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Cienfuegos, Cuba

A more recent sister city is Cienfuegos in Cuba. Following a January 2000 delegation led by Cambridge State Representative Jarrett Barrios, a Cuban-American, Cambridge delegates sponsored a series of open community meetings showing slides and sharing their experiences. The interest that was expressed led to the formation of a committee and official passage by the City Council.

A U.S. embargo put in place decades ago has prevented many in the United States from seeing a clear picture of Cuban life. In addition, U.S. restrictions on travel have made it difficult to have a first-hand experience of Cuba or for many who have relationships with Cuban peoples or groups to maintain those relationships.

The establishment of this sister city enabled people to "see for themselves" as well as make up their own mind about the U.S. description of Cuba as a terrorist country or dictatorship. Some in Cambridge are already involved in cultural and educational exchanges related to the arts and schools and want to build on those. Some have been interested in Cuba's health care and educational systems, which have created some of the highest health standards and literacy rates in the world. Others are interested in assessing the state of dissent, freedom, and participation in that country.

The ongoing embargo made it difficult to maintain the relationship, but the thawing of the relationship between the U.S. and Cuba in 2014 and 2015 may mean that it will be revived in the future.

For more information, contact Rena Leib at 617.354.4390

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