Cuba

Courtesy of Vincentian Collaborative System

On today's program: Pittsburgh Public superintendent Anthony Hamlet looks ahead to a new semester; volunteers clean up illegal dumps in Allegheny County; panthers once ruled Pennsylvania; and a new program trades tech skills for free residency in a unique, intergenerational community.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

On today’s program: Pittsburgh Public Schools superintendent Anthony Hamlet talks about district transformation and his take on a contraversial trip to Cuba; DNA testing kits illuminate lost branches of family trees, but may not tell the full story; and one year after his death, Antwon Rose II’s classmates remember him, followed by a conversation about community healing and changes in policy and policing.

Yo Ho Ho! Pennsylvania Aims To Smash US Embargo On Cuban Rum

May 1, 2017
Ramon Espinosa / AP

Pennsylvania's Cuban rum run got its start in a chance meeting last fall in the parking lot in front of the state Capitol.

"'You know, we have rum,'" a visiting Cuban government liaison told state Sen. Chuck McIlhinney, who was walking to his car when he was introduced to her as the senator whose committee oversees how alcohol is sold in Pennsylvania. "And I'm like, 'Yeah, we should buy some.'"

Editor's Note: This story was originally published on Sept. 27, 2016, and is being republished with minor updates following the death of Cuba's Fidel Castro.

How's this for historical coincidence: Fidel Castro and his rag-tag fighters assembled in Mexico, navigated an overcrowded boat to Cuba, and unleashed a 1956 insurgency that spawned countless imitators in the decades that followed. On Thursday, Colombia and the FARC rebels signed a deal to end the last major leftist uprising in Latin America — one day before Castro died.

Looking At The Future Of Our Relationship With Cuba

Mar 22, 2016
Rebecca Blackwell / AP Images

Calvin Coolidge was the last U. S. President to visit Cuba over 90 years ago. Sunday, Air Force One touched down in Havana beginning President Obama’s historic trip to the Caribbean nation. Joining us to discuss how this trip could affect the future of U.S. and Cuban relations are Kenya Dworkin y Mendez, Carnegie Mellon University Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies & Scott Morgenstern, associate professor of political science at the University of Pittsburgh.

Penn State Students To Make Historic Trip To Cuba

Nov 19, 2015
Penn State

The Penn State men’s baseball team will make history the week of Thanksgiving when it travels to Cuba to play against teams from the Cuban National Series.  It will be the first time a U.S.-based team at any level has played against teams from the country’s premiere baseball series. 

The group making the trip includes fewer than fifty players, coaches, and staff, along with eight sports journalism students from the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism.

Encouraging Pittsburgh Businesses To 'Get To Know' Cuba

Aug 11, 2015
halbag / flickr

 

Last May, Mayor Peduto led a delegation of Pittsburgh businesspersons to Cuba. The goal of the trip was to lay the groundwork to establish business relationships between the Steel City and Cuba. What could this mean for the city’s economic outlook? We’ll ask President of Molimar Export Consultants Inc.  Pamela Martin who organized the Pittsburgh delegation that traveled to Pittsburgh.

Ralph Vituccio / Andreas Tapia-Urzua

Once the doors to Cuba opened, a couple of local college professors charged on through.

Ralph Vituccio, an assistant teaching professor at the Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) and an award-winning filmmaker and documentarian, talks about co-hosting and co-presenting an interactive video art installation at the 2015 Havana International Biennale this summer. Joining Vituccio as the only American exhibitor was his colleague Andreas Tapia-Urzua, chair of the Digital Media Department at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. They join us to talk about their trip to Cuba and the reaction their work received.

Mayor Bill Peduto is in Cuba this week along with Pittsburgh-area manufacturing leaders in the hopes of establishing Pittsburgh as a trade partner with the island nation, should Congress lift the embargo between the two countries.

The Berlin Wall fell 25 years ago, an event which marked the symbolic ending to the Cold War. But you wouldn’t know it looking at the relationship between the United States and Cuba, who continued the mid-20th century conflict well into the 21st.

That was until President Obama announced on December 17 that the United States was taking steps to change its relationship with Cuba and ease restrictions on travel and commerce.

These steps will obviously have an enormous effect on the island nation, about 90 miles off the coast of the U.S. But it will also have an effect on many parts of the United States, including Pittsburgh.

Kenya Dworkin y Mendez, the Cuban-born associate professor of Hispanic Studies at Carnegie Mellon University and Scott Morgenstern, the associate professor of political science at the University of Pittsburgh discussed the matter on today’s Essential Pittsburgh.

For Two Cuban Dancers, a New Life in the U.S.

Jul 24, 2014
Chris Squier / 90.5 WESA

It’s early on a sunny summer morning and Damien Martinez Coro is leading a group of young ballerinas through a rigorous dance routine at the Ballet Academy of Pittsburgh. 

As he moves through the studio, he keeps time by snapping his fingers while yelling commands and adjusting the girls’ forms.

The dance school in Bethel Park is a far reach from his hometown of Matanzas, Cuba.