Tell the State Dept. You Support Educational Exchanges with Cuba!

Since the relaxation of some of the restrictions on educational travel in 2010, many academic exchanges are now underway including those organized by Dominican University, DePaul University and Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville. More than 70 Cuban scholars attended the May 23-26 Latin American Studies Association (LASA) Conference in San Francisco, but 11 were denied US visas.  Many of the 11 had received visas one or more times in the past several years and some had taught at US universities. Can you contact the State Department to tell them you support the free exchange of ideas? To find out how visit http://lawg.org/component/content/article/77/1021  To see the resolution LASA members wrote to be sent to President Obama protesting the denials see:    http://cubastudies.org/academics-protest-at-visa-denial/. For a commentary by Geoff Thale of Washington Office on Latin America see: http://www.wola.org/commentary/denial_of_visas_to_prominent_cuban_academics_is_shameful_harmful_to_us_interests

Mariela Castro presents at LASA on LGBT rights in Cuba One of the scholars that did receive a visa to LASA was Mariela Castro, the director of the Cuban National Center for Sex Education in Havana, an activist for LGBT rights in Cuba and daughter of President Raul Castro.  She presented a paper on "Sexual Education as State Policy in Cuba, 1959-Present" and met with LGBT activists in San Francisco and New York. A Democracy Now interview with her is available at http://www.democracynow.org/2012/6/11/mariela_castro_daughter_of_cuban_president  A CNN interview is available at: http://amanpour.blogs.cnn.com/2012/06/06/raul-castros-daughter-mariela-on-gay-rights-cubas-future/?iref=allsearch

Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville hosts Cuban Delegation In late May three professors from the University of Havana visited the Edwardsville campus to lecture and discuss further economic and cultural exchanges.  Aldemaro Romero, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, invited the delegation from Cuba as part of the Cuban and Caribbean Center project. The mission of the newly formed center, which received state approval last year, is to foster collaboration among regional institutions and SIUE related to academics and culture.  For the full article on the visit see:  http://www.thetelegraph.com/articles/cuba-70930-romero-siue.html

U.S. Cuban Relations Working Paper: Proposals for Cooperating in Areas of Mutual Interest On May 21, the Brookings Institution hosted a panel of Cuban and American academics for the first public presentation of the group's joint recommendations on ways to overcome some of the obstacles to engagement and contribute to a gradual improvement in bilateral relations.  To hear audio of the event and read the transcript see: http://www.brookings.edu/events/2012/05/21-us-cuba-dialogue

To read the recommendations see: http://cubastudies.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/roadmap-to-relations-230512-eng.pdf