Tuesday May 29, 2012 Jorge Hernandez Martinez and Raul Rodriguez gave a talk at SIUE about the history and politics of the United States relationship with Cuba titled “US Cuba Relations before and Beyond the Cold War.” Through the lecture the two University of Havana professors attempted to inform SIUE faculty and the public about the complexity of US Cuban relations both in the past and into modern day. The focal point of the lecture was the fifty year embargo on Cuba looking at how it came into being and the current political tensions surrounding it. Emphasis was placed on the need for better channels of communication between the leaders of the two countries, something that is at a stand still largely due to the US regarding the Cuban government as a rogue state even after sixty years.
“At the beginning of the nineteen nineties when people started to say that the cold was over some people thought that it would end,” Martinez explained, “It was opposite we came from a cold war to a colder war.”
Martinez and Rodriguez are both part of the delegation from the University of Havana who visited last Tuesday and Wednesday. The visit was was part of the ongoing effort between the University of Havana and SIUE to establish an international exchange program.
“We’re hoping for a long term relationship,” said Rodriguez in regard to the exchange efforts, “despite the political differences it is possible to move ahead.”
Holder of a Phd in sociology, and possessing over 25 years of Research experience Martinez specilizes in the study of ideologies particularly in regard immigration and US foreign policy. Rodriguez specializes in the study of history with a focus on US Cuban relations. Also accompanying them as part of the delegation was Luis Rene Fernandez-Tablo professor of economics, who gave a lecture on the complications of doing business with Cuba.
Apart from their lectures the delegation spent their time at SIUE touring the facilities, meeting with local media, and meeting with university officials to further the exchange process.