Ricardo “Ric” Herrero is the new executive director of the Cuba Study Group, a Washington, D.C., organization aimed at exploring “alternatives available in connection to the possible transition” of the Cuban government.
Herrero replaces Andrew Otazo, the group’s executive director since 2016.
Otazo “is stepping down to pursue other endeavors,” a Jan. 7 announcement said.
Membership dues finance most of the group’s activities.
From 2010 to 2017, the group reported taking dues and other contributions totaling $1,979,024.
Here’s how the Cuba Study Group’s tax records describe its activities:
The organization studies and proposes projects and ideas that promote and facilitate non-violent change in Cuba, leading to democracy, and open society, a market-based economy and the reunification of the Cuban nation. The organization conducts public opinion surveys, undertakes academic research, promotes debate and holds conferences. The purpose of each of these activities is to promote a greater understanding of the repressive regime currently in power in Cuba and the social and ethical issues to be faced by those who desire to encourage a peaceful transition in Cuba, as well as promoting debate at all levels of society regarding possible alternatives and their consequences.
The announcement about Herrero stated:
Herrero is a strategic communications and public affairs professional with nearly two decades of experience working at the intersection of foreign affairs, politics, media and philanthropy. From 2012 through 2017, he led two successful advocacy efforts to promote diplomatic and economic ties between the United States and Cuba – the first as deputy executive director of the Cuba Study Group and the second as the co-founder and executive director of the national #CubaNow campaign. Herrero is considered one of the leading Cuban-American voices in favor of meaningful U.S.-Cuba engagement and was recognized by the Obama Administration for his pivotal work shaping public support for the former president’s efforts to normalize relations with Havana.
“Ricardo brings an unparalleled wealth of experience, knowledge and relationships from across the spectrum of U.S.-Cuba relations,” said Cuba Study Group Chairman Carlos Saladrigas. “His strategic approach to advocacy and ability to manage programs in multi- stakeholder environments has enriched our work since he first joined our organization as a Young Professional member in 2007. Having him serve as executive director will ensure that the Cuba Study Group remains a powerful bridge across thought-leadership circles in Washington D.C., Miami and Havana.”
“The Cuba Study Group has an established legacy of thoughtful and steadfast advocacy for the rights of Cubans at home and the diaspora to determine their own futures,” said Herrero. “As executive director, I will build on that legacy by championing policies on both sides of the Florida Straits that enable sustainable economic growth and respect for human rights in Cuba, and foster greater engagement between the people of our two nations.”