U.S.-Cuban relations in spotlight for speaker

For more than 50 years Americans have looked at Cuba as a political pariah, ruled by a despot whose views were anathema to our way of life — but which produced great cigars and kept classic cars on the road. A Cuban speaker coming to Merrimack through the Witness for Peace New England fall tour hopes to broaden that perspective.

Ariel Dacal Diaz will talk about U.S.-Cuba relations from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in Cascia Hall. He comes to the college through the Witness for Peace organization.

“Students, faculty, staff, and our surrounding community will get to see, through Ariel’s lecture, Cuba-U.S. relations from a Cuban perspective,” said associate professor Luis Saenz de Viguera.

The political landscape shifted dramatically this year when President Obama resumed limited political ties and opened an embassy in Havana in August.

Still, says Saenz de Viguera, “Much, if not most, of media discourse on Cuba has been mediated by the interests of the U.S. government, as well as influenced by the important Cuban-American community, which is the third largest Latino community in the U.S.”

Saenz de Viguera organized the event as director of the Social Justice Program,which is co-sponsoring the event with World Languages and Cultures DepartmentDean of Liberal Arts Kathleen Tiemann, the Political Science Department, the Sociology Department, the Women and Gender Studies Program, the Honors Program, and International Studies.

Diaz educates social activists in the fields of community engagement and organization; and has worked internationally on issues of power, participation, and gender, Saenz de Viguera said.

The talk should offer the Merrimack community a different way to think about cooperation, sustainability, and fairness, since a significant part of Diaz’s work has dealt with the viability and potential of cooperative initiatives both within Cuba as well as abroad, he said.

“All in all, my hope is that Ariel will provide us with the beginning of a conversation that should prove to be productive and enriching,” Saenz de Viguera said.

Diaz will be the third speaker to visit Merrimack through the Witness for Peace New England organization. Previous speakers included the Rev. Padre Melo, S.J., of Honduras, and the Rev. Joe Mulligan, of Chicago, who has spent most of his ministry working in Nicaragua.

They also discussed the social, political, and economic realities from those countries.



Related News

Headshot of Abby O'Keefe

Student Spotlight: Abby O'Keefe '24

By: Lauren Pardue
Graphic Design major Abby O’Keefe and her design internship with the O’Brien Center at Merrimack College
Students performing onstage at Rogers Center for the Arts

VPA Announces Its Spring 2023 Calendar of Events

By: Dan Vlahos
The Department of Visual and Performing Arts presents its spring 2023 exhibitions, senior capstones, and performance lineup. Enjoy unique exhibits in the McCoy Gallery, as well as performances in the Rogers Center.
new res halls

Merrimack College Presents Plans for New Residence Halls

By: Joseph O'Connell
Merrimack representatives went before the North Andover, Mass Planning Board to detail two new buildings that feature student housing and classroom spaces at the intersection of Rt. 114 and Andover Street.