In The Mirror

Yoani Sanchez, Generation Y, 6 March 2016 — There is an aunt with her hair in rollers and a maternal gaze, a neighbor in a housecoat and that friend blowing out the birthday candles. They are known faces, family members, but they live hundreds of miles from the island, and come to us, as in a mirror that returns our image without distortions or cracks, through Geandy Pavón (b. Las Tunas, Cuba, 1974) and his exposition, The Cuban-Americans.

In that far off geography, the emigrants weave their dreams, taking on new customs, maintaining their taste for rice with beans, and sighing for a country that only exists in their memories. In that “internal space” where Cuban-Americans pass their lives, what the writer Gustavo Pérez Firmante called the hyphen or dash, “that unites, while separating, nominally and culturally, the Cuban and the American.”

Pavón captures in a series of black and white photographs that were exhibited at the Cervantes Institute of New York, a part of the nostalgia of those who carry their roots on their shoulders so that a new generation can bear fruits. Parents who left behind their world of references, the house where they were born and even their wedding rings, with the obsession of giving their children a future. They are like us, but they have lived more, and the title of “Cubans” sounds sweetly and painfully in their ears.

Their names are Josefa, Paco, Pedro, Yosvany, Miguel… and they have experienced daily contact with other cultures, the pleasure in the little things they managed to carry with them: a yellowed photograph of Grandma and a memory of the dog barking from the farm path. They are also burdened with the depression of exile, the conviction that they don’t belong entirely to the land they left behind nor to the one that received them. They are beings who carry with them their own homeland.

The exhibition is full of intimate moments, indoors, in the heat of the home where the Cuban identity is expressed in a gesture, an attitude or simply the nostalgic feel in a gaze

The exhibition is full of intimate moments, indoors, in the heat of the home where the Cuban identity is expressed in a gesture, an attitude or simply the nostalgic feel in a gaze.

The author of The Cuban-Americans took as a reference Robert Frank’s famous series of photographs, The Americans. The work of the American artist was heavily criticized in its time for not embodying “the image of progress and greatness they wanted to project in the fifties,” recalls Pavón. Like Frank, he also wanted to escape “the stereotypes, the commonplace.”

This “no man’s land,” where the exiles have found themselves because of politics, intolerance and immigration restrictions, resembles in many details the island we have woven within the bubble of our intimacy. An identity hard to catch in the tourist snapshots or sepia postcards that so content the foreign eye. More than a photographic work, Pavón has had to undertake a true immersion in that abyss of Cuban identity.

From this plunge, he has returned without beautiful ruins, old cars, or easy smiles. Instead of that, the artist claims to have “found another Cuba outside Cuba,” a nation that long ago ceased to be contained on an island.

20 thoughts on “In The Mirror

  1. Congrats Humberto, you fell right into my little trap and answered exactly as I thought you would. I was implying that change comes about IN SPITE of what officialdom does. You have told that story about the offer from Google many times, and not once made the obvious comment, that the official Cuban reaction was predictaly typical.
    Too many times people are so busy trying to make a point, the same one over and over again, that no effort is made to find a solution to the problem…

  2. SOO yngso WHAT YOU ARE SAYING IS THAT IT WAS OK FOR THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY TO REFUSE THE GOOGLE OFFER OF FREE WI-FI FOR THE CUBAN PEOPLE? HOW CAN THE CUBAN PEOPLE “FIND THEIR WAY” WHEN THEY HAVE NO INDEPENDENT INFORMATION DEAR? NO CAPISCO!

    THE NEWS TRIBUNE: Cuba fears defections, pulls out of 30th Windermere Cup; UW gets Russia to row in anniversary regatta – By Gregg Bell

    Fearing more defections after a summer of them last year, Cuba has pulled out of the 30th Windermere Cup crew regatta at the University of Washington.

    But The News Tribune has learned from multiple sources with direct knowledge of the change in plans the Cubans were concerned about losing more athletes to defections while more of their national teams competes in the United States.

    While relations between the U.S. and Cuba have warmed recently, the Cuban government still fears its best athletes will flee for far better economic and career opportunities.

    http://www.thenewstribune.com/sports/college/pac-12/university-of-washington/article66142872.html

  3. I have said it before more than once: Change – and it has started – comes from the bottom, with remittances, affordable tractors and so much more. All remittances don’t get used to start businesses, but if they’re used to buy milk and other nutritious foods, the next generations of Cubans will be healthier and smarter.
    Regarding “free” internet and US Corps, nobody but them want them to “take over” Cuba. It’s been emphasised time and time again by many people that Cubans have to find their own way. That is true for Venezuela too, where change is imminent. Brazil is being forced to abandon populism, because it’s blindingly obvious that it hasn’t worked…

  4. YOUTUBE: EL ACOMPAÑANTE (The Companion) TRAILER. English subtitles available in menu

    THE TOPIC OF THE AIDS CONCENTRATION CAMPS IN CUBA WAS EXPOSED IN THE CUBAN/AMERICAN FILM “Azucar Amaraga” BY Leon Ichase 20 YEARS AGO! THIS CUBAN FILM IS WAY TOO LATE!

    ‘FILM: “THE COMPANION/EL ACOMPAÑANTE” — DIRECTED BY Pavel Giroud’s powerful new film is set during the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s, when the Castro regime established Los Cocos, a sanatorium in Havana’s suburbs where all HIV patients mandatorily cohabited under military watch. Each patient was assigned a “companion” who would monitor the patient’s activities at the sanatorium and accompany her or him on rare incursions to the city.

    Horacio (Latin Grammy-winning singer Yotuel Romero), a former Olympic boxing champion involved in a doping scandal, is obliged to earn his redemption by serving as companion to Daniel (Armando Miguel), a soldier infected by an African prostitute while on an internationalist mission—and one of Los Cocos’ most defiant patients. Despite the strained situation—and Daniel’s determination to escape—the relationship between these fallen heroes gradually materializes into one of solidarity and friendship.

    The Companion’s well-structured screenplay provides Giroud with a rock-solid foundation, allowing him to focus on two things he does exceedingly well: building tension and directing actors. And the film’s leads, Miguel, already so impressive in Conducta and Melaza, and newcomer Romero, soar under Giroud’s careful guidance. With any luck, they’ll soar all the way to international stardom. – Orlando Rojas

    This film is also a part of the Lexus Ibero American Feature Film Competition.

    Azúcar Amarga (English: Bitter Sugar) is a 1996 American-Dominican co-production directed by Cuban filmmaker Leon Ichaso. The film was shot in black-and-white, and was filmed in Santo Domingo starring a cast of Cuban-American émigrés,[1] though it also uses archival footage from Cuba.[2]

    Bobby and his band deliberately infect themselves with HIV, stating if they have to choose between “socialism or death”, a popular slogan in Cuban propaganda, they choose death. Gustavo and Tomás are horrified. Gustavo and Yolanda go to a cheap hotel so they can have sex. Gustavo is too depressed, however. Instead he starts talking about his problems. Yolanda leaves. Gustavo looks for Yolanda at her home, but she is not there. He later sees her getting into a car with Claudio.

    Gustavo confronts Yolanda, who says Claudio bought her just dinner, and that nothing happened. Police come to arrest Bobby, on the grounds that he has AIDS. Gustavo and Tomás visit Bobby in the detainment camp for people infected with AIDS. Bobby apologises for how his choice affected his family.

    Gustavo, who eats leftovers in the kitchen where Tomás works as a pianist, sees Yolanda having dinner with Claudio through the kitchen window. Gustavo aggressively confronts Claudio, and is subsequently thrown out of the restaurant. The kitchen staff tell Gustavo that they see Yolanda there often, whoring herself out to tourists. Later Yolanda is seen crying in Claudio’s apartment. Claudio is sympathetic, but cannot convince her to stay with him that night. Tomás is fired from his job. Gustavo’s teacher tells him that due to his attacking Claudio his scholarship has been cancelled. Gustavo states he believes there never actually was a scholarship in the first place. His teacher admits there was no scholarship, but he had to pretend there was in order to keep his job.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Az%C3%BAcar_Amarga

  5. FOLLOW UP! United States: New Rules Regarding Telecommunications Service To Cuba — Last Updated: December 2 2009
    In early September, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the Commerce Department Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) published long-awaited regulations implementing the Cuba policies announced by the White House in April 2009. In a sweeping departure from prior U.S. policy, these presidential policies – which are intended to promote the freer flow of information to the Cuban people – significantly reduce the licensing requirements and other barriers for telecommunications providers to offer services to Cuba. In addition, they authorize the following:
    transactions involving the establishment of new fiber-optic cable and satellite facilities between the U.S. and Cuba
    roaming agreements with Cuban telecommunication providers
    expanded travel to Cuba in connection with business activities related to telecommunications
    These changes may be a major boon to American telecommunications companies, which have sought to do business in Cuba for many years. The ultimate outcome of the White House initiative, however, hinges on a number of factors. Although new regulations have been adopted by certain U.S. government agencies, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is awaiting State Department guidance and has not yet changed its Cuba policies, which date back to 1993. It is not known how the State Department and the FCC will conform its policies to the White House initiative – nor is it known how the Cuban government will react to the policy changes.
    http://www.mondaq.com/unitedstates/x/90268/Licensing+Syndication/New+Rules+Regarding+Telecommunications+Service+To+Cuba

  6. OHH! ONE MORE THING! DEAR yngso!! DID YOU KNOW THAT IN 2009 K.O. ALLOWED TELECOMMUNICATION COMPANIES TO SET UP SHOP IN CUBA? WHY DO YOU THINK ALL THESE EFFORTS HAVE BEEN NULL IN GETTING THE CUBAN PEOPLE AFFORDABLE INTERNET EVEN IS COMMON AREAS LIKE LIBRARIES ETC? I DONT CONSIDER SLOW WI-FI FOR $2/HOUR WHERE ALL THE MONEY GOES TO ETECSA ANY REAL ACCOMPLISHMENT FOR THE K.O. ADMINISTRATION DEAR!

    THE ECONOMIST: Cuba and the internet – Wired, at last – Mar 3rd 2011 — ACCORDING to government figures, only 3% of Cubans frequently use the internet, making the communist island the least connected place in the Americas. Those that do require patience: according to an industry survey, Cuba’s dial-up internet access is the world’s second-slowest, after Mayotte, a French territory in the Indian Ocean. Under the guise of rationing the use of bandwidth, internet access is banned in most private homes and censored in offices. In 2009 Barack Obama authorised American companies to provide internet services to the island. But Cuba showed no interest in exploring the possibility. Instead it turned to its ally and benefactor, Venezuela.
    http://www.economist.com/node/18285798

  7. HMMM! DEAR yngso!! GIVEN THE FACT THAT KING OBAMA (KO), MY “PUNCHING BAG! PUN INTENDED! HAS GIVEN THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY MAFIA EVERYTHING FOR NOTHING, I HAVE VERY LITTLE HOPE OF HIM MEETING IN PERSON, IN FRONT OF THE INTERNATIONAL PRESS, RELEVANT DISSIDENTS! WHY DO YOU THINK THAT HE COULD NOT EVEN GET THE CASTRO CLAN TO ACCEPT THE FREE WI-FI OFFERED GOOGLE FOR THE CUBAN PEOPLE? WAITING WITH BAITED BREATH FOR YOUR RESPONSE! IM SURE IT WILL BE EXCITING AND INSIGHTFUL!

    GLOBAL VOICE: Cuba Si, Google No: Cuban Officials Rumored to Reject Google’s Free WiFi Offer – 17 July 2015

    Top Cuban officials allegedly have rejected an offer from Google to supply the island with free public WiFi throughout the country. Although neither the company nor the Cuban government has explicitly commented on the matter, multiple news sources seem to have drawn this conclusion from an interview in Juventud Rebelde (“Rebellious Youth”), the island’s long-standing youth newspaper. The interview featured Jose Ramon Machado, a contemporary of the Castro brothers, who after forty years at the helm of Cuba’s Union of Communist Youth appears as determined as ever to instill in young Cubans the values and morals of Cuba’s unique brand of Marxism.

    When the reporter asked Machado what he thought about the value of the Internet for Cuban youth, Machado’s response was clear:

    “Internet access is a great opportunity and at the same time a great challenge, because new technologies are novel and vital, not only for person-to-person communication, but also for development. Everyone knows why there isn’t more Internet [in Cuba]. It’s because of the high cost.

    There are those who would like to give us Internet for free, but they aren’t doing this so that Cubans can communicate with one another, rather they’re doing it with the goal of penetrating us on ideological grounds, in an effort to make a new conquest. We need to get Internet, but in our own way, recognizing that the imperialist intention is to use it as one more way to destroy the Revolution.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    https://advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org/2015/07/17/cuba-si-google-no-cuban-officials-rumored-to-reject-googles-free-wifi-offer/

  8. Family and Community Dynamics

    The Cuban American family is different in significant ways from the Cuban family. The Cuban family is characterized by patriarchy, strong parental control over children’s lives, and the importance of non-nuclear relationships for the nuclear family. In the United States, these elements have become less characteristic among families of Cuban descent. For example, the Cuban tradition of selecting godparents for a child who will maintain a close and quasi-parental relationship with the child has begun to decline in the United States. Compadres, or godparents, are less likely to play a significant role in the lives of Cuban American children.

    Similarly, Cuban American women are more likely to have greater authority in the family than in Cuba. This is in part attributable to the greater workforce participation of Cuban American women. These women, because they contribute to the household income and to the overall security and independence of the family, claim a greater share of authority and power within the household. Authority in Cuban American families has changed in other ways too. Children have greater freedom in the United States than in Cuba. For example, in Cuba young people are traditionally accompanied by an adult chaperon when dating. This is less true in the United States where young people go out unaccompanied or accompanied by an older sibling.

    Read more: http://www.everyculture.com/multi/Bu-Dr/Cuban-Americans.html#ixzz42kp3Yuyy

  9. THE MAJORITY OF CUBANS LIVING IN EXILE WOULD NOT RETURN TO CUBA IF THERE WERE TO BE A REGIME CHANGE IN THE ISLAND. THIS IS WHY THE FUTURE OF CUBA HAS TO BE LEFT IN THE HANDS OF CUBANS LIVING IN CUBA.
    A statistical profile of Cuban Americans was provided by the 1980 Census and by a comprehensive telephone survey. Major findings include the following: (1) In most Cuban American households, Spanish is the language most spoken, but 85 percent of the Cuban American surveyed felt that residents of the United States should use English in their public dealings. (2) More than 85 percent of Cuban Americans are Catholic; almost 30 percent attend church at least once per week. (3) More than 70 percent of Cuban Americans say they are “very close” to their families. Average Cuban family sizes vary throughout the United States. The divorce rate among Cubans is higher than that of the United States population as a whole. (4) Almost 58 percent of all Cuban Americans said they were employed full time; only 8 percent said they were unemployed. (5) A majority of Cubans are Republicans, but those under 35 are more likely to be Democrats. (6) Nearly 60 percent of all Cuban Americans live in Florida; other states with significant Cuban population include New York (9.6%), California (7.6%), Illinois (2.4%) and Texas (1.8%). (7) Since the 1950s, about 1 million cubans have emigrated to the United States; the vast majority have settled in the Miami area. (8) The Cuban American median age is 37.5 years. (9) The Cuban American community has a smaller percentage of men than the United States average. (10) Cuban American children are much more likely to attend private schools than the population as a whole, and Cubans are close to the United States average in educational attainment. (11) Young Cuban Americans are less isolated from other racial and ethnic groups than their elders, and are less militant in their opposition to Fidel Castro. (12) The average income of Cuban American households is close to the average of the general population. (13) Approximately four out of five Cubans said they would remain in the United States if Castro fell. (KH)

  10. Don’t worry Humberto, I don’t lose my emotional equilibrium over aspects of the entertainment industry. I just believe that the future is much more important than and will be much brighter than the past.
    I just have a question about your favourite punching bag “King” BO: Isn’t he going to meet dissidents and not meet Fidel when he visits. I’m not a big fan of the Prez either, but maybe he’s smart enogh – in an election year – to deflect some criticism?

  11. Pingback: In The Mirror | I am Puddin'

  12. KING OBAMA BENDING OVER FOR THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY AGAIN! WHEN IS HE GOING TO ASK AND GET SOMETHING!

    REUTERS: U.S. to announce further easing of Cuba restrictions on March 17 – By Patricia Zengerle and Matt Spetalnick

    The new rules will mark the latest effort by Obama to use his executive powers to sidestep the U.S. Congress and chip away at the more than half-century-old U.S. economic embargo against Cuba. The anticipated announcement appears timed as a gesture toward Cuba just days before Obama flies to Havana for a March 21-22 visit in another step aimed at ending decades of animosity between the former Cold War foes. It will be the first visit to Cuba by a sitting U.S. president since 1928. The measures are expected to include changes to make it easier for individual Americans to visit Cuba if they qualify under 12 authorized categories of travel such as educational or cultural visits, as well as further loosening of trade and banking rules, said the sources, who were briefed on the matter by administration officials.

    Though details were still being finalized, the package could also include revised regulations on how the U.S. dollar can be used in trade with Cuba, a person familiar with the discussions said. U.S. regulations restrict or prohibit the Cuban government from using the dollar for international transactions.

    “The White House wants to make a splash on the economic front before Obama gets to Havana, and this is one way to do it,” according to the source, who was consulted by Obama aides ahead of the visit. “It will come a couple of days before he leaves.”

    But even some Democratic aides said they were taken aback by news there would be further moves by the White House without concessions from Havana. “Shouldn’t we get something from the Cubans in return?” one asked.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-cuba-obama-idUSKCN0WA2AB

  13. AWW yngso DONT BE SO SENSITIVE DEAR! I WAS JUST MAKING AN OBSERVATION ABOUT THE CONCERTS I ATTENDED AND HOW IRONIC THAT THE CASTRO FAILED TO PUSH THEIR OWN BRAND OF PROPAGANDA MUSIC WHILE IT WAS PRE-CASTRO CUBAN MUSIC THAT CONQUERED THE WORLD IN THE 20TH CENTURY AND EVEN WITH BVSC!

    WASHINGTON POST: Cuba trip: More evidence of Obama’s contempt for human rights – Just how does it foster democracy and liberalization to reward the Castros with a presidential visit when in recent months oppression has increased? Cuban human rights activists tell us: — Throughout 2015, there were more than 8,616 documented political arrests in Cuba. In November alone there were more than 1,447 documented political arrests, the highest monthly tally in decades. Those numbers compare to 2,074 arrests in 2010 and 4,123 in 2011. . . . According to the London-based NGO, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), last year 2,000 churches were declared illegal and 100 were designated for demolition by the Castro regime. Altogether, CSW documented 2,300 separate violations of religious freedom in 2015 compared to 220 in 2014. . . . Most of the 53 political prisoners released in the months prior and after Obama’s December 2014 announcement have since been re-arrested on multiple occasions. Five have been handed new long-term prison sentences. Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch noted in its new 2016 report, “Cuba has yet to allow visits to the island by the International Committee of the Red Cross or by U.N. human rights monitors, as stipulated in the December 2014 agreement with the United States.”
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2016/02/18/cuba-trip-more-evidence-of-obamas-contempt-for-human-rights/

  14. Sorry Humberto, it seems like I can’t write anything without stepping on your toes this days!
    I’ve just got the impression that the BVSC is a part of the Cuban tourist trap, not showing Cuban reality. I was trying to “paint” a metaphor about Cuba not needing the old, nor anything from the present which doesn’t work very well either…

  15. WELL yngso I SAW BVSC AT THE HOLLYWOOD BOWL LAST YEAR AND THEY SOUNDED GREAT! I ALSO SAW Barbarito Torres AND Eliades Ochoa TOGETHER IN L.A. AND THAT WAS ALSO A GREAT SHOW! FUNNY THAT IT WAS THE OLD TIME CUBAN MUSIC SOUND AND ARTISTS WHO MADE IT BIG RATHER THAN THOSE PUSHED BY THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY MAFIA LIKE Los Van Van, Silvio Rodriguez AND OTHERS IN THE TROVA MOVEMENT!

    PRAGUE DAILY MONITOR: Czech Homo Homini human rights prize goes to 11 Cuban dissidents
    Prague, March 7 (CTK) – The Homo Homini Prize, which the Czech People in Need NGO annually bestows on groups or individuals for their contribution to human rights, democracy and non-violent tackling of conflicts at the One World festival of human rights films in Prague, goes to 11 Cuban dissidents this year.
    People in Need, a humanitarian organisation with branches all over the world, has awarded the Cubans, all former political prisoners, for their courage and moral consistency.
    Despite the pressure exerted on them by the Cuban regime, they decided not to emigrate but to continue fighting for freedom in their homeland, People in Need says.
    They will be awarded at the ceremonial opening of the One World international film event tonight.
    In 2003, Fidel Castro’s regime detained 75 leading dissidents and imposed jail sentences from six to 28 years on them during the Black Spring of 2003, People in Need says.
    As a result of the international efforts, most of the dissidents were released from prison in 2010. However, their sentences have been only suspended, which is why they may be jailed again anytime. They face a strong pressure forcing them to leave Cuba, People in Need says.
    People in Need has been operating in Cuba since 1997 when it started to support local dissidents and political prisoners.
    http://praguemonitor.com/2016/03/08/czech-homo-homini-human-rights-prize-goes-11-cuban-dissidents

  16. Hadn’t they retired? BVSC sound like they’re trying to do what was cool when they were young. Now they can barely make the sounds and moves. They sound hollow.
    Cuba doesn’t need a “blast from the past” or anywhere else. Cubans need to find their own way.
    The good news is that CastroChavismo is crumbling, and Cubazuela is on its way to freedom. The latest cover-up regarding the 28 Vzla miners isn’t working so well for the Chavistas. People are angry!

  17. LOOKS LIKE KING OBAMA’S US-CUBA DEAL IS WORKING REAL WELL IN THE CONTINUING CENSORSHIP BY THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY IN AND OUT OF THE ISLAND PRISON!

    TAIPEE TIMES: Buena Vista show canceled because of political factors — The Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club has canceled its Taipei concert due to political factors, promoter Management of New Arts (MNA) said on Monday. The Cuban group confirmed that it has canceled the performance scheduled for last night at the National Concert Hall, the promoter said. The promoter said it had a contract with the group’s Spanish representatives, but it received a letter from them recently saying that because of the change in political power in Taiwan, the group could not perform here.

    It was the first time MNA has ever been forced to cancel a performance due to political factors.

    The Cuban Ministry of Culture cited political and diplomatic obstacles in canceling the visit, MNA said, adding that it tried to solicit assistance through various channels to persuade the Cubans to change their minds, but to no avail.

    The ministry did not elaborate on the political factors, MNA said.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2016/03/09/2003641174

  18. YOUTUBE: Major Lazer concert Cuba

    THE HYPOCRISY OF THESE JOURNALISTS AND ARTIST GO AND MAKE A BIG DEAL OF Major Lazer CONCERT IN CUBA BUT FAIL TO MENTION THAT CUBAN-BORN ARTISTS LIKE THE LATE Celia Cruz, Bebo Valdes, Olga Guillot AND OTHERS ARE STILL CENSORED IN THE CASTRO CONTROLLED MEDIA!
    BILLBOARD: Watch Diplo’s Major Lazer Play Historic Cuba Concert –
    On Sunday (March 6), Major Lazerbecame one of the first major U.S. acts to play in Cuba since the restoration of diplomatic ties between Washington and Havana.
    http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/dance/6898358/major-lazer-cuba-havana-video-watch

  19. Carisimo Humberto, I never PROMOTED or RECOMMENDED the Chinese/Vietnamese system. The Castristas have already loosened up a little, and they’ll have to feed the Cuban people more “carrot” in order to avert revolt. The snowball is already rolling. People who are more well fed get smarter and can make better use of oportunities.
    Juan Carlos Montaner – journalist, writer and commentator on CNN – has the same ideas about Latin America as I have, that there´s a connection between all the leftist/populist govts in the region.We also agree that those govts are going out of style fast…

  20. NY TIMES: White House and Cuba Maneuver Over Obama’s Visit – By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVI
    But a misstep or public dispute has the potential to set back that goal by highlighting the deep differences that remain between the United States and Cuba. There is also the risk of dissonance in trying to open a new chapter in relations when so many of the old plotlines, including differences over human rights violations by Mr. Castro’s government, are still playing out. “This trip can either be the vindication or the refutation of Obama’s approach in Cuba,” said Christopher Sabatini, a professor of international affairs at Columbia University and the director of the Brooklyn-based research organization Global Americans.

    “If the Cubans lecture him on human rights or crack down on dissidents while he is there, it’s going to be quite ugly,” Professor Sabatini said. “It would make the president look like a dupe, and it would be a huge indictment of his foreign policy.”

    Officials on both sides are holding exhaustive talks to avoid such a public rift and instead showcase points of agreement and cooperation. They are haggling over everything from the details of the baseball game to which regulatory changes and business deals can be announced during the visit.
    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!
    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/07/world/americas/white-house-and-cuba-maneuver-over-obamas-visit.html

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