On December 17, 2014, Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro announced plans to normalize diplomatic ties between the United States and Cuba, marking the most significant shift in U.S. – Cuban relations in decades. This historic move set the stage for a realignment of the countries’ relationship and the U.S.'s future relationships with the Cuban government, civil society and citizens.
About the USCCWG
In this context, the National Cooperative Business Association, CLUSA International (NCBA CLUSA) is affirming its vision of opening a new chapter of relationship with the Cuban cooperative sector. To that end, NCBA CLUSA has launched the U.S. – Cuba Cooperative Working Group with a mission to promote mutually-beneficial collaboration between the U.S. and Cuba’s cooperative sectors in an effort to support U.S. cooperative growth and Cuban economic updates that will result from the ongoing success of strong and vibrant cooperatives in both countries.
The NCBA CLUSA U.S. – Cuba Cooperative Working Group (USCCWG) is a national-level, multi-sectoral U.S. cooperative leadership group representing consumer, purchasing, worker and producer cooperatives from a broad range of sectors, including agriculture, energy, finance, grocery and consumer goods, transportation, insurance and housing. The group was formed in early 2014 to explore opportunities for working in partnership with Cuba on cooperative development in various sectors of Cuba’s economy. NCBA CLUSA has a 60-year history of supporting cooperative and international development in more than 100 countries around the world and is actively expanding its work in Latin America and the Caribbean, both as an implementer of development projects and as a leader of the cooperative movement in the Americas.
The USCCWG was formed in collaboration with Eric Leenson of SOL2 Economics, which has collaborated with cooperative leaders in Cuba, Canada and Latin America around the topic of socially-responsible enterprise in Cuba over the past five years. In forming the USCCWG, NCBA CLUSA reached out to a network of U.S. cooperative leaders from multiple sectors interested in establishing partnerships with Cuban cooperatives, cooperative researchers and policymakers.
Established in 2014 and led by NCBA CLUSA, the USCCWG's mission is to support a stronger and more vibrant cooperative movement in the U.S. and Cuba, while supporting Cuban economic growth.
Official launch of the USCCWG
On Tuesday, March 10, 2015, NCBA CLUSA held a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. to announce the official launch of the U.S. – Cuba Cooperative Working Group and release a research report on the emerging role co-ops are playing in Cuba's economic updates, and how partnership between U.S. and Cuban cooperative sectors can bolster the movement in both nations.