We emphatically applaud President Obama’s announcement that, following decades of hostility, the United States and Cuba will establish full relations. This momentous policy change has been years in the making. It represents the hard work of innumerable organizations and leaders who stood firm in the belief that this change was not only possible, but necessary.

For years, the Ford Foundation has supported efforts to advance opportunity in Cuba, and to normalize its relations with the U.S. Through our support for universities, arts organizations and documentary film, we have worked to foster artistic and educational exchange between the two countries. Investments in journalistic and policy research have helped draw back the curtain on a complex relationship and set the stage for a better one. In the interest of both Cuba and the U.S., we have supported efforts to address environmental issues and further scientific cooperation—including building the capacity of community-based fisheries and preventing and managing the aftermath of natural disasters. And we have long supported critical efforts to expand diversity and fight discrimination in Cuba.

Today’s announcement “is a real game-changer,” says Mario Bronfman, representative for the foundation’s Mexico and Central America office, which oversees much of the Cuba work. “By putting a definitive end to years of ineffective policies, it opens up limitless possibilities for partnership and progress—and will transform the lives of millions of Cubans and Americans, as well as the many people who have roots in both places.”

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Joshua Cinelli
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The Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For more than 75 years it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.