Major League Baseball authorities are closely following the agreement reached by Cuba and the United States to re-establish diplomatic relations, though the embargo will continue to prevent Cuban baseball players from reaching the league in a normal, straightforward way.
I recently had the pleasure of participating – albeit in a rather accidental fashion – in the Oncology Congress held at the Havana Convention Center this year. This scientific gathering is one of Cuba’s most important anti-cancer events in our country.
The rapprochement between Washington and Havana was facilitated by the Vatican. Both Barack Obama and Raul Castro underscored the fundamental role that Pope Francis, who is becoming an international political actor beyond his duties as the leader of the Catholic Church, played as mediator in negotiations.
Today we bring you a one hour special program analyzing the announcements on Wednesday by US President Obama and Cuba’s Raul Castro on the results of secret talks held for months by the two administrations with assistance from Pope Francis.
We bring you below the specific measures taken by President Obama and portions of his speech delivered live. Later today we will bring you the simultaneous speech made by Raul Castro regarding the changes in US policy and the prisoner exchange.
There have indeed been many bizarre, improbable, almost credibility-stretching games played in the Cuban League over the past half-century of “revolutionary” baseball. And now this past week still another oddball event – again a walk-off home run of the most unlikely and unprecedented variety – has staked its claim for a spot atop the growing inventory of classic Cuban League baseball oddities.
For ten days, audiences in Havana enjoyed the stories and characters of the films and documentaries screened at the Havana Film Festival. During these intense days, some felt shock, others anger and yet others empathy. Some suffered and no few had a good laugh. It was a festival for all tastes. When the award-winning films were announced, most spectators already had their own, personal awards list ready.
It felt as though Cuba was aiming to secure a first place at the Olympic Games or a seat in the UN Security Council – but they were merely the 2014 Veracruz Central American and Caribbean Games. The tension felt during the competition could be felt both on the island and the host country.
Today, we approach the new generation keeping the music legacy of a legendary Cuban band alive – a band currently directed by Esteban Bravo. “With those instruments alone, they made the entire world dance.”
Nelson Valdes is a young folk musician from Cienfuegos. His albums include A la mitad del mundo (“To Half of the World”, recorded live and produced by the Hermanos Saiz Association in 2008) and Besitos de escalera (“Stairwell Kisses”, produced by the label Colibri).