Cuba is only 90 miles from the Florida coast but it sometimes feels as if it’s much farther away. While travel restrictions between the United States and Cuba have eased in recent years, their relationship over the last five decades is far from close.
A small group of students from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville just returned from a 10 day visit to Cuba under an educational arrangement between SIUE and the University of Havana. Harvard University is the only other institution to take advantage of such an opportunity under the initiative.
Host Don Marsh talked with two associate deans in the College of Arts and Sciences at SIUE, Wendy Shaw and Larry LaFond. Both Shaw and LaFond accompanied the four students on the trip, including SIUE undergraduate Roberto Saenz, who also joined Marsh to talk about the trip.
Along with two days of lectures at the University of Havana and a meeting with the University Students Federation, the group’s itinerary included:
- Touring Old Havana and the Morro Castle
- Visiting the Museum of the Revolution and the Community Project of the Office of the Historian in San Isidro
- Visiting the town of Regia, the Church of the Black Virgin and the Morro Fortress
- Visiting the Cabilda Quisicuaba to learn about Cuba’s Afro-syncretic religions
- Visiting the central city of Matanzas, the Pharmacy Museum and hand-made book publishers
- Visiting Santa Clara, explore Revolutionary War memorabilia and the Che Memorial