Saturday, December 26, 2015

Fighting The Cuban Embargo

More Brave Souls Step Up
{Updated: Sunday, December 27th, 2015}
{Photo courtesy: Walter Horishnyk/Minneapolis Star-Tribune}
          The Minneapolis Star-Tribune is one of America's biggest and best newspapers. Its biggest and best article yesterday {Dec. 26th} was entitled: "MINNESOTA ARTS GROUPS LEAD A NEW CHARGE INTO CUBA TO CONNECT." The sub-title was: "Minnesotans Are at the Forefront of the Rush to Cuba After Obama's Diplomatic Thaw." The article, written by Kristin Tillotson, said: "Artists often use their work to open doors of understanding. Zenon Dance Company of Minneapolis plans to leap right through such doors when it travels to Cuba next month, January of 2016." The article explained that: "Zenon is joining a wave of arts groups from the Twin Cities {Minneapolis-St. Paul} that is embracing a culture as artistically fertile as Cuba's soil." 

           This Walter Horishnyk photo was also used to illustrate the article by Kristin Tillotson in yesterday's Minneapolis Star-Tribune. The caption read: "The St. Paul-based American Composers Forum -- 10 composers and six instrumentalists -- in Cuba in November at a prestigious music festival." Those six musicians also {above} livened up the streets of Havana prior to the festival. While anti-Castro extremists from Miami and New Jersey have viciously dictated America's hostile Cuban policy since 1959, yesterday's article in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune is another reminder that a lot of good people -- especially in the state of Minnesota -- are now following the lead of President Obama and trying desperately to correct what has been a six-decade injustice to both everyday Cubans on the island and the U. S. democracy.

Other Minnesota positives: 
         David Frederickson is the Agricultural Commissioner for the state of Minnesota. This Christmas week, 2015, he led a 17-member entourage to Cuba that conducted an extensive survey of the island's farms, markets, workers, and officials. He now believes there are "pertinent trade opportunities" for Minnesota farmers if President Obama manages to further ease the 1961 embargo, or if "enough businesses can persuade the U. S. Congress to get off...uh, to repeal the embargo." Mr. Frederickson told the Minnesota Star Tribune on December 24th, "Trade is a two-way street and we explored some of the future ways we can work together with Cuba to create the biggest benefit to both of our agricultural economies."
       Amy Klobuchar is the senior U. S. Senator from Minnesota. She is one of the bravest souls in the U. S. Congress fighting to bring sanity and decency to America's Cuban policy. This year she introduced The Freedom To Export To Cuba Act in an effort to repeal the congressionally-mandated embargo of Cuba.
         Tom Emmer is a Republican member of the U. S. House of Representatives from Minnesota. Like Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, Congressman Emmer is brave enough to take on the pro-embargo Cuban-Americans in the U. S. Congress. Tom Emmer introduced the Cuba Trade Act of 2015 and challenged "the efficacy and decency of an embargo that hurts Cubans, Americans, and the very pillar of our democracy."
        Sarah Stephens is the democracy-loving head of the Washington-based Center for Democracy in the Americas. She is America's leading expert on U.S.-Cuban relations and she stands firmly at the forefront as a fierce opponent of the meretricious Cuban embargo, which has been in place since 1962. Last week she wrote, "As support among Cuban-Americans for the President's policy has gone up, the fear-factor...emanating from Miami and New Jersey...has subsided substantially." It is interesting to note, in this last week of 2015, that the "feat-factor" in the United States regarding Cuba does not scare-off or buy-off all members of the United States Congress -- such as Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota and Congressman Tom Emmer from Minnesota. And, of course, Sarah Stephens wouldn't have founded the Center for Democracy in the Americas if the "fear-factor" regarding important topics such as Cuba frightened her.
        The University of Richmond baseball team is shown above on its pre-Christmas trip to Cuba in December, 2015. The Spiders are coached by Tracy Woodson, a former star for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and led by pre-season All-American outfielder Michael Moorman. They played three games in Cuba, posting a 3-1 record. But a Christmas day release by the University of Richmond said the mere experience of visiting Cuba was the highlight. The release said: "The traveling party also got to experience the culture of the capital city of Havana. They experienced a walking tour of the city, including important churches and cultural sites denoting the history of the great city, with visits to forts, museums, the main square, old Havana, the city's Malecon seawall, and the Artisans Market." Such visits help bridge the U.S.-Cuban cultural gaps.

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