Tuesday, November 9, 2010

More on Academic Freedom: Soy de La Florida, pero Viva Nueba Yol!

Defend freedom of travel and academic freedom in Cuba... and in La Florida!

As readers of El Yuma will already know, I'm from the "Panhandle," aka Florida's Redneck Riviera. Me and Joe Scarborough both.  (Believe it or not, Morning Joe was my high school football coach!)

I have long advocated for Cubans' right to travel freely within their own country and abroad without the interference of Big Brother. My blogger colleague and friend Yoani Sanchez has been denied this right (along with many other Cubans who refuse to "behave") now something like 8 consecutive times.

On the positive side, both the Cuban and U.S. governments have recently allowed an encouraging surge in academic and artistic travel and exchange, especially with the recent jazz, ballet (and here), and philharmonic visits by American companies to Cuba and with the recent arrival of the critical underground hip-hop acts "Los Aldeanos" and Silvito "El Libre" to Miami for a concert this coming Sunday (ojala que lleguen a Nueba Yol!)

However, it turns out that if you are an academic working at a Florida state school, you cannot use any monies that pass through the hands of Big Brother to travel to or do research in Cuba.

As a (usually) proud American, I believe it is we who should be giving an example of freedom to Cuba, not Cuba who should set the standards of control and limitation for us to imitate.  Here is a letter to President Obama from a host of U.S. academic institutions (including my alma mater Tulane University) posted at Cafe Fuerte asking for greater legal authority to carry out academic exchanges with Cuba.

So, though I'm proud to be from Florida, I'm happy to be living in and employed by the State of New York (even with our looming budget crisis).

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