson, President, Friends of Caritas Cubana
  • Jorge Mas, Chairman and Co-Founder, MasTec
  • Alejandro Mayorkas, Deputy Secretary, Department of Homeland Security
  • John McIntire, Chairman, Cuba Emprende Foundation
  • Ralph Patino, Founder of Patino & Associates
  • Ariel Pereda, Chair, Engage Cuba Business Council
  • Carlos Saladrigas, Chairman, Cuba Study Group
  • Micho Spring, Chair of Global Corporate Practice, Weber Shandwick
  • Silvia Wilhelm, Executive Director, Puentos Cubanos