Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute

Tulane University

CCSI Director Dr. Ana Lopez Speaks with Local News about Recent Cuban Policy Changes

December 18th, 2014

Dr. Ana Lopez, the director of Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute, speaks about recent policy changes and relations with Cuba.

No es fácil.

The last thing I ever imagined I would hear in a formal speech by President Obama.

The past 50 years have not been “fáciles.” Too many lives lost, opportunities squandered, families divided and divorced from their heritage. I consider myself lucky that through my academic work I have been able to reencounter the island is myriad ways and multiple times, that I have as many good friends in Cuba as I do in the U.S., that I consider myself Cuban even though I don’t live there.

I am hopeful that President Obama’s and Raul Castro’s historic meeting of the minds– some have likened it to the fall of the Berlin Wall – will be productive for both sides. That it was announced on the day Cubans celebrate Saint Lazarus, San Lázaro o Babalú-Aye, has not gone unnoticed and could not be simply a coincidence. Certainly, Raul Castro surely knew the significance of the day, as do all Cubans. Maybe with the blessing of Babalú-Aye we can finally move past the Cold War posturing and into a 21st century in which trade embargos simply make no sense.

Changes have been occurring in Cuba, albeit slowly. If we want to encourage further and more significant changes, the best way to do so is to engage Cubans directly, through exchanges, exposure, and, yes also, consumption.

The embargo did not work 50 years ago and is not working today. Enough.

Watch her interview with New Orleans local news station WWL here: http://www.wwltv.com/videos/news/politics/2014/12/17/20561497/

Listen to her comments with local NPR-affiliate public radio station WWNO here: http://wwno.org/post/cuba-policy-change-draws-praise-and-anger-0

Ana Lopez and Carolina Caballero quoted the Times-Picayune’s website nola.com New U.S.-Cuba relationship leaves New Orleanians alternately anxious, overjoyed

Ana Lopez featured on local NBC affiliate WDSU Reactions mixed to Obama’s announcement on Cuban-American relations