Great news! The U.S. government has granted a visa to Silvio Rodríguez, a Cuban musical icon and founding member of Cuban Nueva Trova, so that he can perform in the United States. Rodríguez was persona non-grata in the U.S. for decades and was unable to attend a tribute to folk legend Pete Seeger last summer when his visa was not processed in time.
To its credit, the Obama Administration has been much better about granting visas to artists and intellectuals from Cuba.
Last year, the CDA worked to gain entry for Carlos Varela to the U.S., where he met with musical counterparts, policy-makers and American and Cuban-American fans. We also got to see Cuban academic Rafael Hernández, who taught at the University of Texas, Omara Portuondo, who became first Cuban national on stage at the Latin Grammys, Cuban meteorologist José Rubiera, who attended a conference on environmental cooperation in New Orleans, and several other Cubans who were allowed to visit the United States for the first time in a decade. Of course, the Obama administration also helped make it possible for Juanes to host his Paz sin Fronteras (Peace without Borders) concert in Havana.
Our hope is that culture, academia and science will not just be a bridge between the U.S. and Cuba, but a pathway that will lead to more opportunities – for cultural, scientific, medical, academic and environmental cooperation – ultimately leading to everyday Americans and Cubans being allowed to travel back and forth without restrictions.
If you support free travel between the U.S. and Cuba, please help us push HR 4645, the Travel Restriction Reform and Export Enhancement Act, through Congress.
This bill will facilitate food sales to Cuba and end travel restrictions on all Americans to Cuba. A vote could be imminent and Congress needs to hear from us…now is the moment! Please call your Member of Congress and say you would like him or her to support HR 4645. Talking points and resources are available here. Also, please feel free to contact us with questions.
We congratulate Silvio Rodríguez and look forward to hearing his music en vivo in the U.S. this summer and again in Cuba in the near future!
-The Cuba Central Team