past clasa speakers and events 2015

CLASA Past Events Winter and Fall 2015

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Page 1: Past CLASA speakers and events 2015

CLASA Past Events Winter and Fall 2015

Page 2: Past CLASA speakers and events 2015




Page 3: Past CLASA speakers and events 2015

Winter 2015

See about the book. Visit this site for updates on Guantanamo actions:

CLASA, MCHR, Women’s and Gender Studies Program, St. Peter’s, and Word and World invite you to the McNichols Campus of UDM (at Livernois in Detroit) for:


GROWING INTO REBELLIOUS MOTHERHOOD Monday, February 2, at 7 pm, Life Sciences 113

Parenting is hard. So is being a peacemaker in a violent world. It Runs in the Family is a book about how parents can create lasting and meaningful bulwarks between their kids and the violence endemic in our culture. It posits discipline without spanks or slaps or threats of violence, while considering how to raise thoughtful, compassionate, fearless young people committed to social and political change — without scaring, hectoring or scarring them with all the wrongs in the world. Frida Berrigan is a mother and stepmother, wife and daughter. Her parents, Phil Berrigan and Elizabeth McAlister, were a former priest and nun who became nationwide icons for their prophetic witness against war and nuclear weapons, which sometimes resulted in long jail sentences. Berrigan grew up in the community they helped found, Jonah House in Baltimore, and becoming a parent herself has forced her to come to terms with her own upbringing in new ways. Expanding on the stories in her popular column for the website Waging Nonviolence, Berrigan has crafted a welcome antidote to the various parenting fads currently on offer from French moms and tiger moms and mean moms. She offers a unique perspective on parenting that derives from hard work, deep reflection, and lots of trial and error.

Biography of the speaker: Frida Berrigan serves on the board of The War Resisters League, a 90-year-old pacifist organization, and helped to found Witness Against Torture, a nonviolent direct action group focused on shutting down Guantánamo and ending torture. She long served as a researcher at the New America Foundation’s Arms and Security Initiative in New York City, writing and speaking on the topic of militarism. She lived at the New York Catholic Worker before moving to New London, CT with her husband Patrick Sheehan-Gaumer. Patrick is a social worker, second-generation peace activist and father to their 7-year-old daughter Rosena Jane. Their son Seamus Philip was born in July 2012 and Frida became a stay-at-home mom. Their daughter Madeline Vida was born in February 2014. While the baby naps or plays, she writes the “Little Insurrections” blog for Waging Nonviolence, tends a few plots at the community garden and helps keep a busy household on its toes.


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Phi Alpha Theta

Eben Levey

Organizing for

Democracy and Justice

in Oaxaca, Mexico

Monday, March 16

11 A.M. in Briggs 317

In the early morning hours of June 14th, 2006, Oaxacan state and

municipal police advanced upon the twenty-seventh annual teachers

union plantón (encampment) in an attempted desalojo (eviction).

However, what followed caught everyone by surprise as multitudes

of Oaxacan civil society came forth in support of the striking teachers

union, occupied the public buildings of the capital city, and

transformed a labor issue into a broad-based, cross-class social


In meetings convened by the teachers union, existing

activists and organizations formed a horizontally organized umbrella

social movement organization aptly named la Asamblea Popular de

los Pueblos de Oaxaca (Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca,

APPO). Under the central demand for the resignation of the

Oaxacan Governor, the APPO controlled the streets of Oaxaca City

until the movement was crushed by federal police forces in

November, 2006. This project examines the growing body of

literature on the 2006 movement, supplemented by participant

interviews, to interrogate the inner workings of a diverse social


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To learn more, see the Immigrant Worker Project at The Unaccompanied Migrant Children Resource Kit from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, available at Also see: 10 Ways to welcome the Children at our border from the Catholic Legal Immigration Network at; and a Toolkit for advocating for the rights of unaccompanied children from the Jesuit Refugee Service at

CLASA, HASA and the Ad Hoc Committee for Hispanic Latino Studies at UDM invites you to...

Jeff Stewart, Coordinator of the Immigrant Worker


Speaking on: Unaccompanied Children

Crossing the

U.S. – Mexico Border: A

Humanitarian Crisis

Friday, March 20, 2015

Noon, in Briggs 13

In 2014, over 50,000 children arrived crossing the U.S. from Mexico, fleeing persecution from the organized crime activities in their countries. They have been sent to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Jeff Stewart coordinates the Immigration Worker Project that provides legal representation, social services and advocacy for the new wave of young refugees. These talks will provide the background on what drives these young people to leave their families and countries to seek safe harbor of the United States.

The Immigrant Worker Project is dedicated to the struggle for justice and human dignity for rural immigrant workers

from Latin America. We are an organization that is working toward a future where Economic Democracy and

Communities of Solidarity are achieved for rural immigrants in Ohio. By Economic Democracy we mean a participatory

system in which workers have a meaningful voice in all structures of their economic existence. By Communities of

Solidarity we mean communities where cultural diversity is embraced by institutions of faith, education, social

services and health care. To obtain these goals the Immigrant Worker Project (IWP) empowers community leaders,

creates structures for global education, and advocates for workplace justice. Find out more about the Immigrant

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Ismael Moreno Coto, S.J.

a.k.a. “Padre Melo” Pictured here in front of the Detroit Art Institute, special exhibit on Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo

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While in Detroit, Padre Melo experienced some art treasures at the Detroit Art Inst.

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For more info on Padre Melo and his work:, plus, and

CLASA and HASA invite you to hear...

“Padre Melo” – Ismael Moreno Coto, S.J.

“Consequences of the violence and

insecurity in the psyche of the

Honduran population.”

Tuesday, April 7

4 p.m. in C&F 138

Radio Progreso has been in existence for 50 years, and is

a part of the Catholic Network of Radio Stations, but is

also well known for its independent, progressive and stand

for social justice in Honduras. Padre Melo, the Director of

Radio Progreso, is an outspoken critic of the coup d’etat

of June 28, 2009 and an active participant in the anti-coup

resistance. Radio Progreso has been threatened and was

raided by military troops. Padre Melo and other staff have

been personally threatened. In April 2014, a Radio

Progreso staff member Carlos Mejía Orellana was killed.

At this talk, Padre Melo will describe the crisis and stress

that today's situation of violence, delinquency and misery

provokes in society. From this contemporary crisis he’ll

explore the work that went on in social psychology

regarding the ’80’s in El Salvador, and reflect upon the

need for such a psychology for our time.

Padre Melo with Honduran political prisoner Chavelo.


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WINTER 2015 For more information on the UCA Jesuit Martyrs scholarship fund, see:

Join CLASA, University Ministry, HASA, the Dean of Students Office, Jesuit Community at UDM, and Gesu Peace and Justice Committee for

these special events in memory of Rev. Dean Brackley, S.J.:

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Fundraiser Dinner, 6:45 – 9:10 p.m., Fountain Lounge, Student Center

6:30 p.m.: Find your seats.

6:45 pm Music: Mariachi Juvenil

7 p.m. Pre-dinner talk on the UCA Jesuit Martyrs by

Ismael Moreno Coto, S.J.

“Padre Melo,” Honduran

Human Rights advocate

8:00 p.m. dinner and more music; 8:30 p.m., Report by UDM

and UD Jesuit HS students who went on service trips to El

Salvador; 8:45 p.m., Sharing memories of Dean Brackley, S.J.

Fundraiser dinner for

Dean Brackley S.J.’s

UCA Jesuit Martyrs

Scholarship Fund

To enable Salvadoran

students to attend


Centroamericana (UCA),

the Jesuit University in

El Salvador

Music performers Mariachi Juvenil

Led by Denis Newhouse,

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About Padre Melo Padre Melo (Ismael Moreno Coto, S.J.)

has been (since 2001) the Director of E.R.I.C. (Equipo de Reflexion, Investigacion y Comunicacion - Team for Reflection, Investigation and Communication) and since 2006 has been the director of Radio Progreso. He was born in Progreso, Yoro, Honduras in 1958. Fr. James “Guadalupe” Carney played a major role in encouraging Padre Melo to join the Jesuits. He was ordained in 1989. Since then he has held different posts in Central America including in the Parish of Tocoa in Honduras , and Ixcan in Guatemala . He was the Director of the Office of Apostolic Planning and Secretary of the Provincial Apostolic Council in El Salvador.

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Dean Brackley, founder of the UCA Jesuit Martyrs Scholarship Fund

Dean Brackley, S.J., b. Aug. 9, 1946, d. Oct. 16, 2011, was a Jesuit and

theologian committed to social justice. He volunteered to help take the places

of the slain Jesuits of UCA in 1990, leaving a teaching position at Fordham

University. He had earlier completed his doctorate in theology at University

of Chicago in 1980, and spent ten years working with a church-sponsored

community group called South Bronx People for Change, before teaching at

Fordham. Author of The Call to Discernment in Troubled Times: New

Perspectives on the Transformative Wisdom of Ignatius of Loyola (2004), Fr.

Brackley taught this book and others at the UCA and, on weekends,

ministered in his first years to a rural parish, later to an inner city parish, and

finally to the UCA community, serving as pastor of the UCA parish. He was

the main supporter of this scholarship fund to enable Salvadoran students to

attend UCA.

Dean Brackley, S.J.

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Mariachi Juvenil performed, and Padre Melo shared his memories of the UCA martyrs and Dean Brackley

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Students shared their first-hand experience of El Salvador

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Fr. Rick Cassidy at the fundraiser, with other important supporters of the event, including Si Hendry, S.J., Mary Anne Perrone, Padre Melo…

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HASA students whose support and hard work (bringing and serving pupusas) make the fundraiser possible! We raised $5,000 in 2015!

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FALL 2015

The James Carney Latin American Solidarity Archive (CLASA) and Gesu Peace and Justice Committee is proud to present the following exhibit of :

"Paintings of Latin America"

By artist Don Voelker

"Donaldo" (Michigan, USA and

Costa Rica, Central America)

Estero de Puntarenas no. 2, Costa Rica

University of Detroit Mercy Library, September 2-30, 2015

Reception with the artist, Sunday, Sept. 20, 1-3 p.m. Refreshments.

Library hrs: Mon-Thurs 8 am-10 pm; Fri 8 am-5:30 pm; Sat 9 am-5 pm; Sun 12:30-7 pm. Closed Sep 5-6-7

Free and open to the public. For more info/directions:

Seller of wooden angels, Guatemala Artist's website:

Donald Voelker, a former Michigan resident and former processing archivist for CLASA, has lived in Costa Rica since 2004, where he has devoted himself to painting scenes from his various travels in Central and South America. This exhibit and sale of the artwork, due to generosity of the artist, is a benefit for CLASA and for Sr. Peggy O'Neill's Centro Arte para La Paz in Suchitoto, El Salvador. For more information contact Gail Presbey, 313-993-1124. Venue: Library, 4001 W. McNichols, Detroit 48221.

Finca du Guachapala, Ecuador

Centro Arte para La Paz:

"Van Gogh meets Diego Rivera" – Jance Lentz

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Paintings arrive from Costa Rica…

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The exhibit is displayed…

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The artist, Don Voelker, discusses his artistic process (Sept. 20, 2015)

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Fr. Gilbert explains that the funds from selling

the artwork will go to CLASA and Sr. Peggy’s Centro Arte para la Paz in Suchitoto, El Salvador

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We were able to raise $3,000 The remaining artworks will be sold in upcoming exhibits

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FALL 2015 Hear Fr. Mulligan’s talks on you tube at these addresses:

Pope Francis part one

Pope Francis part two

Pope Francis Part Three

Pope Francis part Four

Oscar Romero’s Beatification

Romero continued at

Come hear…

Joe Mulligan, S.J.

Wed. Sept. 30, LIB 324





AMERICAS 10 a.m.

2. THE




SALVADOR 11 a.m. Fr. Mulligan will present an

introduction to the life and prophetic

teachings of Blessed Oscar Romero and will

also discuss the significance and impact of his


ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Fr. Mulligan is a

Jesuit priest of the Chicago-Detroit Province

who has been working with the Christian Base

Communities of Nicaragua since 1986. He

also has a ministry to the sick and to people

with disabilities. He is the author of The

Nicaraguan Church and the

Revolution (1991) and Jesuit Martyrs of El

Salvador (1994).

Programs are free and open to the public, and are held at UDM’s McNichols Campus, 4001 W McNichols (at Livernois),

Detroit, MI 48221. This event is sponsored by the James Carney Latin American Solidarity Archive (CLASA), the Jesuit

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FALL 2015 Jesse Freeston Film maker

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FALL 2015

See the film trailer at:


Wed., September 30, 7 p.m.

Film, “Resistancia: The Fight for

the Aguan Valley” (2014)

Briggs 317, UDM McNichols campus

Talk by the filmmaker,

Jesse Freeston

In 2009, the first coup d'etat in a generation in Central America overthrows the elected president of Honduras. A nation-wide movement, known simply as The Resistance, rises in opposition. Resistencia: The Fight for the Aguan Valley centers on the most daring wing of the movement, the farmers of the Aguan. Not satisfied with just marching and blocking highways, 2000 landless families take possession of the palm oil plantations of Miguel Facusse, the country's largest landowner and a key player in the coup. The camera follows three farmers over four years as they build their new communities on occupied land, in the face of the regime's violent response, while waiting for the elections The Resistance hopes will restore the national democratic project.

Follow Blanca Espinoza, a leader of the campesino Resistance movement, who has worked to reclaim land stolen from

her community.

Meet Orvelina, who has challenged the rich large landowner, Miguel Facusse,

asking, whose land is it, really?!

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FALL 2015

Join CLASA to hear a talk

…on the McNichols Campus of UDM

Paige Shell-Spurling

Jorge Parra (President of ASOTRECOL, The

Association of Injured Workers & Ex-Workers of General

Motors Colmotores) with Paige Shell-Spurling (Portland Central

America Solidarity Committee Board Member)

Thurs. Oct. 1, 10 a.m.,

Commerce & Finance Rm. 228

Jorge Parra (above, left) is among hundreds of former GM workers in Colombia who were illegally dismissed from their jobs after suffering

work-related injuries. For the past four years he has led fellow workers in nonviolent protests, including fasting and a tent occupation in front of the U.S. Embassy in Bogota. His organization, ASOTRECOL, is one of ten finalists for the Arcus Center at Kalamazoo College’s 2015 Global Prize for Transformative Social Justice Leadership. Solidarity activist Paige Shell-Spurling will accompany Jorge Parra to translate for him,

and to talk about the movement. She’ll describe making the 10 minute video she created for the Arcus Center Social Justice Award.

To see the video created by organizer Paige Shell-Spurling, click here: To

learn more about the award click here: prize/. See a one hour

documentary about ASOTRECOL at:

This event is sponsored by the James Carney Latin American Solidarity Archive (CLASA), co-

sponsored by Gesu Peace and Justice Committee. Programs are free and open to the public, and are

held at UDM’s McNichols Campus (4001 W McNichols at Livernois). For more info call Director Gail

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Jorge Parra and Paige Shell-Spurling

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FALL 2015

Prof. Dana Frank

"The Disaster of Human Rights

and U.S. Policy in Post-Coup


Thurs., October 22, 2015

11:20 a.m. in Pres Dining Rm

Dana Frank is Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her books include Bananeras: Women Transforming the Banana Unions of Latin America which focuses on Honduras; and Three Strikes: Miners, Musicians, Salesgirls, and the Fighting Spirit of Labor's Last Century, with Robin D.G. Kelley and Howard Zinn. Since the 2009 coup she has published articles on human rights and U.S. policy in Honduras in the New York Times, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Politico Magazine, Miami Herald, Los Angeles Times, The Nation, World Politics Review, The Baffler, and many other publications; been interviewed by the Washington Post, Associated Press, ABC/Fusion, BBC World News, National Public Radio, and other outlets; and testified before the U.S. House of Representatives, the Canadian Parliament, and the California State Assembly. She has worked very closely with the Sisters of Mercy in Washington, D.C. on Honduras policy in Congress, and with Radio Progreso and Padre Melo (Ismael Moreno, S.J.) in Honduras.

Since the 2009 military coup that deposed democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya, Honduras has degenerated into a human rights disaster. Security forces commit vast human rights abuses with impunity. Indigenous and Afro-Indigenous communities have their land rights and labor rights threatened. Current President Juan Orlando Hernández backed the coup, and has overthrown part of the Supreme Court and illegally named his own attorney general. His National Party stole tens, perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars from the national health service to pay for his election, while thousands of Hondurans have died as a result of the health system's bankruptcy. People are taking to the streets en masse to demand his resignation; yet the Obama Administration continues to celebrate Hernández as a virtuous strongman, and sends funds to the country's security forces, under the pretext of addressing the issue of immigration of undocumented children to the U.S. This talk will analyze current dynamics in Honduras, including the human rights crisis, U.S. policy, and social movements seeking to restore the rule of law and bring social justice to Honduras.

Prof. Dana Frank reporting from Honduras

Programs are free and open to the public, and are held at UDM’s McNichols Campus, 4001 W McNichols (at Livernois), Detroit, MI 48221. This event is sponsored by the James Carney Latin American Solidarity Archive (CLASA), and co-sponsored by Gesu Peace and Justice Committee. The President’s Dining Room is on the 2nd floor of the Student ctr. For more info call Director Gail Presbey, 313-993-1124 or <[email protected]>. You may want to check for updates including ADDITIONAL SPEAKERS on our website at:

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FALL 2015

Berta EsperanzaAlvarez Martens

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Prof. Berta on our campus… With student, Joseph Jordan

With faculty, Ann Eskridge and Rosemary Weatherston

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FALL 2015


We invite you to attend these two

presentations in anticipation of International Education Week

“Fernando Ortiz and the Afro-Cuban movement”

Tuesday, Nov. 3, at 7:30 p.m. in the Presidents Dining Room Fernando Ortiz Fernández (1881-1969) is considered the third discoverer of Cuba. He popularized Cuban cultural identity as based on a wide variety of ethnicities. He introduced the term “transculturation” (merging cultures) as an alternative to “acculturation”. His book “El engaño de las razas” (“The deception of races”) emerged as a classic for the struggle against racism.

Dr. Berta Esperanza Álvarez Martens

“The role of Cuban women during the last 50 years of Revolution” Wednesday, November 4, 2015

7 p.m., President’s Dining Room Cuban women played leading roles throughout Cuban history, such as during the national independence war, as well as in different spheres such as education and culture. From 1959, Cuban women became involved in social transformations. Being socially active became part of women’s gender identity. This emphasis on praxis modified the political, familial and professional contexts of women’s lives. Cuban women became transformed and revolutionized their way of thinking.

Our speaker, Dr. Berta Esperanza Álvarez Martens has taught for over fifty years, with thirty of those years being at University of Havana. Her PhD is in History and Philosophy, and she has taught and given public lectures on Cuban historiography, with a focus on women’s issues. She has a special connection to University of Detroit Mercy because her son, Alejandro (right in photo) was the tour guide/ educator for our university’s international educational experience in Cuba, correlated with our course in Spanish Culture (offered by Ann Eskridge). Our students, faculty and alums met her this past May and strongly wanted to bring her here. Programs are free and open to the public, and are held at UDM’s McNichols Campus, 4001 W McNichols (at Livernois), Detroit, MI 48221. This event is sponsored by the James Carney Latin American Solidarity Archive (CLASA), the Language and Cultural Training Department, and Gesu Peace and Justice Committee; and the Wed eve event is co-sponsored by the

Women’s and Gender Studies Program (WGS). Prof. Berta will also participate in the panel, “The Importance of U.S. – Cuban Cultural Exchange Programs,” Wed. Nov. 4, at noon, in Library 324. These events are part of International Education Week events, sponsored by the LCT Dept and the International Services Office. For more info call Director Gail Presbey, 313-993-1124 or <[email protected]>. Check for updates including ADDITIONAL SPEAKERS on our website at:

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The Wed. afternoon panel discussed cultural exchange. Lara Wasner described UDM’s educational programs in Cuba, while Alan Kaufman discussed involving Cuban chess players in the Michigan Chess tournament.

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The panel discusses the situation in Cuba today and how U.S. students can benefit by experiencing and studying Cuba

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FALL 2015


Language and

Cultural Training

Department and the

International Services

Office to hear a talk

…on the McNichols

Campus of UDM, “Second

Wednesday series Jason LaFay

Prof. Berta

"The Importance of U.S. – Cuban

Cultural Exchange Programs,"

Wednesday, November 4, 2015, at

noon, in Library 324.

Dr. Berta Esperanza Álvarez Martens has taught for over fifty years, with thirty of those years being at University of Havana. Her PhD is in History and Philosophy, and she has

taught and given public lectures on Cuban historiography, with a focus on women’s issues. In addition to offering courses on Cuban historiography at the University of Havana and in the major College San Geronimo branch of the Havanian City Historian Office, she has also offered courses in Mexico and lectures in Spain and Venezuela. She has also taught American students from 2001-2004. She has earned the Frank Pais medal (for education) and has been recognized for collaborating more than 15 years with Casa de Altos Estudios Don Fernando Ortiz.

Jason LaFay teaches English and Sociology at DeWitt High School. He is co-founder of the DeWitt Creativity Group ( The DCG’s goal is to change the

culture of high schools in America by promoting student creativity, in connection with public service, lifelong learning and entrepreneurism. They are seeking K-12 level cultural and academic exchanges with Cuba, so that more U.S. students can honestly and fairly evaluate the Cuban revolution. He will speak on the role of youth during Cuba’s Mass Literacy Campaign and the Great Sugar Cane Harvests. He wants to encourage the mobilization of young people for economic development purposes, and will discuss what this mobilization might look like in the United States and how a US-Cuba exchange may tie into this.

Alan Kaufman is the organizer of the Michigan Chess Festival “Friendship Games,” held in Dearborn earlier this month. He was instrumental in bringing star chess players

from Cuba to compete in the event, including Yuniesky Quesada-Preez, Cuba's #3 player, and in the top 100 chess players in the world; Isan Ortiz, Cuba's #4 player and the current champion; Lisandra Ordaz-Valdez, the #1 woman chess player, and grandmasters Carlos Hevia, Sandro Pozo and Reinaldo Vera. Until recently the participation of Cuban players would have been impossible. Kaufman will give a report of the experience he had organizing the Friendship Games.