Learn About Cuba Seminar
We had 65 people signed up between Presenters, a few
volunteers, guest list and paying attendees. Turns out that
most people travelled from off-Cape for the seminar so I would
imagine that if we do our next one in Boston that we can double
or triple our turn out.
So, we had about 35 people show up which is pretty good for
a rainy Saturday on Cape Cod. I will say that I was VERY
impressed with everyone who did invest the time to make the
trip. All Presenters were amazing and are worthy of speaking
before an audience of hundreds rather than just dozens. The
attendees were equally impressive with their knowledge and/or
passion for all things Cuban.
The Cultural Center of Cape Cod deserves credit and I give
special thanks to Ann who volunteered to come in on a Saturday
to help out with the credit card machine, music and general
Cultural Center logistics. It is a terrific venue featuring a
full kitchen, book signing room, large board room for our Cuban
memorabilia and Cuban art of Cuban Art Space along with just an
overall great setting for this type of event.
Mavis Anderson - Latin America Working
Group - US Cuba policy, hurricane update, South Florida
Everyone got settled in about 9:15 and Mavis Anderson took
the podium and educated and updated everyone about the severity
of the hurricanes that recently hit Cuba, the congressional
bills that were introduced but not voted on, and the
humanitarian aid that was offered by the US government
(initially with conditions and to be distributed only through
non-governmental recipients) and rejected by the Cuban
government because Cuba will not accept aid from a country that
has an Embargo against it.
She also gave a brief history of U.S. Cuba policy and
congressional actions to end the travel ban, the changes in
Cuban-American community in South Florida, Florida University
polls and United Nations votes against the
Mavis offered these US Cuba travel policy links for
more information regarding legal travel to Cuba:
Overview of licensed travel to Cuba
How to Travel on a General License to
How to Apply for a Religious License to
Travel to Cuba
She also suggested a new strategy for the new President
and Congress: the United States needs a major overhaul of
all our relations with Latin America because it is a
Ending the embargo should be our highest priority in our
policy toward Latin America. It is the first
thing the new president should do with regards to Latin
It is recommended that you stay informed by signing
up for LAWG’s email update, encourage your
rep in Congress US Cuba policy change and
even travel to Cuba legally so you can experience
everything first hand.
Jeanne Lemkau and David Strug - Love, Loss and
Longing - The effect of the US Cuba policy on Cuban American
They presented a very touching session and slide show
featuring the many Cuban families that they worked with to
create the book Love, Loss, and Longing: the Impact of U.S.
Travel Policy on Cuban-American Families.
It is now a great tool for education and
advocacy to change US Cuba policy and you can
download a copy HERE.
Networking Session - Everyone stood up and talked
about their Cuban interests
After this session everyone was invited to stand up and
speak for a couple minutes about the interest in Cuba, their
experiences and/or their Cuba related organization that they
would like to promote.
I was told buy many attendees that they really liked this
unique session because they got to meet everyone at the
seminar, hear interesting stories AND tell their own story. A
couple people ran on a little long but I don't think anyone
Then we broke for lunch and everyone found someone to talk
Many people came up to me and said that the caterer did a fantastic job making these
traditional Cuban entrees.
- Arroz con Pollo
- Stuffed Eggplant
- Black Beans and Rice
- Cuban Sandwiches
- Cuban Salad
and we would like to thank CubaBev.com for sending us three cases
of their tasty CUBA brand herbal energy drink. I also want
to thank Larry Luxner from CubaNews and Johannes Werner of
Cuba Trade News for donating dozens of
issues of their Cuba newsletter for distribution to our
Statement sent in by Congressman William
During lunch Mavis Anderson informed me that Congressman
Bill Delahunt's office had sent me an email containing a
statement that he wanted me to read for all attendees.
I appreciate the Congressman's efforts to recognize our
Cuba seminar. The Cultural Center of Cape Cod is in his
district, I am a constituent and the
Congressman is a leading proponent of easing the trade and
travel restrictions of the Cuba Embargo.
You can read the full statement HERE reprinted with
permission from his office.
The audience was pleased to have the seminar officially
recognized by the Congressman and I thank him and his staff for
his time and public acknowledgement of our Learn About Cuba
Sandra Levinson - Cuban Art Space - Original Cuban
art and Cuban posters
For those of you who have ever met Sandra, you know that she
immediately lights up the room with her smile and love of life.
She went into great detail about the background of the
Center for Cuban Studies' lawsuit against the US Treasury
Department. A lawsuit in the early 1990s which made
possible the importation of original art from Cuba. As a result
of her lawsuit, all Cuban art may be imported and sold in
galleries in the United States. The US Treasury
Department now provides special licenses for
that purpose to legitimate art galleries (including online
Sandra had the documentary by Cuban director
Roberto Chile, "Alas con puntas," which shows 12 well-known
Cuban artists doing their artwork running without sound as she
gave her presentation. She also brought more than fifty
pieces of original Cuban art and twenty silkscreen posters
to exhibit for the seminar. These works featured the art
of Jose Fuster, William Perez, Roberto Fabelo, Montebravo,
Sandra Dooley, Nestor Vega, Jorge Perugorria, Mabel Poblet and
graphic designers Rostgaard, Bachs, Reboiro among
Towards the end of her presentation she invited the entire
audience into the large board room where she gave a short
presentation on many different pieces of art. The audience
seemed to really enjoy the personal touch.
Dick Cluster - author of History of Havana -
Presentation 1519 to present day Havana
Dick Cluster, co-author with Rafael Hernández of History of Havana, gave an illustrated
talk on the long life history of the Cuban capital, from its
settlement in 1519 to today. He showed how the city's past
contains not only the ruptures we're used to hearing
about, the many continuities and characteristics
that keep popping up in new ways.
His talk also highlighted connections between Havana and the
U.S. -- good, bad, and mixed.
I wanted to add that the Chicago Sun Times said "This
colorful work explains the singular allure of Havana. What
makes it compelling is how effectively Cluster and Hernandez
convey the personality of the city."
Peter Swanson - CubaCruising.net - The Great Bahamas
Peter gave a fantastic presentation regarding his travels
around Cuba along with a great slideshow featuring all kinds of
rare photos from places like Cayo Saetia where he said African
wild game runs free, an island full of iguanas and a number of
beautiful bays that are perfect for boating due to their narrow
mouths and large and deep bays. However, he said
that there are not many amenities for recreational boaters
due to the lack of facilities.
He went into great detail about what he calls the Great
Bahamas Loop that he thinks will evolve in a post-Embargo Cuba.
Right now apparently most boaters stop at Georgetown in the
Bahamas but post-Embargo he thinks a great number of boaters
will continue on to Jumentos and Duncan Town and then south to
Vita on the north eastern end of Cuba. Once arriving on the
north coast of Cuba, boaters can then continue on past
Guardalavaca, Cayo Coco, Varadero then onto Marina Hemingway
before heading north to Key West.
Rob Sequin - CEO Havana Journal Inc - Cuba and the
Rob said he became interested in Cuba because of the
Internet. He started reading about Cuba online in 1997 and was
inclined to save dozens of bookmarks. He then started blogging
and buying Cuba related domain names and now covers Cuba
business, culture, politics and travel at HavanaJournal.com.
He put up a web page with a number of Cuba blogs, forums and
news sources and you can see the page HERE. He also suggested that
everyone should own a Cuba related domain name that they would
consider developing in the future.
He closed the day by giving away a number of Cuba books and
other items as door prizes.
I would like to thank all the presenters and attendees for
all their time and participation. This was a very educational
and interactive event and I hope that we all learned something
new about Cuba and made some new lifelong friends.
I will look into hosting a seminar in April or May in Boston
since many people made the trip down to Cape Cod just for this
seminar. I will keep everyone posted on future developments. If
you are reading this and not on our attendee list, please ask
me to add you to future Learn About Cuba seminar email