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“From Havana To Harvard: Producer Pablo D. Herrera Veitia On Connecting Cuba To The U.S. Through Hip-Hop”

Herrera Veitia is a known pioneer of Afro-Cuban hip-hop, who has brought noteworthy artists to the island for collaboration. Veitia has dedicated much work to production and major-international hip-hop festivals while connecting the work to academia. He is working on a doctorate in social anthropology. His dissertation brings to light how Havana’s distinct sounds, music and loudness are a form of citizenship.

Because Americans are not as concerned with Afro-Cuban hip-hop as Cubans are with American hip-hop, his lyrics confront race and race relations in Cuba and celebrates the genre’s overall contribution to hip-hop culture. “Veitia’s life and work as an artist speaks to the resistance and resilience of U.S. and Cuban musical and social connections both in the past and present, despite political and economic restrictions. “The connections that we have as people [through music] is above and beyond politics,” he says.”

Read about how political and social consciousness and movements drove American and Afro-Cuban artists alike. The rappers in both countries voice parallel social issues. Cuba’s proximity to the U.S. provided Cuban rap artists with access to hip-hop played on Miami radio stations, through word of mouth, and through efforts of community hip-hop fanatics at house and street parties.

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The capital city of Havana, Cuba, will celebrate its 500th anniversary this year. To commemorate, a contribution to the XIII Bienal de La Habana Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (MNBA) launched five shows which display Cuban art, history, and culture. These rarely seen works of art are presented as “world class exhibits,” as “an irrational genealogy of Cuba’s mythic identity” and “an anarchic tour of the Cuban subconscious.”

You can get a glimpse of the iconic pieces and description of the significance following the link below:

https://cubanartnews.org/2019/07/10/rethinking-cuba-cubanidad-museo-nacional-de-bellas-artes-havana/

The following article also broadcasts contemporary art as presentations of the frictions between races and where the theme of racism is evident.

https://cubanartnews.org/2019/06/19/in-havana-a-look-at-race-racism-in-cuban-art/

In Havana, a Look at Race & Racism in Cuban Art

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Some prospects for change in U.S.-Cuba relations arise in spite of the current “chill” represented by the recurring travel restrictions. Read about what José Ramón Cabañas, Cuba’s ambassador to the United States, has put forth to increase ties between the countries.

Collaboration includes joint efforts to save coral reefs throughout the Caribbean and inviting U.S. mayors to the island to celebrate Havana’s 500th Anniversary. Follow the link below:

https://www.tampabay.com/news/cuba/us-cuba-relations-strain-again-but-ambassador-hopes-for-stronger-tampa-ties-20190625/

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Fair.org introduced an interview with Netfa Freeman on Cuba sanctions and the history of the US’ perpetual restrictions on Cuba. The conversation includes economic legislation effects, how Cuba exercising self-determination has been negated, US polls demonstrating favorability towards normalizing relations between the two countries, and an articulate perspective on the Cuban’s reactions as well.

Read through the interview published June 11, 2019:

https://fair.org/home/the-us-has-no-real-moral-authority-to-talk-about-freedoms/

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We provide links to articles published on Trump’s recent efforts to decimate Cuba’s economic prosperity. The following overview the current state of the Western Hemisphere and the US’ involvement:

prweb.com published June 6, 2019: https://www.prweb.com/releases/medicc_decries_added_us_restrictions_for_travel_to_cuba/prweb16361650.htm

Chicago Tribune article published June 5, 2019: https://www.chicagotribune.com/columns/steve-chapman/ct-perspec-chapman-mexico-tariffs-cuba-venezuela-trump-20190605-story.html

Commondreams.org published on June 5, 2019: https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/06/05/travel-cuba-falls-victim-john-boltons-wrath

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Trump’s recent restrictions on U.S. travel to Cuba have many implications, and the elimination of the group people-to-people educational travel has serious consequences on the private sector workers. Learn about the affects from an article published by voanews.com on June 5, 2019:

https://www.voanews.com/a/trump-s-cruise-ban-hits-cuba-s-private-sector-workers/4947872.html

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Let’s end US travel and trade restrictions that harm the people of Cuba and the US!

In April of 1960, State Department officials wrote that the goal of the U.S. embargo of Cuba was “…to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of the government” (State Department, April 6, 1960).  Today the Cuban people still experience shortages of many essentials including life-saving medicines and medical products.

When we meet with our legislators in DC or in district we advocate for policies that benefit the people of our two countries.  Even though polling shows that 96% of Cubans living on the island support lifting the trade embargo and have said that more tourism would benefit the local economy, President Trump  announced in 2017 that “in solidarity with the Cuban people” the U.S. would add more barriers to trade and travel to Cuba. Since polling has also shown that 63% of Cuban-Americans in Miami-Dade County oppose the continuation of the embargo and 73% of people in the U.S. favor ending the embargo we have to ask who is in favor of these restrictions?

CRLN has worked with faith communities in Cuba and the U.S. for more than twenty years to end harmful U.S. policies, believing that the human rights of Cubans and the people of the US would best be served by lifting all travel restrictions and finally ending the embargo.

We are seeking co-sponsors for the following legislationWe are asking legislators to co-sponsor the following bill that will end restrictions to trade and travel:

S.428 – The Freedom to Export to Cuba Act of 2019 — A bill to lift the trade embargo on Cuba.

U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mike Enzi (R-WY), and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) reintroduced major legislation to lift the Cuba trade embargo. The bipartisan Freedom to Export to Cuba Act (S428) would eliminate the legal barriers to Americans doing business in Cuba and pave the way for new economic opportunities for American businesses and farmers by boosting U.S. exports and allow Cubans greater access to American goods. The legislation repeals key provisions of previous laws that block Americans from doing business in Cuba, but does not repeal portions of law that address human rights or property claims against the Cuban government.  U.S. and Cuban faith communities have long advocated for the lifting of the embargo because of the suffering it causes in Cuba.

We are also asking legislators to urge the State Department to process visas for Cubans in Cuba.  The Trump Administration ordered staff reductions at the US Embassy in Havana, Cuba and at the Cuban Embassy in Washington, DC in response to health issues experienced by some personnel at the US and Canadian Embassies in Havana. Now all staff that would issue visas to Cubans to visit the U.S. have left the Embassy.  The FBI did not find any evidence linking the health issues to actions by the Cuban government during its three visits to the island and the investigation is ongoing.

Now Cubans who want to get visas for tourist travel or permanent reunification with their families must travel to another country to get these visas.  In the past many Cubans were able to obtain visas for five years.  This enabled religious leaders, scientists, artists as well as people with family in the U.S. to travel without applying for a visa each time. This five year visa has been discontinued and Cubans can only receive a visa for one visit in a three month period.   The cost of plane fare, waiting in the third country to see if they can get a visa and the $160 non-refundable fee just to apply have made it financially impossible for most Cubans to apply for a visa.  There must be a way to process Cuban visas in Cuba.  Otherwise the U.S. has effectively created a travel ban against Cubans visiting the US for family reunification or other purposes.

For more information:

 

More information on S.428 – The Freedom to Export to Cuba Act of 2019 — A bill to lift the trade embargo on Cuba.

https://www.klobuchar.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2019/2/klobuchar-enzi-leahy-introduce-major-legislation-to-lift-cuba-trade-embargo

 

Cubans frustrated over U.S. move to end five-year visitor visas

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-cuba-usa/cubans-frustrated-over-us-move-to-end-five-year-visitor-visas-idUSKCN1QZ2D5

 

Cubans Take to Facebook to Air Grievances Over New Visa Restrictions

https://latinousa.org/2019/03/19/cubansfacebook/

 

Background Information from before April 2018

 

Statement by the Cuban Council of Churches regarding recent changes in US policy

https://nationalcouncilofchurches.us/statement-by-the-cuban-council-of-churches-regarding-recent-changes-in-us-policy/

 

A Cuban pastor’s response to President Trump’s Cuba policies

https://baptistnews.com/article/cuban-pastors-response-president-trumps-cuba-policies/#.Ws6LwC7wYnR

 

Church World Service Says New Restrictions on Cuban Travel Will Hurt the Cuban People and Churches https://cwsglobal.org/cws-statement-on-cuba-june-2017/

 

Catholic leaders: Dialogue between U.S. and Cuba must continue

https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2017/06/20/catholic-leaders-dialogue-between-us-and-cuba-must-continue

 

U.S. Halt in Visa Services Leaves Cuban Families in Limbo   https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/05/world/americas/cuba-us-visas.html

 

Cubans who want to visit the U.S. now face more difficult and expensive hurdles

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/cuba/article177305716.html

 

 

 


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