California agriculture and tourism leaders welcome first ever delegation of Cuban sommeliers!



Californians Building Bridges (CBB), a non-profit dedicated to expanding the appreciation for Cuban culture, will host the first ever delegation of Cuban sommeliers to visit California July 20th-26th. Darius Anderson, the founder of CBB, noted, “This trip is the culmination of years of hard work and many visits to the Island of Cuba and we can’t to see our guests here in California wine country.” Sigue leyendo

Cuban diplomat promotes trade opportunities while in Pittsburgh


The head of Cuba’s diplomatic interest section in Washington was in Pittsburgh the past two days meeting with business and academic groups, taking in a little baseball, and hoping to promote a continuing thaw in a relationship still profoundly chilled a generation after the end of the Cold War.

Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Forest Hills, invited Ambassador Jose R. Cabanas to visit the city.

In a meeting with Post-Gazette editors Tuesday, Mr. Cabanas promoted the potential for trade and commerce that could follow some future change in the ties between the two wary neighbors. He holds the diplomatic rank of ambassador, but the U.S. and Cuba do not officially exchange ambassadors. Instead, diplomats such as Mr. Cabanas operate under the umbrella of the two capitals’ Swiss embassies.

He described offshore drilling as one huge opportunity in the near future. Alluding to the renewed surge of young undocumented immigrants on the southern border, he said that only measures to spread prosperity more broadly in Central American and the smaller islands of the Caribbean would contain such unregulated immigration.

“There’s the danger of lost opportunity,” he said.

There is trade between the counties, but since the Kennedy administration, a variety of legislation, notably the 1996 Helms-Burton Act, has sharply restricted it. Mr. Cabanas acknowledged that political circumstances, including the influence of a Florida Cuban community strongly critical of Havana’s human rights record, don’t suggest the likelihood of any imminent change in the the geopolitical realities. He said he is optimistic that attitudes of younger citizens of both countries will set the stage for closer ties in the future. Sigue leyendo

Cubanoamericanos buscan favorecer el diálogo EE.UU.-Cuba

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Denying Visas to Cuban Scholars Cripples Obama’s Policy of Engagement


Por William M. LeoGrande

Despite the stalemate in relations between the U.S. and Cuban governments, President Barack Obama deserves credit for deepening relations between the two societies. His 2009 decision to lift restrictions on Cuban American family travel and remittances has led to a five-fold increase in family visits and remittances have more than doubled. His 2011 decision to restore “people-to-people” educational travel that George W. Bush abolished has produced a cornucopia of travel options for ordinary Americans interested in exploring the long-forbidden isle. Sigue leyendo