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Issues and Voices that Matter November 8, 2012

The Cuban Spirit

The Cuban Spirit (photo - Gabriel Bulla)

The Cuban Spirit is alive and well as the United States enters a new phase in Cuban-American relations.  Members of a delegation sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Florida traveled to Cuba to gain insight into our island neighbor.  These “Sisters Across the Straits” discuss their experiences and observations of Cuban society . (Length 21:52 )

(Produced, reported and edited by Desta Horner)


The 25 members of the delegation spent a week in October 2012 visiting rural areas and the cities of Cienfuegos and Havana. The Sisters Across the Straits program holds a special license from the U.S. government to take League of Women Voters members to the island to learn about the Cuba’s history, culture and society and to forge relationships with civic organizations especially women’s groups, academic experts and ordinary Cuban citizens. The hope is that these visits will improve mutual understanding after decades of isolation and distrust between the U.S. and Cuba. The delegations are led by League Director and former state Representative Annie Betancourt. Ms. Betancourt left Cuba at the age of 13 when the Castro regime gained power. There have been 8 trips so far and she has developed personal contacts within Cuban society and the academic community which ensures the success of the visits.

The itinerary included visits with the women’s groups, professors from the University of Havana, a farm coop in the south, the southern city of Cienfuegos, visit to Bay of Pigs, tours of historical and cultural sites in Havana, and conversations with Cuban citizens.

Click here to read a summary of the October trip written by group member Mitzi Austin.

Principal Speakers

Dr. M.C. Santana
Director, Women’s Studies, University of Central Florida
Connie Bennett
group member, Sisters Across the Straits


After you launch the slideshow below, click “Next” and “Previous” to rotate through the photos.

Extended Interviews

Dr. M.C. Santana with Desta Horner
Length – 38:07
Connie Bennett with Desta Horner
Length – 16:36

2 Responses to “The Cuban Spirit”

  1. MC Santana says:

    Thank you for the opportunity to share my views. I made my kids listen to the popcast and they were surprised by some of the information.

  2. Diane Herring says:

    This is a very enlightening story. I had such a different perception of today’s Cuba. I hope the Sisters Across the Straits will be able to continue their travels and the ability to inform and educate.

    Thank you.

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