Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Citizen Diplomats Heading 'To Cuba with Love'

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Citizen Diplomats Heading 'To Cuba with Love'

Article excerpt

On Feb. 8 I will join 150 U.S. "citizen diplomats" for a Valentine's Day delegation to Cuba aptly named "To Cuba With Love" hosted by CodePink to experience firsthand how Cubans view the recent U.S. overtures to re-establish diplomatic relations and other areas of bilateral cooperation.

Besides myself and Thomas Merton Award winner Medea Benjamin, our delegation will include some of our nation's most dynamic activists from the Cuba solidarity movement and peace and justice, environmental, health care and LGBTQ communities as well as representatives from Ferguson, Mo., and "Black Lives Matter!"

We will meet with the highest levels of government officials, the "Cuban 5" released from U.S. prisons, doctors combating Ebola in Africa, religious leaders and entrepreneurs about new business possibilities and cultural, economic, environmental, educational, agricultural and health care issues. We will also visit Pittsburgh's sister city and Pennsylvania's sister province, Matanzas.

I have been just one of many Pittsburghers engaged with Cuban- U.S. issues for decades. Pittsburgh has many mutually constructive links with Cuban counterparts, including our sister city, Pittsburgh- Matanzas Sister City Partnership, Global Links, University of Pittsburgh, Semester at Sea and other local institutions built over several decades in solidarity with the people of Cuba, suffering under a misguided policy that has been a curse on all our houses.

I can be contacted at LisaCubaSi@aol.com for information about our Cuba work or to share my experiences with your group. Find more information at codepink.org/cuba.

LISA VALANTI

President

U.S.- Cuba Sister Cities Association

Carrick

Children's champion

It was with deep interest that I read the article updating how the children who came to America following the 2010 Haitian earthquake were doing ("At Home, in Pittsburgh," Jan. 11). The care of these children by the McMutrie sisters, coupled with their profound compassion for how children wind up in institutionalized care, remains very impactful. …

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