The July 13 City Council discussion and vote on the Resolution went on for a little over a half hour, on the YouTube video of the meeting from 53:54 to 1:25:20. The version reported out by Committee Chair Julia Mejia at 57:14 was “amended to include the following new draft, that the Boston City Council condemns reports of human rights violation by the Cuban government. Although the Cuban community has differing views on this issue, we believe our posture for non-engagement has been unsuccessful in changing the conditions on the island and ending the embargo is our best chance at improving diplomatic outcomes.”
The official amended version will be posted here when it becomes available. In addition to comments by Resolution sponsor Kendra Lara, five other Council members spoke. What looked like a resolution “well on its way” with 12 initial sponsors ran into some very vocal local opposition from well-to-do and influential families and people who fled the Cuban revolution with resources to support their ongoing opposition —Alberto Vasallo III’s accusatory pieces in his prominent El Mundo Boston on the Resolution’s betrayal of local anti-government Cubans and the City Council’s solidarity with the Cuban government; a letter from Regla Gonzalez, founder and President of Bandera Cubana read by Council member Flaherty. Discussion included possibilities for holding a second public hearing. Supportive Council members voiced Obama-like justifications that span the political spectrum that makes up the vast majority of US anti-embargo sentiment, that the embargo has been a long-term policy that has just not worked and that the call to end it is a call that supports the Cuban people. The final vote was 9-3-1. The story of the Boston Resolution’s passage holds important and informative lessons.