On October 2, 2015 Carlow University and the city of Pittsburgh were given the pleasure of hosting Richard Blanco, the inaugural poet for Barack Obama’s 2012 inauguration, the poet chosen for the ceremonial reopening of the United States Embassy in Cuba, and an author of various works. Of Blanco’s works many are published by The University of Pittsburgh Press. Blanco started off the evening, which was his first time in Pittsburgh, saying he felt that he had come home.
Since becoming Pope, Pope Francis has been celebrated around the world as not only a religious figure, but also an unofficial diplomat. Pope Francis has traveled around the world and given a number of addresses during his time as Pope thus far. Yet, though a religious leader, the Pope’s addresses are never simply religious. Instead, his message has weighed in on a number of political topics, including immigration and US-Cuba relations during his most recent visit to both countries.
The Gran Teatro de La Habana Alicia Alonso, the newly remodeled theater which houses the Ballet Nacional de Cuba, is a striking building both inside and out.
In Cuba, a country where omnipresent political propaganda makes nationalism seem to be less of an option and more of a legal obligation, the streets are filled with images of historical figures.
You are watching a group of dancers perform at an outdoor salsa club when someone standing beside you asks in Spanish, “Where are you from?” You answer, “Los Estados Unidos,” and the young man’s face lights up. He exclaims in rapid, clipped Spanish that you can’t quite understand, and jokingly introduces himself as “Robin Hood.” You laugh.
If you walk down the Calle 1 in Havana, Cuba, you will come across a wrought-iron gate fixed with the Star of David in the center. Beyond the gates is a geometric 1950s-era building whose front doors are marked with gold menorahs. Since 1953, the Synagogue Bet Shalom (also known as El Patronato) has been a reminder of the Jewish population throughout Cuba.
This October, the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies at the University of Miami put out a report that Cuba may have sent military personnel to Syria, to help Russia support Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
On October 27th for the 24th consecutive vote on the matter, the United Nations General Assembly voted in favor of Cuba to condemn the United States for continuing the embargo between the two nations. However, this particular vote comes less than a year after President Barack Obama renewed relations with the island nation after 54 years, and is Cuba’s biggest victory at the General Assembly yet.
In most countries labeled as “developing country,” it is typical for birthrates to be extremely high, while health and education levels are low. But Cuba is an exception to the developing country rule: ever since the Castro Revolution in 1959, even with the label of “developing country,” Cuba has had extremely high levels of education and a world renowned health care system. Another aspect in which Cuba remains an outlier is their birthrate.
Costa Rica has suspended participation in the Central American Integration System (SICA) in response to the unwillingness of fellow Central American countries—specifically, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Belize—to work together to find a solution to the Cuban migrant crisis in Costa Rica.1 Upwards of 6,000 Cuban nationals intending to travel through Central America to the United States have been stranded in Costa Rica since November, when Nicaragua refused them entry.2