Abigail Eck, Opinions Editor
Augsburg hosted the fall meeting for the National Network on Cuba during the weekend of Oct. 19-21. As a special event after a long Saturday of meetings and reports, the NNOC hosted an evening of music and dance in solidarity with Cuba, including a special presentation by Miguel Fraga — the First Secretary of the Cuban Embassy — with Latin music and dance performed by the Charanga Tropical Band.
This event was sponsored by the MN Cuba Committee, the Augsburg Spanish Department and the National Network on Cuba and Witness for Peace.
After the moderator, Professor August Nimtz of the Minnesota Cuba Committee, gave a short introduction, Fraga gave his presentation. He outlined the importance of Cuban-American relations and solidarity in the face of our current political situation as well as the necessity of support for our Cuban-American citizens. “We need a better world,” he stated. “It’s not only about Cuba. It’s about people, about human beings, about opportunities for cooperation. We need to work together.”
Fraga linked this idea of cooperation to the discussions of immigration within the current political administration: particularly, the fact that they are extremely negative and harmful for our immigrant citizens, friends and family. In clear contradiction to the negative narrative circulating in regard to Cuba, Fraga used a key example of good U.S.–Cuba relations: the Ebola Crisis, in which the U.S. and Cuba were key combatants in the fight against the virus, joined together to create positive change in those communities affected by it. “So,” Fraga asked, “why can’t we do this in everyday life?” In the midst of the controversies over immigration and the closing of borders, why can we not simply embrace what each country and citizen has to offer, rather than covering it up with excuses regarding job security and reverse-racism? The American administration has restricted travel to and business with Cuba for reasons that could take another lecture (or a book) to discuss. However, this can possibly be pinned down through one question Fraga asks:
In this situation, who is the one that is really afraid?
In a world filled with distrust between citizens and countries, global conflicts and environmental catastrophes, global connections are increasingly important. “Victory is only possible,” Fraga states, “if you keep fighting.” Fighting for freedom, fighting for rights and fighting for a global peace that we have seen in glances and are striving to achieve. Cuba has never surrendered, and neither should we.
Even though he only spoke for about half an hour, this presentation led to an effective, powerful set up for what followed: people of the community — students and faculty, young and old, Americans and Cubans — joining together for a night of song and dance, solidarity and freedom in the face of the current political scares for immigrants and their loved ones. If peace, love and human connection can be achieved in our dancing and music of the here and now, there is no reason why it can’t be achieved on the national and global level. Through these moments of solidarity, we can truly achieve human connection and peace between nations.
This article was originally published in the Nov. 2, 2018 issue.