A month earlier, the blossoming mood of rapprochement was given a sprinkling of goodwill when a New York Cosmos team including Brazilian legend Pele in their delegation traveled to Havana to face Cuba in a friendly. It highlighted the role sport has played to thaw hitherto chilly relations between the two nations, a strategic tool the United States has made use of repeatedly for decades.
There have been wonderful, detailed accounts of this historic visit, and its function (cultural diplomacy), nature (friendly and collaborative), and outcomes (artistic and financial commitments), so I won't rehash those here. What I'll focus on instead is the immeasurable component of art itself in the rebuilding of relationships at a people-to-people level.
Headlines focused on the use of music diplomacy in bridging the gap between cultures
Cuba is in a position where it could use some soft power appeal, particularly on the same social issues—like unemployment or the treatment of Afro-Latinos—that neighboring countries are going through. If Cuba is aiming to have a rap scene with actual international appeal beyond the club circuit, the state should relax its hold.
Rap, once disdained in Cuba for its American origins, is being appropriated by the state to push a pro-party line. But the state would win more by allowing artists to work freely.
The first direct commercial flight between the US and Cuba landed today in the city of Santa Clara, in the center of the island, after more than half a century of restrictions. It marked a further step in the normalization process between the two countries, reported dpa news.
Together O’Neal and Canales became the first official U.S. Department of State Basketball Sports Envoys to Cuba, taking U.S. diplomacy to new heights by forging positive ties with the people of Cuba through the unifying power of sports.
This summer one of the UK’s most prestigious universities provided refugees in the UK the opportunity to recharge their academic batteries by attending summer courses on a free bursary. For the third year running, King’s College London has been working in partnership with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, to offer summer school places to people who have fled persecution and conflict in their home countries.