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USCSCA Newsbits

Mayor Highlights Madison Sister-City Ties with Cuba  6/9/04 PL: "The tenth anniversary of the sister cities of Madison, WI and the eastern Cuban city of Camaguey, was commemorated Monday with a message from Madison Mayor David J. Cieslowicz, who presided over a weeklong celebration in the US city. The mayor recognized that people-to-people contacts, such as those maintained for a decade between these cities, was the best way to promote friendship and international cooperation, and to that end, the Madison City Council had several times pronounced for normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States."


US Sister Cities Association Makes Call on Behalf of Cuba  4/23/04 Cubarte Newsletter: "A letter convoking the annual US-Cuba Sister-City Conference of the Partnerships for Peace Association made an urgent call for all to help overcome the challenges on travel between the United State and Cuba. Noting that the "wonderful and enriching relationships" under construction with Cuba for a decade are threatened by the elimination of the "people-to-people" licensing category and US refusal of visas for Cubans invited to events in the US, the organization calls for everyone interested in sustainable relationships with Cuba to attend the conference in Washington, DC, June 4-6."

U.S. blocks visit by minister from Cuba  2/10/04 AP: "U.S. officials have blocked a Cuban minister from coming to America to speak at several Alabama churches for Black History Month, denying the pastor a visa. The Rev. Raul Suarez of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Havana canceled his trip this month… Mr. Suarez was invited by the Society Mobile-La Havana, a Mobile-based sister-cities group. The visit was to have included speeches to local civic groups and sermons at area churches."

Voyager schooner bringing humanitarian aid including special wheelchairs, to island  12/23/03 St Augustine Record 

UA'S CONFERENCE ON CUBA  11/20/03 Mobile Register: "Events Wednesday had a strong Mobile flavor, including presentations by Mayor Mike Dow, other members of the Mobile-Havana sister-cities group and an Alabama State Docks official. The university's efforts are also being partly funded by Mobilians. Brothers Angus Cooper II and David Cooper, leaders of the Mobile stevedoring firm CoopeT. Smith, gave the university $50,000 to finance exchanges with Cuba."

Bush's Cuba edict halts UW alumni trips  10/15/03 Capital Times, WI: "University of Wisconsin-Madison students will continue to be able to go to Cuba for course credit, but the Wisconsin Alumni Association will have to halt its trips to Havana under a new presidential order. On Friday President Bush announced stepped-up restrictions on travel to Cuba that will enforce the existing ban. Ricardo Gonzalez, president of the Madison-Camaguey Sister Cities Association and the newly elected president of the Cuban Committee for Democracy, said it's unclear what the effect will be on the Madison sister city group. He said the group's trips are for humanitarian purposes, and those will be allowed to continue. But he noted the trips could be affected in unexpected ways."

Cuban diplomat denied permission to attend conference in Mobile  10/11/03 AP 

Cuba conference in Mobile opens amid controversy  10/11/03 Mobile Register, AL: "A State Department spokesman said Redondo was a conspirator in the case of Ana Belen Montes, an employee of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency who said she spied for Cuba for years because she was outraged by American policies toward Cuba. Group members said Friday that Mobile Society-La Habana had worked closely with Redondo for the past several years in arrang ing a series of visits to Cuba. Redondo helped the group plan its activities on the island, including arranging meetings with Cuban officials, and occasionally joined the group on its trips. A State Department official who asked not to be identified said the Mobile society "may have strayed from its stated mission as a sister cities group" during some of those visits. Robert Schaefer, the president of Mobile-La Habana, said members of the group were friendly with Redondo but never had any inkling that he was doubling as a spy."

Top Cuban official barred from Mobile  10/10/03 Mobile Register, AL: "Cuba's top U.S. diplomat was denied permission by the U.S. Department of State to travel this week to Alabama, where he was scheduled to attend a conference highlighting ties between Mobile and Havana, according to organizers of the event. Dagoberto Rodriguez, the Chief of the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, D.C., accepted an invitation last spring to speak at the Society Mobile-La Habana's 10th anniversary celebration, which begins today in Mobile. The society is a fraternal organization that promotes cultural exchanges between Mobile and Havana."

Oakland - Santiago de Cuba Sister Cities Fotos & 9/23 Meeting  8/30/03 SalsaSF 

Local organization to send Cuba baseball equipment  7/2/03 Forest Leaves, IL: "Next week, the Oak Park Illinois Sister Cities International organization plans to send 1,000 pounds of baseball equipment and uniforms to Sagua la Grande, a town in the Villa Clara province of Cuba."

Aid mission to Cuba embarks; Without a permit, group planning to defy blockade  7/1/03 Times Record, ME: "We don't know, with the Bush administration, what's going to happen," said Burke. He said the federal government is shutting down certain parts of the licensing process for people to travel legally from the United States to Cuba via another country, usually Canada or Mexico. He expressed concern that sister city programs, similar to the one between Brunswick and the Cuban city of Trinidad may be affected negatively by plans to heighten enforcement of the embargo. Burke believes that a new tough federal stance on the embargo will make it harder, "if possible at all," for humanitarians to enter Cuba."

Baracoa official visits here  6/25/03 St Augustine Record: "Dr. Alejandro Hartmann, the historian of Baracoa, Cuba, and curator of the Municipal Museum of Baracoa "Museo Matach'n," gave an informal talk recently about the Cuban city's rich history while visiting St. Augustine."

Bios for US Cuba Sister Cities Association Executive Board  6/1/03 USCSCA 

The Matanzas connection  5/30/03 Baltimore Sun 

Local ties to Cuba cut off by Bush  5/8/03 Capital Times, WI: "Especially troublesome to the Madison-Camaguey Sister City Association is the Bush administration's recent cancellation of U.S. "people to people" educational licenses for travel to Cuba, association members said Wednesday night. The Madison group had a people-to-people license - as well as a humanitarian license - until the cancellation, which came in the wake of a spring crackdown on dissidents by Fidel Castro and the summary execution of three people who tried to hijack a Havana ferry to the United States. The Madison group's humanitarian license also expired as its most recent mission concluded in mid-April, prompting many members to worry about whether it will ever be renewed."

Local Cubans blast Castro  5/8/03 Times Picayune: "As the fight to free Cuba continues, New Orleans should forgo a publicized opportunity to establish a sister city relationship with Cuba's Port of Mariel, said Salvador Longoria."

Towns in Cuba join sister-city program  4/22/03 Pantagraph, IL: "Though the United States has enforced trade and travel embargoes with the island nation since 1960, the Twin Cities have started a sister-cities relationship with two of its towns. Caibarien and Remedios are in the province of Villa Clara, about 200 miles east of Havana. "When you go over there, and you come back, you really have a feeling that things could be better for the Cuban people," said Gary Hoover, president of Cubamigos Sister City Association of Bloomington-Normal. "Our governments just don't get along. It's people-to-people diplomacy." "

Cuban sister city urged  4/20/03 Time Picayune, LA: "Poindexter said she and some of the 50 local residents who support her plan soon will seek a meeting with Nagin, both to clarify his position and to lobby for the proposal. One backer, Romualdo Gonzalez, has written to Nagin, stating that the relationship would not violate the embargo and that Mariel is "the premier cargo port on the island." Gonzalez, a local Cuban-American lawyer, said last week that he thinks the best chance for a change in Cuba's government will come "from a policy of engagement." This approach has worked in the former Soviet Union, China and Vietnam, he said. Another supporter of the proposal is Cesar Martino, president of The Vega Group, which plans special events. Martino, who also is Cuban-American, said Mariel is undergoing an expansion that will include development of a free-trade zone."

Propaganda war continues  4/14/03 Baltimore Sun: "In the decades-old propaganda war between Cuba and the United States, this artistic skirmish was designed to win over 30 guests, visiting members of the U.S.-Cuba Sister Cities Association from Baltimore, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, who have come to forge "people-to-people" ties with the nation."

Sister city group back from Cuba - Participants upbeat despite difficulties posed by U.S. governmental policies  4/5/03 Hoosier Times, Bloomington, IN: "Supporters of a Bloomington-Cuba sister city program say they're hopeful for the future of the relationship, despite U.S. government policies that are making travel to and from Cuba difficult."

Sister Cities head says group more important than ever  4/2/03 Anacortes, WA: "However, Honey pointed out that Cuba now has six Sister City relationships that have been established in the past two years and Omaha, Neb., is a Sister City to Kabul, Afghanistan."

Reach Out provides alternate spring break  4/2/03 Yale Daily News: "The students who traveled to Cuba found themselves in quite a different situation. Because of the stringent governmental laws, students were not able to live or eat meals with families, and instead had to stay in a guest house owned by the Small Farmers Association. The 16 students on the trip were all students in Professor Alejandra Bronfman's class, "Cuba Today: Problems and Promises of a Lasting Revolution." … Students on the third service learning trip visited Nicaragua. The trip was coordinated by the New Haven-Leon Sister City Project, a nongovernmental organization with branches in New Haven and Leon, Nicaragua."

Las exhibiciones de la mafia terrorista y guerrerista  4/1/03 Granma: "Con la intervención de Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada, presidente de la Asamblea Nacional del Poder Popular, comenzó en el Palacio de las Convenciones la reunión de ciudades hermanas de Estados Unidos y Cuba."

Afirman que es posible una nueva era en las relaciones Cuba-EEUU  4/1/03 Prensa Latina: "Ricardo González, presidente de la Asociación de Ciudades Hermanas Madison-Camaguey, confía hoy en que es posible una nueva era las relaciones entre Cuba y Estados Unidos. De paso en esta capital como delegado al Octavo Encuentro de Ciudades Hermanas entre ambos países, González afirmó a la prensa acreditada a este foro que la mayoría del pueblo norteamericano está a favor de la normalización de los vínculos."

Film captures the private life of Cuba's Fidel Castro  3/22/03 Baltimore Sun: "Frank Pratka of the Baltimore-Cuba Sister City Project is guest speaker."

Bloomington group to visit sister city in Cuba  3/16/03 Hossier Times: "Ten Bloomington residents are off to Cuba to keep working on sister-city projects with the Cuban city of Santa Clara. They hope to open communication with a Santa Clara elementary school and try to set up Indiana University classes that include travel to Cuba. Mike Gasser, a member of the Bloomington sister-city organization, said the group also plans to check on medical equipment it sent to Santa Clara last year… The Bloomington group formerly had a license for its members to travel to Cuba, but the government didn't renew it last year. Members now are traveling on a license granted to the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. "This may be the last time, if things go the way they're going, that we'll be able to go with permission at all," said Gasser, an IU computer science professor."

The African Roots of Cuban Culture: History and Present Reality by Daisy Diaz & Gema Suarez representing the Nicolas Guillen Foundation in Cuba, 15 City Tour, DC-Havana Sister City Project  3/14/03 AfroCubaWeb: "Daisy Diaz Mora represents the Nicolas Guillen Foundation in Cuba, an NGO dedicated to preserving the work and legacy of Nicholas Guillen (1902-1989). Guillen was a foremost Afro-Cuban, a friend of Langston Hughes and Ernest Hemingway, first president of the Nation Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC), and the poet laureate of Cuba… Gema Suarez Cabrera is a specialist of the Association of Cuban Musicians, which is part of the National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC). Gema is also the personal assistant of the current president of UNEAC, Harold Gramatges, who is a composer and friend of the late Nicholas Guillen… One of the purposes of this 15-City tour of the two Cuban scholars is to introduce North American audiences, especially the African Community, to Afro-Cuban music, poetry, and cultural life in general, and Nicolas Guillen and Harold Gramatges in particular. The videos and discussion will focus on Cuba’s African Roots that have had an important influence on Cuban society and culture, and the Cuban Revolution… Afro-Cuban culture is now poised to take its rightful place on the world’s cultural stage."

For the Record  3/14/03 St. Augustine Record: "The Northeast Florida Peace Rally will take place at noon on Saturday in the Plaza de la Constitucion. The event is sponsored by People for Peace and Justice. There will be speakers, live music, cookies and information available. Among the speakers are: Alberto Jones, a Cuban-American living in Palm Coast, member of U.S. Cuba Sister City Association, the St. Augustine Friendship Association, the Cuban American llian Education Fund, and President of the Caribbean American Children Foundation."

Pajaro Valley leaders meet with Cuban delegate on possible trade in future  3/3/03 Register-Pajaronian, CA: "Ahh Cuba - the rare rums, the masterful mambos, the political prisoners- yes, that little Caribbean island nation to the south is calling and residents of the Pajaro Valley have answered. Members of Watsonville's business, agriculture, and political sectors gathered Friday to welcome Cuban delegate Jose Luis Noa of the Cuban Interest Section during his afternoon visit to Santa Cruz. Noa is touring Santa Cruz County as part of the Sister Communities project. On Sept. 10, 2002, the Santa Cruz Board of Supervisors passed a resolution supporting a "sister-city" type partnership between the county and the Guamá municipality in the Santiago Province. The resolution joins the county to a growing movement in the United States to utilize citizen diplomacy and break down the cold-war barriers between the two neighboring nations."

Cubans Support Iorio, Sanchez For Mayor  2/25/03 Tampa Tribune: "Partly in response to involvement of anti-Castro Cubans in the city's mayoral race, a group of Tampa Cubans in favor of expanded contact with Cuba say Pam Iorio and Frank Sanchez best suit its view of relations with Cuba. About 60 people heard answers from Iorio and Sanchez during the weekend to questions about contact between Tampa and Cuba, said Patrick Manteiga of the La Gaceta weekly newspaper, who helped organize the gathering… Iorio said she would favor a sister-city relationship with a Cuban city if it could be done without violating federal law; Sanchez said he would need more information to decide. The group ``came to the conclusion that Iorio and Sanchez would be willing to move Tampa forward in relations with Cuba'' Manteiga said."

A Voyage to Cuba: Former mayor's photos capture lives of islanders  2/23/03 St. Augustine Record: "Cubans who lack cameras welcome pictures as gifts… This trip he returned to Baracoa with profile shots of local dancers so they could use them in their portfolios." Thank you!

UCSC gets gift from Castro, via Sam Farr  2/19/03 Santa Cruz Sentinel: "[Congressman] Farr thinks Castro was moved by a story the congressman told about his youngest sister, who died at age 16 in Colombia. In 1965 she was visiting Farr, then a Peace Corps volunteer, when she was thrown from a horse, hitting her head on the ground. The local hospital was unable to fly doctors in soon enough to save her. Farr, who speaks Spanish, recounted the story after Castro took congress members to a medical school that trains doctors to work in underserved areas throughout the world. "I said if we had some of those doctors like the ones he’s training, she might have survived," Farr said. "I think he stopped and really thought about that. He turned to his aides and said, ‘Isn’t that an incredible story?’ "

A Voyage to Cuba - Humanitarian supplies delivered from St. Augustine  2/15/03 St. Augustine Record: "Record Editor Brian Thompson traveled along with the St. Augustine-Baracoa Friendship Association on their recent 14-day delegation to Cuba. Today is the first story in a series that will also continue next weekend. Tomorrow will focus on the group's humanitarian work in Baracoa, Cuba's oldest city."

Nominee for USCSCA BOARD, Region 4: Carol Cross, Redwood City, CA - Santiago de Cuba  2/15/03 USCSCA 

Alabama Delegation: Cuba to Buy Products  2/10/03 AP: "Cuba's food import company pledged to buy $10 million in agricultural products from Alabama in a move to revive historic trade ties with the southern state, members of a delegation said Monday. Alabama Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley said that Pedro Alvarez of Alimport asked the delegation over the weekend to work with Alabama producers in drawing up a list of farm products."

Alabama group says Cuba to buy $10 million in state farm products  2/10/03 AP: "Mobile Mayor Michael C. Dow, who has visited Cuba numerous times in recent years through the Mobile-Havana Sister City program, said the two ports share a history of more than three centuries. "We want the trade back, the ability to travel freely," said Dow. "We want Alabama to once again be a good friend of Cuba."

First Cuba flight from Mobile in 43 years takes city, state group  2/9/03 AP: "A group of local and state officials were in Havana over the weekend, including Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley and Retirement Systems of Alabama chief David Bronner, who is researching whether the bankrupt US Airways should begin flights to the island. RSA is a majority owner of US Airways… The Havana trip included Mobile Mayor Mike Dow and Al St. Clair, the Alabama port city's special projects director, joined by Baxley, Bronner and others on two chartered flights organized by Mobile-based Ala Caribe Initiative Inc. These were the first direct flights from Mobile to Cuba in over 43 years… Mobile City Council member Stephen Nodine, a critic of ties with Cuba, said this trip should be secondary to more immediate concerns. "Our city's budget is $1.5 million short and is probably going to end up being $6 to 7 million in the hole," Nodine said. "I think it's imperative for the mayor to focus on our problems here in Mobile." Nodine said he thinks Cuba is broke and the city should not be engaging the communist regime and its leader, Fidel Castro. Some Mobilians have been courting better relations with Cuba for the last decade. The Society Mobile-La Habana, a sister-cities group, was created in 1993, and ties with Havana were sealed in 1994 when Dow made his first visit."

Americano leads group to Cuban sister-city  2/6/03 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "The Cuban city of Nuevitas, a coastal town north of Camaguey, and Milwaukee are now officially sister cities. The formal agreement pairing the two was signed recently in Nuevitas. A delegation of 20 Milwaukeeans made the journey to sign the agreement. They included Daisy Cubias, a staff assistant to Mayor John O. Norquist; south side Ald. Angel Sanchez; and Ernesto Baca, a member of the Milwaukee Police and Fire Commission. RAUL GALVAN, manager of program production for WMVS-TV (Channel 10) and WMVT-TV (Channel 36) and head of the Milwaukee Nuevitas Association, left Cuba at 10. He headed the local contingency and spoke upon his return to reporter Georgia Pabst."

Mobile family's money promotes UA-Cuba ties  2/5/03 Mobile Register: "A stream of University of Alabama students could soon be studying in Cuba, thanks in part to $50,000 from Mobile's Cooper family. An 18-person group of professors and administrators made a five-day trip to Cuba last month, in an effort to set up ties with Cuban universities and other institutions. The donation from the Coopers, leaders of the Mobile stevedoring firm CoopeT. Smith Corp., helped pay for the recent trip, and will finance future exchanges."

Hear a Report-Back from Historic Sister County Ceremony: Friday, February 28, 7 p.m.  2/5/03 USCSCA: the first US Sister County deal was inked Jan 16, 2003 between Santa Cruz County and Guama, Cuba.

Sisters in cinema  2/4/03 News Tribune, Tacoma, WA: "Two distinctive wrinkles set the new festival apart from its forerunner. Before each screening, food from the film's country of origin will be served in the Blue Mouse lobby. For example, a catered traditional Cuban meal of rice, black beans and tortilla espangnola is on the menu for the evening of March 20, when "Buena Vista Social Club" will be shown, Petrich said. The food will be served with a side dish of cultural events. A Cuban band will be on hand, and there might even be salsa dancing in the lobby before the showing of "Buena Vista Social Club," said Frances Lorenz of the Cienfuegos, Cuba, Sister City Committee."

PNB group heads to Cuba with 100 pairs of pointe shoes  1/30/03 King County Journal, Washington: "Pacific Northwest Ballet co-director Francia Russell and principal dancer Patricia Barker next month will visit Cuba as part of a delegation from University of Washington's Center for Women & Democracy. The first such mission last year, with a delegation that included Sen. Maria Cantwell, included a meeting with Cuban ruler Fidel Castro." King County has had its attempt to form a sister county relationship with Cuba postponed thanks to the efforts of the terrorism linked Cuban American National Foundation.

Cuban National Assembly invitation to US Cuba Sister Cities (USCSCA) Conference, 3/30/03 - 4/6/03  1/24/03 USCSCA: "People interested in gathering information and pursuing sustainable relations between our peoples working to explore, begin, build, develop, strengthen or expand people-to-people fellowships between our communities using the universal and internationally respected model of sister cities are urged to attend this important encounter. Cuba enjoys over 800 sister city relationships, internationally, twenty within the United States, and many communities are engaging in this grassroots process."

SU student to represent Seattle in Cuba  1/23/03 Seattle Spectator: "Seattle University will have a representative in this year’s US/Cuba Sister Cities Association Conference in La Havana, Cuba. Representing SU and the United States is Jessica Burns. Burns is a third-year Matteo Ricci College humanities and finance student from Renton, Wash. She was recently chosen as a delegate for the 2003 Every Women’s Delegation to Cuba. The EWD, created by Cindy Domingo, is an organization comprised of women from various racial, social and economic backgrounds, who describe themselves as an anti-racist movement fighting to end the U.S. embargo against Cuba."

The View from Cuba - A police state is as a police state does  1/23/03 Shepherd Express, Milwaukee: "Perhaps our annoyance was beginning to show as our bags were searched for the third time and metal detectors were run over our bodies once more just before boarding the plane at Miami International Airport. The security agent explained: "Well, you are traveling to a terrorist country, you know." The remark seemed particularly amusing when we arrived at Santiago, Cuba, and our bags were sniffed by an exuberant cocker spaniel puppy instead of the steel-jawed German shepherds that respond to guttural German commands by sheriff's deputies at Milwaukee's Mitchell International Airport."

Santa Cruz County and Guamá Municipio Sign Partnership Agreement  1/21/03 USCSCA: The first US Cuba Sister County, others to follow, despite the efforts of CANF and their narcoterrorist allies - "When Santa Cruz County residents decide to do something, an unreasonable embargo and travel ban just can’t stop ‘em! Believing the people of Cuba are our natural neighbors and we have a right to get to know them, the people of Santa Cruz County developed a partnership with a comparable community on the beautiful Santiago coastline. A delegation of 30 Santa Cruz and Monterey County residents, ages 16 to 86, including Congressman Sam Farr, visited Guamá in early January, 2003 to develop projects and collaborate on mutually beneficial activities. Guamá has many features similar to coastal Santa Cruz County and sustains itself on tourism and agriculture, so the match seemed appropriate."

A passage to Cuba - The St. Augustine-Baracoa Friendship Association departed this weekend on a humanitarian trip  1/12/03 St Augustine Record: "A 100-foot schooner loaded with medical equipment is headed from St. Augustine to Cuba on a humanitarian mission. The Voyager left this weekend for a three-week trip that will take it through the Bahamas on its way to Baracoa, Cuba. The medical supplies are from the St. Augustine-Baracoa Friendship Association, but the humanitarian aid is only part of the group's objective. "The purpose of all this is to build bridges of friendship with the people of Cuba," said Soledad McIntire, secretary of the association."

Record number of U.S. citizens travel to Cuba  1/7/03 Granma: "The figures are impressive: an increase of 35%-40% between December 2000, when numbers started rising, and December 2002. It can also be seen in the number of flights to the island during the vacation period: C&T Charters for example, scheduled 27 flights in December compared to the usual 16 monthly flights. "All of the flights were full," Cabañas told Herald reporter Larissa Ruiz Campo. "We are at 93% capacity for all the month of December in airplanes that have 206 seats"… Lisa Valenti from the U.S.-Cuba Sister Cities Association, responsible for twinning cities in the two nations, explained to Associated Press that the so-called "anti-terrorist" policies of the current administration are increasingly being used to obstruct attempts to forge links between the United States and Cuba."

Revolutionary concept: Missile crisis fascination leads to partnership  1/5/03 Santa Cruz Sentinel: "We wanted everyone in the county to be involved," Abbey said. "We didn’t want it to be just another crazy Santa Cruz thing." Plus, the city of Santa Cruz "already has six sister cities," Farmer added. Cuba would be the county’s first. The group met with each of the five supervisors individually, telling them they wouldn’t be asked for money, staff help or a special committee. "All we needed was for them to support the idea with a resolution and a proclamation," Abbey said. They agreed, and Supervisor Jeff Almquist presented it to the five-member board in September. The resolution passed unanimously. On Jan. 16 in Chivirco, when the Cuban officials sign the "Acto Oficial de Hermanamiento," Almquist will represent the board, while the other delegates will represent the people of Santa Cruz County."

Press Release on creation of Santa Cruz County - Guama Partnership  1/5/03 USCSCA: "The people of Santa Cruz County, California, USA (population 260,000) have agreed to join the people of the municipality of Guama, Santiago Province, Cuba (population 35,000) in a partnership called: Alianza de Guama y Santa Cruz Alliance of Guama and Santa Cruz or AGuaS."

Gonzalez: U.S. policy on Cuba must change  1/4/03 Capital Times, Madison, WI: "Gonzalez, the Cuban-American nightclub owner, former downtown alderman and leader of the Madison sister city association that conducts exchanges with his hometown of Camaguey, offered some thoughts in an interview about the past and future of U.S.-Cuban relations."

Outgoing congressman says lift Cuba embargo  12/28/02 AP: "Republican U.S. Rep. Sonny Callahan, who is ending his 18-year career in Congress, said the U.S. embargo on communist Cuba should be lifted. Callahan of Mobile said he plans to travel to Cuba once he leaves office in January… Mobile and Havana are sister cities, sharing a unique history, even before they became frequent trading partners - when ships carrying sugar and supplies crossed the Gulf of Mexico between the then-Spanish colony and French Louisiana Territory." - Callahan represented Mobile, Alabama.

US denies visas to more Cubans  12/26/02 Herald Times, Bloomington: "For the second time, representatives of Bloomington's sister city in Cuba have been denied permission to visit the United States. Four Cubans learned this month that the U.S. government had turned down their applications for travel visas for a three-day trip to Bloomington. The news disappointed members of CubAmistad, the Bloomington sister-city group, who had looked forward to repaying the hospitality they were shown in visits to Cuba."

Visas Denied  12/26/02 WISHTV: "Members of a Bloomington sister-city group are upset because the government won't let four visitors from their sister city into the country. The visitors are from Cuba, and the government has twice denied travel visas for the group from Santa Clara, Cuba… Mike Gasser was in a group from Indiana that visited Havana earlier this year. He says denying the Cubans visas goes against the whole point of the sister cities idea, which is people-to-people contact. Kelly Shannon of the Bureau of Consular Affairs says cubans are subject to special restrictions. That's because Cuba is on a government list of countries that support terrorism. Shannon says the government can't make exceptions to the rule because it's a national security issue." Dangerous terrorists, 1000 times more dangerous than the narcoterrorists in the Miami Mafia.

Regional > Caribbean > Cuba > Society and Culture  12/21/02 Google: USCSCA listed on Google

End The Embargo Coffee  12/20/02 End the Embargo: "Thanksgiving Coffee created End the Embargo Coffee to raise public awareness about and advocate the end of the nearly 40-year U.S. embargo against Cuba — one of the longest and harshest economic blockades in history. We donate 15¢ (50% of the profit) from every package of End the Embargo Coffee to the U.S.-Cuba Sister Cities Association, a non-profit organization working to develop partnerhips between U.S. communities and their counterparts in Cuba."

Boulder OKs Cuban sister city  12/18/02 Colorado Daily: "On Tuesday, the City Council voted Tuesday unanimously in support of the idea, declaring the rural and mountainous Yateras township that lies on the eastern tip of the Cuban island Boulder's sixth sister city."

City may declare Cuban sister city  12/17/02 Daily Camera, Boulder: "After nine months of organizing — capitalizing on Councilman Spense Havlick's suggestion that a Boulder-Cuba sister city be formed — a group of more than two dozen is readying to start regular cultural exchanges with the small city on the communist island."

Congress needs help on OFAC License Refusals  12/9/02 US Cuba Sister Cities Association: "As part of their work on Cuba policy, members of the Cuba Working Group in the House of Representatives are keeping an eye on the Cuba licensing activity of the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control. In that connection they have asked me to help them by gathering information on actual licensing decisions that have been made by OFAC. So I am contacting a wide number of people, and I encourage you to pass this note on to others."

Madison's Cuban sister city raises foreign policy issues  10/25/02 Badger Herald: "We had trouble obtaining the special license from the Department of the Treasury to travel to Cuba," Gonzales said. "The early days were very difficult. Over time, our humanitarian work was important enough that we were able to get the licenses to go. Since then, 350 Madisonians have traveled to our sister city, offering assistance." "Our primary mission is humanitarian -- the State Department allows us to go freely and legally, leaving from the United States rather than going through Mexico or Canada," said Ald. Todd Jarrell, District 8. Jarrell visited Camaguey during late September, and returned this month."

OFAC Harasses US Cuba Sister Cities members over April Conference  10/23/02 USCSCA: "We are getting scattered reports that OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control) is sending letters of "Requirement to Furnish Information" pertaining to our sister city gathering in Cuba. People who did not participate in any way are getting these (scary and lengthy) letters as well as several sister city delegates."

Divided King County Council says no to ties with Cuba  10/20/02 Seattle Post Intelligencer: this is the direct result of a Cuban American National Foundation (CANF) campaign - "But many people adamantly opposed to the idea asked the county not to pursue it, and the council voted 7-6 yesterday to instead support and coordinate with federal policy on forming relationships with Cuba's government, effectively ending the possibility of a sister county for now."

Coffee With A Cause  10/1/02 Tea and Coffee: "As a result, the coffee inside bags of "End the Embargo Coffee" actually comes from Nicaragua, Mexico and Guatemala, countries that "have also endured the effects of unjust U.S. economic policies." "My purpose is not to risk everything I've worked for over 30 years. That would be absurd," Katzeff said. "The point is that someday, there will be Cuban coffee in that package." So what's the difference between defying U.S. law during the Reagan years and defying it today? "When I broke the embargo on Nicaragua," he explains, "there was a loophole, and I used it. The loophole was that if you shipped green Nicaraguan coffee to another country like Canada and they roasted it there, the product became Canadian. Under the Helms-Burton Act [a controversial 1996 law which significantly tightens trade sanctions against Cuba], that loophole has been closed."

Brunswick poised to ink sister-city relationship  8/28/02 Times Record, Maine: "Brunswick and the city of Trinidad, Cuba, could become sister cities as soon as October. That's when two Brunswick town councilors will travel there to formally establish the relationship. Those involved with the project hope this will lead to cultural exchanges, some of which already are occurring. The Brunswick-Trinidad Sister City Association, a group of residents from Brunswick, Bath and surrounding towns, is orchestrating the project. The group has raised about 90 percent of the $5,000 it will need to send Councilors Jacqueline Sartoris and Forrest Lowe to Cuba."

Chipping away at the Cuba blockade  8/1/02 Dallas Peace Times: "Participants in the fourteenth Pastors for Peace "Friendshipment" to Cuba, who arrived at East Dallas’ First Community Church in two ambulances and a bus, included a dozen citizens of the U.S., Canada and the U.K."

WOMEN AND CUBA: Building a U.S. Women's Movement to Normalize Relations With Cuba  8/1/02 Women's International League for Peace and Freedom: "WILPF continues to strengthen and develop our work with the U.S.-Cuba Sister Cities Association (USCSCA). USCSCA was formed out of the efforts of citizens nationwide to develop Sister City partnerships with their counterparts in Cuba. These create opportunities to work with City Councils, Chambers of Commerce, schools, universities, women's centers, day care centers and more. At present USCSCA has formed, one state-to-state province between the Matanzas Province and Pennsylvania, it has14 official US-Cuba city agreements in cities across the country (Mobile, Bloomington, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Oakland to name but a few) and are working with 35 organizing cities. Many of these partnerships have developed as a direct result of WILPF members and branches efforts to end the embargo of Cuba and we continue to see this work as an excellent way for branches to become involved."

Going Against the Grain - Cuban-American group campaigns to end U.S. trade embargo  7/22/02 Newsday: Luly Duke is a prime mover in the East Hampton - Playa Sister City Association - "The Duke dynasty, built on wealth acquired from the tobacco industry in the late 1800s, donated millions of dollars to what by 1924 became known as Duke University in North Carolina, establishing the family as major philanthropists. Luly Duke has slipped easily into high society, enjoying memberships in the Maidstone Club in East Hampton and the Piping Rock Club in Locust Valley. But she makes clear that a life limited to the golf course and yacht club isn't enough for her."

Cuban Travelers Find Fines  7/4/02 Shepherd Express, Milwaukee, WI: "It's been more than three years since members from Milwaukee's Central United Methodist Church traveled to Cuba to commemorate the 100th anniversary of their sister church, La Trinidad, in Havana. And while the group has had their bags unpacked and film developed for quite some time, the federal government just recently issued three of the travelers fines totaling $20,000 for their illegal trip… The recent anti-travel onslaught can easily be found by looking at the numbers, church members and supporters say. According to the U.S. Treasury Department, the government tried to fine only 188 people for traveling to Cuba during President Clinton's last year in office in 2000. After Bush was elected, he called for an "excessive crackdown" on travel to the home of Caribbean music and fine cigars, which resulted in 766 fine notices being issued. Furthermore, the U.S. Treasury Department estimates that more than 200,000 U.S. nationals legally visit Cuba annually. It also figures some 60,000 people did so in defiance of U.S. restrictions last year."

Milwaukee-Cuba Connection  7/1/02 Milwaukee Coalition to Normalize Relations with Cuba 

IF THE POPE & JIMMY CARTER CAN GO TO CUBA, WHY CAN’T WE ALL? PLEASE SUPPORT MILWAUKEE’S ‘METHODIST THREE’  6/9/02 Milwaukee Coalition: fines differentiated by race: "Three members of Milwaukee’s Central United Methodist Church (CUMC) are facing large fines for traveling to Cuba. In 1994 CUMC established an on-going sister church relationship with a Methodist Church in Havana, Cuba, called La Trinidad (the Trinity). La Trinidad sent a formal invitation to CUMC for us to send members to join in celebrating its 100th anniversary in January, 1999. CUMC commissioned six of our members to go, and they traveled to Cuba. They had a very positive and moving experience in Havana. On their return to the US, via Toronto, the fact that they had visited Cuba was made known to US customs & immigration agents, who told them this was illegal, asked questions and copied some of their identification and other papers. Now, over three years later, three of the six are targets of a “crackdown” by our own government: $7,500 fines have been “proposed” against each of the two African-American CUMC members who went to represent our church; $5,000 has been assessed against one other member, a white woman."

REPRESENTATIVES FROM SISTER CITIES TO MEET DURING EXPO-CARIBE 2002  5/28/02 Radio Havana: "A number of cities in Latin America and Europe have sister-city relationships with Santiago de Cuba, including: Rio and Parana (Argentina), Puerto Antonio (Jamaica), Cartagena de Indias (Colombia), San Bartolome de Tirajana (Grand Canaries, Spain), Santiago de los Caballeros (Dominican Republic) and Caracas (Venezuela). Santiago de Queretaros (Mexico), Santiago de Compostela (Spain), La Mantin (Martinica), Palermo (Italy), Villa Terol (Gran Canaria), Oakland (California, U.S.) and Naples (Italy) are also sister-cities to Cuba's second most important trade center."

Bush's Hardline on Cuba Threatens Milwaukee Church Members  5/22/02 Milwaukee Coalition to Normalize Relations with Cuba: "In January of 1999, six members of Milwaukee's Central United Methodist Church (CUMC), who were commissioned by their church to participate in the 100th anniversary of their sister church in Havana, traveled to Cuba. Three of the six including the two people of color in the delegation are now being threatened with fines of up to $7,500 each. Their case raises questions of separation of church and state, as well as arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement of US government policy. "Around 70,000 people go to Cuba each year without a license. Procedurally, the US Government sends a letter that demands people to supply them details of the trip. Then, people receive a pre-penalty notice regarding a fine and they may request a hearing to be held in Washington DC," said Heitzer."

Sister Cities United Part II  5/22/02 SF Bay View: with photos borrowed from AfroCubaWeb.

A Florida first: Manatee County, Cuban town in sister relationship  4/25/02 Miami Herald 

Manatee County, Cuban town agree to cultural exchange  4/24/02 Miami Herald: but what will happen in the face of the new Senate bill prohibiting travel to the US from Cuba?

County could build ties with Cuban people  4/11/02 Seattle Post-Intelligencer: "For the past several months the King County Council has considered a proposal which I introduced to build a "sister-county relationship" with Granma Province in Cuba. The measure has sparked heated controversy at the council. Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and right-wing groups have denounced me as a communist and an enemy of democracy."

Vets say Cuba would make twisted `sister': - Befriend communist nation? Idea troubles many Eastsiders  3/26/02 East Side Journal: this opposition's anticommunist logic is dubious: where were they when the US opened up relations with China and Viet Nam?

Building Bridges: Milwaukee Coalition to Normalize Relations With Cuba  3/15/02 

Group's goals include more Cuba visits  3/12/02 Herald Times, Bloomington, IN 

Pa. has new 'sister state' - in Cuba  2/23/02 Philadelphia Inquirer 

FIDEL CASTRO ATTENDS SIGNING OF MATANZAS-PENNSYLVANIA SISTER CITY AGREEMENT  2/22/02 Radio Havana: "Michael Diven, a State representative from Pennsylvania, was on hand for the protocol signing. Diven told reporters that he hoped the agreement joining his State with Matanzas Province would help create a bridge between the U.S. and Cuba. He said his constituents have a lot to learn from Cuba, emphasizing the island's achievements in education and health care. The Pennsylvania representative said that Cuba is, in many ways, a rich country that can provide an example to the rest of the world."

Unexpected meeting with Fidel  2/21/02 Granma: Fidel meets US Cuba Sister Cities delegates

Fidel attends the friendship's signing between Matanzas and Pennsylvania  2/20/02 AIN, Cuba 

Asiste Fidel a la firma del hermanamiento entre Matanzas y Pennsylvania  2/20/02 Radio Cadena Habana 

FIDEL CASTRO MEETS WITH MEMBERS OF US-CUBA SISTER CITY ASSOCIATION  2/20/02 Radio Havana: "Fidel Castro told the delegates that great efforts are being made to increase the educational level of the Cuban people, which is already very impressive. He referred to the daily television courses, known as "Universidad para Todos" or "University for All," as well as other continuing education courses."

Speech in Havana at US-Cuba Sister-City Meeting, February 19, 2002, by Jay Higginbotham, the "father" of the US Cuba sister cities movement  2/19/02 CubaWiFriends 

Fifth Cuba-U.S. Sister Cities Forum Opens in Havana  2/19/02 Xinhua 

US-CUBA SISTER CITY ASSOCIATION MEETS IN HAVANA  2/18/02 Radio Havana: "The U.S.-Cuba Sister City Association (USCSCA) is holding a week-long meeting in the Cuban capital this week. The conference, "Building Bilateral Relations: A Continuous Conversation," got underway Monday morning at Havana's International Convention Center. Cuban Parliament President Ricardo Alarcon addressed the opening session of the meeting. After commenting on the increased success of the sister city program, Alarcon spoke about the problems faced by both peoples in their efforts to improve relations."


US UNIVERSITY STUDENTS MEET THEIR CUBAN COUNTERPARTS  1/26/02 Radio Havana: Sister Cities in action: "A visiting delegation of students and professors from the University of Pittsburgh participated in a cultural event on Thursday evening with their Cuban counterparts from the Camilo Cienfuegos University in central Matanzas province."

Right to Travel Questionnaire for USCSCA and Senator Dorgan  1/12/02 USCSCA: Questionnaire in support of Congressional Hearings

Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) to Hold Hearings on Right To Travel  1/12/02 USCSCA: Senator Byron Dorgan (ND) has agreed to hold hearing on OFAC's mismanagement of travel licenses and on the right to travel. Links and petition on this site.

Diven will bankroll a trade trip to Cuba  1/10/02 Pittsburgh Tribune Review: "HARRISBURG – A state legislator from Brookline is promoting a trip to Cuba next month in an effort to develop markets for Pennsylvania agriculture even though the state Agriculture Department frowns on trade with the Communist island nation because of a U.S. embargo."

Committed to Cuba  1/6/02 Mobile Register: And just what are those ties, Mr. Nodine? - ""If I were a taxpayer of Mobile, I would want to know why he (Dow) is doing this and what has he got to show for it." Nodine, who has personal and political ties to his native South Florida, said he has sent letters to the United States Treasury and State departments to question Dow's use of $2,400 in city funds to make the most recent trip." Nodine is a Mobile City Councilor who opposes the Sister City relationship.

Veterans object to sister-province ties with Cuba  12/27/01 Seattle Post Intelligence: "A King County plan to pursue a sister relationship with a Cuban province has inflamed some local military veterans, who say the county has no business dealing with a communist country that the United States lists as a sponsor of terrorism." Who are these people? Are they as vigorous in their condemnation of China for the communism (in Seattle!) or Miami for the terrorism?

Veterans object to sister-province ties with Cuba  12/27/01 Seattle Post Intelligencer: the veterans opposed were said to have been persuaded by the CANF.

Council Considering New Sister County Relationship with Cuban Province  12/10/01 USCSCA: "Metropolitan King County Councilmembers today passed a motion to explore the establishment of a sister county relationship with the province of Granma, Cuba. During last week's Committee-of-the-Whole meeting, councilmembers heard a presentation from the Seattle-Cuba Sister City Association in favor of a King County-Granma partnership."

Castro to US Students: Know World  12/7/01 AP: This trip is project of the Pittsburgh-Matanzas Sister City Association

USCSCA - Hurricane Assessment Team going to Cuba  11/27/01 USCSCA: US Cuba Sister Cities Association to send team to Cuba

Washington, DC - Habana Sister City: meeting at Howard on  11/17/01 USCSCA 

Hands across the gulf to Cuba  6/18/01 Baltimore Sun: "A visit inspired Frank Pratka to work toward establishing a link between Baltimore and the island nation."

Thanksgiving Coffee Company to Donate Funds to Support U.S.-Cuba Sister Cities Program  6/5/01 End the Embargo: "Thanksgiving Coffee Company, a northern California gourmet coffee roaster and distributor that opposes U.S. economic sanctions against Cuba, announced today that it will donate proceeds from its line of "End the Embargo on Cuba" coffees to support the U.S.-Cuba Sister Cities Association (USCSCA)."

Latin American Working Group: urgent call for push on lifting Cuba travel ban  5/1/01 USCSCA 

Gainesville-Cuba Friendship Network hosts event to launch Sister City Project   3/1/01 USCSCA 

Officers & Board of USCSCA pass motion thanking AfroCubaWeb for their support of USCSCA's web site.  2/17/01 USCSCA: "USCSCA is indebted to AfroCubaWeb for making our website possible with their generous in-kind donation of services. Cuba, as a nation, identifies itself with its rich African and Caribbean roots; the story of the African Diaspora is deeply entwined with the history of revolutionary Cuba. We urge anyone interested in Cuba, AfroCuban culture, or the African Diaspora to please check out AfroCubaWeb. Thanks again to our friends and colleagues at AfroCubaWeb. Officers & Board of USCSCA. 2/17/01"

Baltimoreans Seek Cuban City for Sisterhood  2/14/01 City Paper, Baltimore: "What we have in common with tiny Varadero is more of a mystery. But Valenti says the designation of the particular city is not terribly important. Local government in Cuba, she explains, is organized more by provinces than by towns. "To them, Varadero is just a neighborhood in Matanzas [Province]," she says. So the Matanzas birthplace of Martin Dihigo, the Babe Ruth of Cuba, could be linked with the Baltimore birthplace of Babe Ruth, the Babe Ruth of America. And Baltimoreans could claim a piece of numerous attractions, the Port of Matanzas, Elian Gonzales' hometown of Cardenas, and the Bay of Pigs."


Black Farmers and Agriculturists Association members visit Cuba  2/21/00 The Militant: "The Atlanta Network on Cuba has been granted a license by the Secretary of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control to organize a trip of farmers from the United States to Cuba. Six farmers who have been part of struggles against farm foreclosures, the devastating effects of the drop in prices paid to farmers for their products, and racist and sexist discrimination by the U.S. Department of Agriculture will travel to Cuba February 12. They have been invited by the National Association of Small Farmers for a one-week exchange. The license grants the farmers the right to carry out "a structured program schedule of humanitarian and agricultural assessment activities, as consistent with section 515.575 of the Regulations during the visits to Cuba."

THE HAVANA CONNECTION - Seattle Reaches Out... Again  4/22/99 Seattle Stranger: "IN TERMS OF KNOWING ABOUT BENEFICIAL INSECTS they are way ahead of us," gushes Jim Diers, Director of Seattle's Department of Neighborhoods, "but they were very impressed and excited by our worms bins." Diers is speaking about Cuba, a country most government officials would be hesitant to get so enthused about because of, oh, a 40-year U.S. embargo, and the fact that it's full of commies."

List of Cuban provincial papers and other sites

Guerrillero» «Pinar del Río
El Habanero» «La Habana
Tribuna de La Habana» «Ciudad de La Habana
Girón» «Matanzas
Vanguardia» «Villa Clara
5 de Septiembre» «Cienfuegos
Escambray» «Sancti Spíritus
Invasor» «Ciego de Ávila
Adelante» «Camagüey
26» «Las Tunas
La Demajagua» «Granma
Ahora» «Holguín
Sierra Maestra» «Santiago de Cuba
Venceremos» «Guantánamo
Victoria» «Isla de la Juventud

Emisoras de Radio Nacionales

Radio Reloj Radio Rebelde
Radio Habana Cuba  

Emisoras de Radio Provinciales

Radio Ciudad de La Habana Radio Metropolitana
Tiempo 21 Radio Cadena Habana
Radio Sancti Spíritus CMHW Villa Clara
Radio Victoria Radio Ciudad del Mar


Cubavisión Internacional CHTV

Revistas y otras publicaciones

Bohemia Habanera
Giga Temas
Prisma Negocios en Cuba
Alma Mater Caimán Barbudo
Mujeres La Jiribilla
La Gaceta de Cuba Zunzún
Avances Médicos de Cuba Travel Trade Cuba
Somos Jóvenes Opus Habana
Tricontinental Cine Cubano
Revolución y Cultura Cuba Internacional
Ciencias de la Información Salsa Cubana
Juventud Técnica Pionero
Opciones El economista
Notinet El Fénix
Orbe Senderos

Otros sitios

Ceniai IslaGrande
Infocom Cubaweb
Infomed Citmatel
Archivo Nacional Cubaciencia
Cubanic Cubarte
Cienfuegos UPEC
Redsolar Gobierno cubano
Sitio de Elián Cuba demanda
Cuba contra el bloqueo CubAhora
Sitio del Ajedrez en Cuba Marinas Puertosol
Directorio Turístico de Cuba Ballet Nacional de Cuba
Casa de las Américas


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