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Indybay Feature

Cuba Update: What’s Next?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006
7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Event Type:
Nancy Abbey
Location Details:
West Clubhouse, 326 Evergreen Street, off Coral Street in Santa Cruz

cubastudygroup [at]
August 5, 2006

For Immediate Release

Media Contact: Nancy Abbey – 465 8272

nabbey [at]

Three recent events – international, national and local - converge to make news in Santa Cruz: President Fidel Castro’s temporarily handing the reigns of government to Vice President Raul Castro, the US government’s release of its latest plans for regime change in Cuba, and the return of seven Santa Cruzans after challenging the travel ban in July. In a timely response to these events, Sam Farr will be featured at Cuba Update: What’s Next? on August 23 at Harvey West Clubhouse.

The news from Cuba has created a frenzy of speculation in the United States about what’s next. At the same time, Cubans, while concerned for President Castro’s health, are taking the news in stride and with confidence in their government’s foresight and planning for this eventuality. Congressman Farr will focus on this issue in his presentation at the August 23rd event.

Perhaps the primary question in the national news should be: how will the U.S. government respond to this change in Cuba? Clues can be found in the Report to the President from the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba, June 2006. This document, which will be explained at the Cuba Update, outlines steps to “hasten the end of the Castro dictatorship” (chapter 1, Executive Summary) through allocating $80 million “to support independent civil society on the island” (Chapter 1, Section III, Recommendations), in other words, to fund dissidents. How this “transition to a free Cuba” will take place is not clear. The report states, “For reasons of national security and effective implementation, some recommendations are contained in a separate classified annex.” (Chapter 1, Introduction) which allows room for fear that it could include armed intervention reminiscent of Haiti, Grenada, Panama, etc

Adding interest to this national news is the experience of those Santa Cruzans who traveled to Cuba with the 17th Pastors for Peace Friendshipment Caravan. As an act of civil disobedience, they challenged the embargo on trade with Cuba by delivering humanitarian aid and by traveling to Cuba openly without a license. Caravanistas, Amanda Paulson, Rebecca Cowan, Sandino Gomez, Larry and Violet Puretz, Sandee Scott and Nancy Abbey visited hospitals, schools, museums, agricultural co-ops, and cultural events during a week's stay in Havana and other provinces in Western Cuba. A highlight of the trip was getting to know some young hip hop artists in Havana who shared their music and views with the young Caravanistas.

Cuba Update: What’s Next?
The event on August 23rd will provide an opportunity to discuss US policy on Cuba with Congressman Farr, to hear the Caravanistas’ observations from their trip, and to consider how we can enhance our current sister county relationship with Guamá Municipio in Cuba and initiate a friendship city within our sister county.

Time/Date: 7:30pm August 23, 2006
Location: Harvey West Clubhouse, 326 Evergreen Street, off Coral Street in Santa Cruz
Admission Free
Public Contact: Nancy Abbey, 465-8272, nabbey [at]
Sponsors: Cuba Study Group of Santa Cruz county, Alliance of Guamá, Cuba and Santa Cruz County, and the Santa Cruz Sister City Committee
Added to the calendar on Thu, Aug 10, 2006 2:32PM
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