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news item

Friday, 2 February 2018

Jorge Angel Hernandez

Cuba-US cultural exchanges in steep fall

by: La Jirilbilla

The restrictions imposed on US citizens by the Trump administration to travel to Cuba in November 2017 go beyond the typical Cold War backdrop. In fact, they accentuate the policy of commercial, economic and financial siege to which the blockade clings, successively condemned by the UN General Assembly by absolute majority. The "hard hand" of the US president, linked to those of US politicians Marco Rubio and Diaz-Balart, not only represents a political change from the techniques of former President Barak Obama, but a new strategy of interference. It shows a natural review of and cancellation of exchanges between US and Cuban institutions.

From that date to this point, twenty-four American colleges and universities whose objective was to carry out academic activities and exchange experiences, ideas and knowledge with professional researchers, scholars and Cuban students related to the Cuban Centre for Studies relating to the ideas of Jose Marti, have been forced to cancel their projects.

In addition to the Alliant International University, which cancelled in October, when the thunder of the new measures were heard very strong, successive suspensions have come in droves. Three in November (Pratt Institute, Johnson & Wales University and Culver-Stockton College) and three others in December (Oklahoma State University, Case University and Presbyterial University), seven in January (Hartwick College, Drake University, Towson University, Western Kentucky University , University of Baltimore, IFDS and University of Wiscosin), again three, scheduled for February of this year (University of Michigan, Eastern University and Xavier University) and seven others agreed for March 2018 (MN State Mankato, Penn State Harrisburg, Cuyahoga Community College, Old Dominion, American University, Illinois State University and University of Illinois).

To this sudden academic blackout is added the cancellation of the exchange with Cuban music studio EGREM that had been arranged by the Breklee Music College with the aim of interacting with musicians who have recorded with EGREM and recording in their studios. The Cuban Music Institute, for its part, received the news that the Dreamcatcher agency was suspending all their concerts planned for Cuba. Canadian singer-songwriter Sarah MacLachlan and singer-songwriter Jason Mraz have been direct victims of these exchange cancellations.

Likewise, relations between the Grand Chamber of Commerce of Harlem and the Cuban Ministry of Culture, which began in 2016, were suddenly broken by the forced decision of the US organisation. In addition to all this, we know the Cuban cultural tourism agancy Paradiso is receiving cancellations from the US, in particular Academic Services.

The restrictive new measures, which makes it forbidden to have relations with a list of more than 180 Cuban institutions, even goes beyond cold war strategies that were supposed to have been left behind. It is an upfront and ruthless war that does not worry about sacrificing its own collateral victims, jumping from the level of fourth generation to those of direct and illegal action. Like it or not, this strategy affects the vast majority of Cuban citizens. Including those that have made some money from marketing their country.

Link to original article in Spanish on La Jiribilla

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