PRESS RELEASE: CDA Thanks Sen. Jeff Flake for Leadership on Cuba Policy

WASHINGTON—In response to the news that Arizona Senator Jeff Flake will not seek re-election at the end of his term in 2018, Emily Mendrala, executive director of the Center for Democracy in the Americas, released the following statement:

“CDA thanks Senator Jeff Flake for his tireless work for a U.S. policy toward Cuba based on engagement and mutual respect. We are disappointed that the Senate will lose one of its staunchest advocates of engagement, but are hopeful that the spirit of bipartisanship and levelheaded decision-making he championed will remain.

“During his tenure in the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives, Sen. Flake has been a steadfast champion in the fight for normalization. CDA is proud to have worked with Sen. Flake and supported his leadership on Cuba policy.

“We also commend Sen. Flake for his work to promote the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act, which has garnered 55 cosponsors in the 2017 U.S. Senate. We hope that Senate leadership will recognize the bipartisan support among Members of Congress and the U.S. and Cuban public for doing away with travel restrictions, and allow a floor vote on the bill. Over the past three years, the increase in travel to Cuba has allowed greater numbers of U.S. visitors and Cubans to engage with each other, provided support for Cuban entrepreneurs, and opened opportunities for commerce.

“CDA is confident Sen. Flake will remain a strong and impactful voice in the Cuba policy sphere.”

Sarah Stephens, founding executive director of CDA and director of the Atlantic Fellows Platform for Innovation and Narrative, said:

“Long before it was trendy to visit Havana, Jeff Flake was fighting for our constitutional right to travel there. He is courageous and dedicated to liberty and principle above party and politics.

“As someone who traveled to Cuba with him on several occasions, and observed him for nearly 20 years in Congress, I can tell you that Jeff Flake is unique and will be missed.”



CDA Press Office (202) 234-5506

The Center for Democracy in the Americas, founded in 2006, has led more than 60 trips to Cuba for bipartisan delegations of Members of the U.S. Congress, trade missions for the governors of New York and Virginia, CEOs and trade associations, and leaders in philanthropy, women’s issues, and the arts, including the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. More information about CDA is available on our website.