December 5, 2015

We are on the threshold of an historic opportunity to mend a badly broken relationship with our Caribbean neighbor, but Cuba is much more than a neighbor - she is a long lost relative, a source of wonderful culture, incredible artists and musicians, and several civic examples that we could all learn from. She could also become one of our greatest allies in the Western Hemisphere. 

Meridian International Center President Stuart Holliday said the venue was a natural spot for Cabañas to make one of his first forays into the world of cultural diplomacy — a U.S. organization that’s into “bridging cultures” offers a sort of soft opening for Cuban diplomats to begin their charm offensive. 

Besides the opportunities to play with and learn from Cuban musicians, Jaffe says that the PHJB plans to share their New Orleans musical history – “People in New Orleans still dance to jazz. We play jazz at our funerals” – with their hosts.

A State Department official said in an email that the American Embassy in Havana was aware of the efforts by private institutions like the Caribbean Baseball Initiative to increase ties between the two countries, and described baseball as “an excellent avenue for sports diplomacy and creating good will between our peoples.”

Elio Alvarez and Lideisy Hernandez [...] joined the largest migration from their homeland in decades. Buying two smartphones for $160 apiece […] they plugged themselves into a highly organized, well-funded […] effort to make human traffickers obsolete by using smartphones and messaging apps on much of the 3,400-mile (5,500-kilometer) overland journey [...] to the U.S.

November 23, 2015

TBS’ late-night talk show Conan secretly sojourned to the island nation, becoming the first American late-night program to broadcast from Cuba in over 50 years. [...] O’Brien’s second travel special, Conan in Armenia, proved to be not only another boon for ratings, but also a powerful example of cultural and public diplomacy.

J. Calvin Jarrell knows Cubans have suffered because of their country’s social, political and economic isolation, but he can’t help but worry how changing tides will affect it. The retired dance professor emeritus at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville has traveled to Cuba 24 times in nine years.


An economic blockade between the U.S. and Cuba didn't prevent jazz from traveling between the countries. But what if the dialogue could flow freely?Arturo O'Farrill & the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra wanted to find out. [...] He got six composers to envision, in their own ways, the continuation of a musical conversation that Gillespie and Pozo started.