The Shaq show came to Havana on Sunday as NBA great Shaquille O'Neal put on a basketball clinic for local youngsters, becoming the latest emissary for American outreach to the people of Cuba. The 2016 Hall of Fame inductee and four-time NBA champion led star-struck kids in layup drills and coached scrimmages while onlookers cheered from the sidelines, part of a U.S. State Department-sponsored visit to foster people-to-people exchanges with Cuban citizens.
Call it the return of basketball diplomacy. The State Department on Friday named hoops legend Shaquille O’Neal the first ever “Sports Envoy to Cuba” and said he’d visit Havana on Saturday to hold basketball clinics for the island nation’s youth. The trip is a part of the Obama administration’s broader effort to increase cultural exchanges between Washington and Cuba after the two nations restored diplomatic ties last year for the first time in five decades.
The coincidental timing of the exhibition at the OAS’s Art Museum of the Americas in Washington may have a healing effect: “In mounting this exhibit, we’re conscious of the value of artistic expression to communicate both the intentions and views of the artists and to speak more generally about social change and political engagement in the hemisphere,” said James M. Lambert, secretary for hemispheric affairs at the OAS.
Texas leaders from a wide range of economic sectors, including a few from Dallas, but mostly from the Houston and Austin areas, came together Thursday to form the Engage Cuba Texas State Council under the Cuban advocacy group Engage Cuba, seeking to end the embargo placed on the sovereign state in 1960. [...] On a personal level, Smith is just as interested in the humanitarian aspect of helping Cuba as the economic aspect.
GBD (global commercial district) Center for Public Diplomacy and Culture Exchange (hereinafter referred to as the Center), a Chinese non-governmental public diplomacy organization in Beijing, has agreed on principle of cooperation for bilateral cultural exchange with Cuban Ministry of Culture. As a result, a program where Cuban art group pays a visit to Beijing and Chinese art group to Havana to perform, will soon be promoted.
Aoury and her friends came to Cuba on a cultural exchange program because it is still illegal for Americans to visit Cuba solely as tourists, and the U.S. maintains the trade embargo on Cuba that has been in place since 1960.
Cuban programming is coming to U.S. airwaves thanks to DISH, the Colorado-based provider with 13.9 million TV subscribers. The company will launch a new channel on Thursday called CUBAMAX TV, which will carry entertainment programming created in Cuba featuring some of the island's most famous celebrities. The channel will not feature any political or news programming, but instead will focus on comedies, children's programming, music videos and telenovelas.
The Ebola virus is expected to be all but gone in Liberia, thanks in large part to the work of Cuban doctors in Africa.