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Washington DC - Habana Sister City project out of Howard University

Framers' Meeting Report: 4/16

National Framer's  Meeting of US-CUBA Sister Cities Association, 3/19 - 3/21

Sept '98 US Cuba Sister Cities meeting

The City of Matanzas

Links

US-CUBA SISTER CITY ASSOCIATION (USCSCA)
www.uscsca.org

This remarkable program has worked very well in developing reciprocal ties between several US cities and their counterparts in Cuba.  The program has been well received in both countries and is now undergoing considerable expansion.

The very first sister city was between Mobile, Alabama, and Havana.  Pittsburgh, its City Council and other institutions, developed one with Matanzas, a hemispheric cradle of African culture located 100 km east of Havana, and its institutions.  Another project has been the Madison - Camaguey Sister City relationship, also with positive results.  An expansion of this effort is under way for other Cuban and American cities - as of September '99, nine have been formed and more are in process. 

A crucial meeting took place March '99 in Pittsburgh to form the US-CUBA Sister City Association. This meeting was an important first step in the process of broadening the exchange with Cuba. In the Matanzas – Pittsburgh relationship, Lisa Valenti has been developing plans with Matanzas for a focus on the rich culture and history of the Province of Matanzas from an African perspective. This kind of work is much needed and helps validate the strong living legacy from Africa that has had to struggle against impossible odds to survive.

At the Pittsburgh meeting from March 19-21, Felix Wilson attended. He is an AfroCuban who is Second Chief at the Cuban Interests Section in Washington. Also in attendance were representatives from 9 cities who were then forming relationships. Alberto Jones, Director of the Caribbean American Children’s Foundation, attended -- he is a member of the West Indian Welfare Society, a 52 year old organization in the Cuban city of Guantanamo.

Waiting in the wings are some 40 other cities who are looking at implementing Sister City relationships now that the structure has been worked out.

As the US moves to reduce the embargo and employ "kinder and gentler" forms of warfare to dominate the island, the Sister Cities project is viewed as an important counterbalance that affirms the rights of Cuban city governments to exist and be treated with respect. Sister City relationships in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala helped raise consciousness around the US sponsored violence there and helped end its funding. The slow motion violence that is the embargo is no less deadly -- serious food shortages are expected immanently, partly as a result of the Thrips Palmi infestation traced to a US overflight in 1996.

The Sister City structure is open and inclusive while respecting Cuba’s sovereignty, but it will only work if there is broad based participation. The organizers are especially interested in getting participation from the African American community in the wake of the visits to Cuba by TransAfrica and the Congressional Black Caucus.

Please think of folks who might be interested in this project. This is a  really innovative approach, one which can really help broaden the base of support for Cuba’s beleaguered people, over 70% of whom are of African descent.

Cuban spies continue to exploit 'Sister City' program  8/9/2009 Washington Times: by Chris Simmons


Upcoming meetings in Havana, Cuba,  and Madis

on, WI, with update, 3/22

The US-Cuba Sister Cities Association is sponsoring two upcoming events in May and June of 2000, of which we hope you will be a part to help strengthen and expand your work and interest in Cuba into long term, sustainable people-to-people partnerships, community exchanges and eventually a full fledged "Sister City" relationship with a community in Cuba. Also to help existing sister cities expand and improve projects in Cuba, and gain support in their home communities.

1. Conference in Habana, Cuba, May 19-28: USCSCA representatives will meet with our Cuban counterparts for the purpose of discussing and determining the bilateral procedures and protocols necessary to fulfill our mission. The conference will be May 21-23rd. The rest of the week will be spent in the countryside facilitating different aspects of our work. The conference is only open to USCSCA membership. If you are not yet a member, there is still time to join. Existing sister cities will bring delegations, and members-at-large and sister cities in formation will be assigned regional or specialty groups to work with. This is the first of what we hope will become regular meetings with Cuban counterparts. Please contact USCSCA immediately for information, membership and conference eligibility.

2. Conference in Madison, Wisconsin, June 9-11th: Will be a nationwide meeting where we will continue getting our "own house in order." This meeting will offer "nuts and bolts" help for everyone, regardless of where they are in the sister city organizing scale. We will report back the procedures agreed upon with the Cubans that will move our work forward. We
will have an up-to-the-minute report on US Cuba relations from the Cuban Interests Section and how that impacts on our work, stateside. We will have useful workshops about a lot of things that make it hard to advance ourselves. We may have folks from Cuba if they can get visas, etc.

We recommend everyone who can attend this conference, it will be invaluable to your efforts. This conference will be held in a building on the lake designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It will be an incredibly uplifting weekend, phenomenal networking possibilities, and essential information to succeed in your work. Information will be forthcoming directly to help make your plans and reservations. Please contact Ricardo Gonzalez in Madison for reservations: Ricardo@cardinalbar.com

Thanks, for more information or your regional coordinator please contact: Lisa Valanti - 412- 563-1519 or USCSCA@AOL.COM

Update, 3/22

Havana Conference Information: Havana, Cuba, May 21-23, with visits to the countryside from 23-27.

We are trying to get a grasp on the number of participants from around the US (its AWESOME, folks are coming from everywhere)! And ask that you send the names of people within your cities participating to USCSCA@aol.com as soon as
possible. It need not be a completed list, but to help us get everyone pre-registered for the conference and to secure the number of rooms required and make transportation and other customized arrangements.

So far we believe we have about 90 plus participants. Please verify your participation.

Travel, as always, is problematic. People will be arriving and leaving different dates. The actual conference will begin Sunday, May 21st with registration and a (late) afternoon session for the US participants to coordinate and prepare to interact with Cuban counterparts Monday, May 22 & Tuesday, May 23rd. Wednesday the 24th people will retire to their sister
cities for the remainder of the week; people without formal sister cities are invited to join and participate in a working sister city project to use as a model for their future efforts.

The conference will take place in the Palacio de Las Convenciones, and all participants will stay at the Palco Hotel. Advance reservations are required through USCSCA. Rooms are available beginning Saturday, May 20th.

Cost is based on number of nights and single or double accommodations. We can supply roommates. Room costs will include breakfast and a buffet lunch. People staying on and wanting to travel into the countryside must make arrangements in advance. Contact USCSCA for options and costs.

Thank you.

 

NATIONAL U.S.-CUBA SISTER CITIES CONFERENCE MEETS IN MOBILE

For Immediate Release
DATE: September 27, 1999
CONTACT: Jay Higginbotham
Chairman, Society Mobile-La Habana
(334) 208-7740

NATIONAL U.S.-CUBA SISTER CITIES CONFERENCE MEETS IN MOBILE

Mobile, Ala. -- The Society Mobile-La Habana is hosting the US-Cuba Sister Cities Association Conference, October 8-10, 1999. The conference will be held in Mobile, Alabama at the Radisson Admiral Semmes Hotel. The purpose is to foster sister city relationships and understanding through mutually beneficial exchanges between individuals, community groups, organizations, and institutions in the United States with counterparts in Cuba.

Representatives from the United States, London, and Cuba will attend to discuss how cities may forge their own sister cities. The conference will also be attended by city planners, council members, health care providers, clerics, academics, artists, and businessmen.

Nine U.S. cities already have created sister city relationships, including Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Madison, Wisconsin. Representatives from all over the country from Florida to California--are expected to attend. The conference begins with a reception at 8:00 p.m., Friday, October 8. Workshops will occur on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., culminating with a banquet at 7:00 p.m. Workshops will continue on Sunday, 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m.

Workshops and panels will address current U.S. laws pertaining to Cuba; the changing tide of public opinion regarding the U.S. embargo; developing sister city relationships; religious issues in Cuba; and the future of U.S.-Cuba relations.

What: U.S.-Cuba Sister Cities Association meets in Mobile
When: October 8-10, 1999
Admiral Semmes Hotel
Mobile, Alabama
For Info: Jay Higginbotham, (334) 208-7740

US-Cuba Sister Cities Association Conference (Tentative Agenda), Mobile, AL

Proposed Agenda: (Subject to change as per consensus) (Please reply to USCSCA@aol.com

US-Cuba Sister Cities Association Conference (Tentative Agenda)
Mobile, Alabama October 8-11th

Friday Oct. 8th -- 8:00 PM - Reception and buffet (Location to be announced)
Society Mobile-La Habana

Saturday Oct. 9th - A Day of Sharing - Information, Reports, Introductions
&Issues

8:00 AM - 9:00 AM - Registration and coffee for conference participants
(Board meeting for board members)

9:00 AM - 9:30 AM - Conference Opening: Welcoming Remarks: Robert Schaefer,
President, Society Mobile - La Habana, Jay Higginbotham, Chairman, Board of
Directors
Introduction of Cuban Delegation, USCSCA Officers and Conference
Facilitators, Special guests and review of weekend schedule.

9:30 AM-10:00 AM - General Introductions of conference participants
Width and breath of our movement -- growing, even as we speak!

10:00 AM - 10:30 AM - “Sister Cities - Cuban Style”
Presentation by Cuban Delegation - * Ambassador Fernando Ramirez, of the
Cuban Interest Section on the importance of sister cities to Cuba, why Cuba
welcomes these people-to-people interchanges, Cuba’s participation in Sister
Cities programs worldwide and experience with, and hopes for US - Cuba
projects.

10:30 AM - Break

10:45 AM - 11:15 AM - “The realities with which we work”
The state of US - Cuba relations, and how it impacts on sister cities:
(Cuban perspective) US Blockade: Cuba's response: new laws and regulations

11:15 AM - 12:00 Noon - Q & A Period for AM Presentations

12: 00 Noon - 1:30 LUNCH

1:30 PM - 3:15 PM - “Sister Cities - US Style”- “Roots & Wings”
What’s being done: Presentation of US Sister Cities: Project accomplishments:
Established programs: (8 minutes each): Mobile, Madison, Pittsburgh, Oakland, Bloomington (40 minutes total)
Aspiring programs: (8 minutes each): Philadelphia, Youngstown, Baltimore, etc. (40 minutes total)
Future programs: (5 minutes each): Fitzgerald, Ga., Florida, California etc. (25 minutes)
Nationwide Networking Opportunities: NNOC, NCC, AHTC, P4P,etc.

3:15 PM - 3:45 PM “The realities with which we work”
US Cuba relations and how it impacts on sister city organizations. (US perspectives)
Navigating limitations of an outmoded US policy: Travel, Licensing, Humanitarian Aid, etc.

3:45 PM - 5:00 PM - Sectors for Organizing: Special Reports:
Education: (12 minutes)
Universities: Dr. Mark Ginsburg - Twinning universities: case example: Semester-at -Sea
High School: David Mercile & Jacob Kitzman, President & VP of SECA - Student Exchange Cuba And America - Organizing high school students/ Connecting on Internet
Healthcare: (12 minutes) *To be announced
Business/Commerce: (12 minutes)" The Complexities of Commerce"
* Tom Donohue, President of US Chamber of Commerce & Jorge I. Fernandez, member International Policy Committee of USCC.
Paul Katzeff- Thanksgiving Coffee Company-"End the Embargo of Cuban Coffee"
Churches: (12 minutes) “Sharing Spiritual Lives” - Religious Issues
Dr. Ted Braun, author of “Perspectives on Cuba” and Reverend. Lucius Walker, IFCO & P4P.
Cultural: (12 minutes) Art & Cultural exchanges :*Tom Miller, author "Trading with the Enemy"
Dr. John Eskridge (others)
Sports: (12 minutes)
* Lee Tawney, International Relations, City of Baltimore - Baseball Diplomacy

5:00 PM - 5:30 PM - Q&A on afternoon presentations

5:30 PM - 7:00 PM - Free Time
7:00 PM - Banquet

Sunday, October 10th -- Getting Specific--What do you need? What needs to be done? Helping each other to build a base in every community.

8:00 AM - 8:30 AM - Working with City Councils, Mayors and other elected officials:
Pittsburgh City Councilman Jim Ferlo, Ricardo Gonzalez, Former Mayor, Madison, Wisc. (others)

8:30 AM - 10:00 AM - Working with community organizations -- starting from scratch, a group, or strengthening your base - Sharing skills and experiences: Identifying our needs:
Facilitators: Peggy Edwards, WILPF, & Delvis Fernandez , Founder, Cuban American Alliance

10:00 AM - 10:30 AM-Summary of morning sessions and identifying what you need for us to help you with, and what you can do to help someone else. Special needs and organizational task identification: Fund raising, board development, building a webpage, speakers bureau, etc. Peggy Edwards, WILPF - group facilitator.

10:30 AM - 11:00 AM - Finding the solutions: Setting your goals and getting a buddy/mentor. Skills you can share to help build our national efforts. Task identification, forming committees, etc., (issues? Regions?)

11:00 AM - 11:45 AM - Committee meetings or solving special problems.

11:45 AM - 12:00 noon - Where do we go from here? Setting our next meeting.
World Solidarity Conference- November 2,000 - USCSCA Conference in Cuba

12:00 Noon - 12:30 PM - Official Conference Closure - Closing Remarks
12:30 PM - 1:00 Board Meeting
1:00- 3:00 PM - Loose ends? Private meetings?
Sunday PM - Monday- FUN! BEACH?! FUN! BOAT RIDE?! FUN! TOUR OF CITY?!PARTY!
*Speakers not confirmed

*Most presentations are being made by full conference participants,
opportunities will be available for individual discussions.

US-CUBA Sister Cities Association  --  Framer’s Meeting  --  March 19, 20, 21, 1999

1. Introduction
2. Vision Statement
3. Mission Statement
4. Goals
5. Activities
6. Member Services
7. For Further Information

~ Introduction ~

Sister cities provides an opportunity to create a unique model of community partnerships. These projects open the door to bilateral initiatives for people at all societal levels: individual citizens, local governments, media, business, religious groups, community, solidarity, organizations and institutions. By creating an opening for a unifying goal while amplifying each participants unique contribution to the efforts, it is a way for traditionally very diverse groups who would not otherwise find common cause to work together.

Internationally, sister cities have set a precedent for the legitimate role of an individual’s right to engage in citizen diplomacy and active foreign policy. But today, within the US we face a challenge in creating viable projects with Cuba that protect the credibility and integrity of the sister cities concept.

Cuba enjoys sister city relationships with over 31 nations, and has countless sister agreements among organizations, institutions, religious groups and universities worldwide. Unfortunately, due to outdated US government policy, which despite major changes in the world, has not come under review for almost forty years, sister cities between people of the US and Cuba have been difficult to achieve. None-the-less, it has been done between Mobile, AL-Habana, Madison, WI-Camaguey, and Pittsburgh, PA-Matanzas. We are aware of at least nine other cities who have passed council resolutions of intent.
USCSCA hopes that in helping ordinary people see Cuba for themselves, together with our Cuban neighbors, we will help create a balanced dialogue that will promote a more positive relationship between our nations. With sister cities becoming a popular trend nationwide, US-Cuba Sister Cities Association was formed to assist this swell of citizen diplomats to succeed
in this rewarding endeavor to actively work to better international relations today.

Today we live in a world compressed into a global village by technology. USCSCA will assist cities in the process of establishing formal relationships with the people of Cuba who (due to US policy) are unable to be interactive with other developmental organizations. As international cooperation gains importance, city-to-city programs become increasingly significant to all parties involved. We will strive to create genuine “people-to-people” community connections with our neighbors in Cuba, based on mutual respect and reciprocal exchanges equally beneficial to all parties.

USCSCA believes President Dwight D. Eisenhower, correct when he said while introducing his creation of the sister city concept in 1956; “ The sister city program is an important resource to the negotiations of government in letting people themselves give expression to their common desire for friendship, good will and cooperation for a better world for all.”

As “citizen diplomats” we desire to build upon this strong and solid foundation and advance our shared vision, as we move into the future to help create new opportunities for international understanding towards peaceful coexistence in the world.
US-CUBA Sister Cities Association

~ Vision Statement ~

The US-CUBA Sister Cities Association has been created out of the efforts of citizens nationwide to form sister city partnerships with their counterparts in Cuba. It aims to build on their successes while limiting the frustrations related to re-establishing constructive relations between our peoples, nations and governments.

USCSCA believes the people of Cuba are part of our shared world and should not be isolated or exempted from the global community or refused the mutual benefits of sister city programs on the basis of political considerations or agendas.

At a meeting in New York City in September of 1998, while sharing our stories of the benefits and astounding successes of our sister city projects, participants noted the desire of many other cities to enter into equally beneficial mutual exchanges by developing official people-to-people community linkages. After trading our common experiences of the incredible warmth,
welcome and cooperation of the Cuban people; we decided to pool our joint experience and expertise to help others wishing to create sister city projects.

Recognizing another consequence of the lack of normal relations is that the Cuban people are unable to approach US cities with whom they might like to develop partnerships, a mechanism needed to be created that allows reciprocal exchanges. We envision this network as a means to establish principles and standards on which to build mutually beneficial and reciprocal
relationships.

The “US-CUBA Sister Cities Association,” agrees to create a nationwide organization inviting people interested in learning more about sister cities and those already engaged in the work to join together to create a broad, new network between the people of Cuba and the people of the United States.


US-CUBA Sister Cities Association

~ Mission Statement ~

To foster sister city relationships and understanding through mutually beneficial exchanges between individuals, community groups, organizations, and institutions in the United States with counterparts in Cuba.


US-CUBA Sister Cities Association

~ Goals ~

* To develop community partnerships between US cities, counties, and states with similar jurisdictions in Cuba.

* To create opportunities for city officials and citizens to experience and explore another culture through long-term community partnerships.

* To stimulate environments through which communities will creatively learn, work and solve problems together through reciprocal cultural, educational, municipal, business, professional, and technological exchanges and projects.

* To create an atmosphere in which mutual community and eventual economic development can be enabled and strengthened.

* To collaborate with organizations and individuals in the US & Cuba that share similar goals and objectives.


US-CUBA Sister Cities Association

~ Activities ~

1) Help cities identify and choose an appropriate partner city in Cuba.

2) Create a nationwide register of sister cities in formation to eliminate duplications.

3) Put developing projects in touch with the appropriate Cuban counterparts and help them follow appropriate channels of communication.

4) Offer a national advisory network of people to interface offering peer support on all societal levels in developing projects.

5) Share local government resolutions and other forms of public recognition.

6) Help projects gain official recognition within their city.

7) Help with the logistics of delegations and trips to Cuba and coordinate tours of Cubans coming here to the US, especially, but not limited to educational & cultural groups.

8) Share strategies on public relations and media coverage.

9) Publish a nationwide newsletter reporting on our growth and activities.

10) Develop a national website with links to all other member sister cities projects.


US-CUBA Sister Cities Association

~ Member Services ~

* USCSCA will strive to ensure that each project undertaken by its membership will reflect the diversity of its local network. It will promote the broadest diversity of ethnic and racial minorities, people who are physically/mental disabled, women, youth, and also reflecting diverse socio-economic status in all activities.

* USCSCA with the cooperation of Cuban counterparts, will:

* help a city register and select an appropriate partner city in Cuba.

* help coordinate linkages on all levels within the US and Cuba.

* share advice, experience and expertise from established sister city projects and emerging member projects.

* Help a project through the steps required to sign an official sister city agreement.

* USCSCA will provide information on resources, consultant and current affairs among other information.


For Further Information:

On how to begin a sister city project, or to be connected to people within your city who might already be working on a project, to register your interest in a city in Cuba, or to find out what cities in Cuba would like to have a sister city, or to get in touch with other sister city projects, nationwide, please contact:

US-CUBA Sister Cities Association
320 Lowenhill Street
Pittsburgh, PA. 15216

(412) 563-1519 Fax:(412) 563-1945 Email: USCSCA@aol.com

We expect to have a webpage shortly. We can also send information on how to join our organization.

Update on national formation meeting

Dear Conference Participant,

I am hoping you are still planning on being able to join us for our US-CUBA Sister City Asssociation meeting to be held in Pittsburgh March 19-21. Your skills may prove to be especially helpful to the tasks at hand.

We have received overwhelming support in response to our conference call, many from different mayors and councilpeople or business and community organizations who have said they do not feel it neccessary for them to be part of the process of designing the organization, but do want to join it and participate fully once it is up and running. They don't care about its form so much as its functioning. They eagerly await a formal announcement of its coming into being.

So, the US-Cuba Sister City Association will be born of this meeting, as planned, but with more focused participation from people who have already formed projects, or who are in the maze now. Their experience, wisdom and cultural sensativites will be priceless in addressing the challenges of helping others travel that path. What we will be doing is the nuts and bolts work of organization building; creating a mission statement, clarifing goals, organizational structure, communication networks, data bases, finance mechanisms, and educational materials among other things. This meeting is going to be a serious working meeting, where everyone will be able to contribute to our collaboration.

It will also be important for organizations with national membership, who want to find a way to factor their Cuba work into larger city collaborations, or smaller groups who want to explore how to maximize the efforts to reach a larger audience. We have people coming representing cities nationwide who have confirmed their attendance.

We will also have with us a delegation from the Cuban Interest Section, including 1st Secretary Felix Wilson, Deputy Consul Eugenio Martinez, and if his schedule permits, chief of the Section, Fernando Ramirez, as some of our work will be to establish lines of communication with cities in Cuba. Also, we will hear from them, the Cuban perspective on Sister Cities and their experience with the complexities of these ventures.

The meeting will be chaired by Councilman Jim Ferlo, and held in City Council chambers with an opening session beginning at 7 pm on Friday evening. For accommodations, or transportation help, please email me back (LisaCubaSi@aol.com).  I will be away until March 13th, so you may also contact Brenda Smith at global@telerama.lm.com or call her at 412-361-3424 for logistical information.

We need everyone, including you, to make this work. Hope you will be one of the founders of what promises to be a whole new level of opportunity in normalizing relations between US & Cuba. Please come and make a little piece of history.

- Lisa Valenti

National formation meeting of US-CUBA Sister Cities Association, 3/19 - 3/2121

From: LisaCubaSi@aol.com
Date: Fri, 5 Feb 1999 16:26:40 EST
Subject: US-CUBA Sister Cities Association

You are invited to attend or send representation to the national formation meeting of this organization to be held March 19-21, 1999, in Pittsburgh Pa. For details RSVP contacts listed below. Many cities are expected, as is the Cuban Ambassador among other Cuban officials.

US-CUBA SISTER CITIES ASSOCIATION
(History, Mission & Goals)

The US-CUBA SISTER CITIES ASSOCIATION was created out of the efforts of citizens nationwide to form Sister City partnerships with their counterparts in Cuba. It aims to build on their successes while limiting the frustrations related to re-establishing constructive relations between our peoples, nations and governments.

Sister Cities International, in compliance with US regulations, is unable to assist or recognize Sister City relationships with the people of Cuba, even though the US-Cuba projects follow the model and meet all of the regulations normally required by Sister Cities International to be formally recognized by them as an official alliance.

We believe the people of Cuba are part of our shared world; world citizens, and should not be isolated or exempted from the global community or refused the mutual benefits of Sister City programs on the basis of political considerations or agendas.

At a meeting held in New York City in September 1998, participants traded their experiences of the incredible warmth, welcome and cooperation of the Cuban people; the unexpected benefits and astounding successes of our Sister City projects, and noted the desire of many other cities to enter into constructive engagements by developing official people-to-people community linkages. It was decided to pool our joint experience and expertise to help others wanting to create Sister City projects.

Called simply, the “US-CUBA Sister Cities Association,” we agreed to convene a nationwide meeting and invite people interested in learning more about Sister Cities and those already engaged in the work to join together to create a broad, new network, a “joint venture with Cuba.” The primary organizational aims would be to:

1) Help people identify and choose an appropriate partner city in Cuba.
2) Create a nationwide register of Sister Cities in formation to eliminate duplications.
3) Put developing projects in touch with the appropriate Cuban counterparts.
4) Offer a national advisory network of people to interface offering peer support on all societal levels in developing projects.
5) Share local government resolutions and other forms of public recognition.
6) Help projects gain official recognition within their city.
7) Help with the logistics of delegations and trips to Cuba and coordinate tours of Cubans coming here, especially educational & cultural groups.
8) Share strategies on public relations and media coverage.
9) Publish a nationwide newsletter reporting on our growth and activities.

Additionally, it seemed important to form this collaboration as a safeguard of our projects. Sister Cities should not become a political tool to undermine or compromise the Cuban people’s sovereignty.  Because of our commitment to protect the integrity of our projects, Cuba will cooperate fully with this organization, by facilitating Sister Cities development within Cuba.

Eventually, there should be enough projects to persuade Sister Cities International to review its policy on Cuba. Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador in the1970’s &1980’s are examples of people-to-people diplomacy that made US citizens aware of the covert contra wars in the region and helped cut US government funding for them.

Mission

To Foster Sister City relationships and mutual understanding through constructive engagement between individuals, community groups, organizations, and institutions in the US with counterparts in Cuba.

Goals

* To develop community partnerships between US cities, counties, and states with similar jurisdictions in Cuba.

* To create opportunities for city officials and citizens to experience and explore another culture through long-term community partnerships.

* To stimulate environments through which communities will creatively learn, work and solve problems together through reciprocal cultural, educational, municipal, business, professional, and technological exchanges and projects.

* To create an atmosphere in which mutual community and eventual economic development can be enabled and strengthened.

* To collaborate with organizations in the US & Cuba that share similar goals and objectives.

* Services US-Cuba Sister Cities Association offers members:

* An opportunity to create a unique model of community partnership.

* USCSCA will strive to ensure that each project undertaken by its membership will reflect the diversity of its local network. It will promote the broadest diversity of ethnic and racial minorities, people who are physical/mental challenged, women, youth, and also reflecting diverse socio-economic status in all activities.

* USCSCA will facilitate a city to establish formal relationships with the people of Cuba who are unable to be interactive with other developmental organizations. As international cooperation gains importance, city-to-city programs become increasingly significant to all parties involved. Create a genuine “people-to-people” community connection that challenges the US government’s agenda of undermining the Cuban people’s self-determination and civil society.

* USCSCA with the cooperation of the Cuban counterparts, will:

* help a city register and select an appropriate partner city in Cuba. Will
* help coordinate linkages on all levels within the US and Cuba.
* Will share advice, experience and expertise from established Sister City
   projects and people (city councils, mayors, etc.) as consultants.
* Help a project through the steps required to make a Sister City official.

These projects and process opens bilateral initiatives for partnership by people at all local grassroots levels - citizens, local government, media, business, community, solidarity, religious groups, organizations and insituations. It also creates a common ground for traditionally very diverse groups who would not find other common cause.

For further information on how to participate contact:

Lisa Valanti- President
US-Cuba Sister Cities Association
320 Lowenhill Street   
Pittsburgh, Pa. 15216
Or (Pittsburgh-Matanzas Sister City Project)
Phone:(412)563-1519
Fax: (412)563-1945
Email: LisaCubaSi@aol.com

Ricardo Gonzales- Vice President USCSCA
Madison-Camaguey Sister City
Email: cardinalbar@globaldialog.com

John Dowlin- Secretary USCSCA
Philadelphia-Santiago “Citizen Diplomats”
Email: john-dowlin@usa.net 

See update to this message

September US Cuba Sister Cities Meeting

From: LisaCubaSi@aol.com
Date: Thu, 1 Oct 1998 19:43:25 EDT
Subject: US-Cuba Sister Cities Association

Last week nine US cities were represented at a meeting in New York, all of which were in the process of forming "Sister City" relationships with cities in Cuba.

As was well documented at that meeting, the lack of normal diplomatic relations with Cuba, makes creating "Sister City" projects with Cuban counterparts a very exciting but challenging task for all parties involved. Since "Sister Cities International" does not yet recognize projects with Cuba, it was decided to create an organization to share our experiences and help facilitate the special needs of those forming such relationships.

Lisa Valanti of the Pittsburgh-Matanzas Sister City project was elected acting President of this new joint venture, and Richard Gonzalas from the Madison- Camaguey Sister City project, acting Vice-president. "US-Cuba Sister Cities Association" is its proposed name.

It was also determined to convene a meeting at the end of January in Washington DC where anyone interested in beginning such a project with their city, or anyone already engaged in the process, could attend and we could "network" as well as become a network, nationally, with our mission to assist all cities in achieving solid Sister City relationships.

A meeting date will be announced shortly. In the meantime, interested parties may contact LisaCubaSi@aol.com for basic information on how to choose a city, forming a committee, getting support from city officials, etc.

Sisterhood is a powerful thing!
Sincerely,
Lisa Valanti


Links

About.com
http://worldnews.about.com/medianews/currevents/worldnews/library/weekly/aa100499.htm
About.com has started a thread on an emerging controversy between the US Cuba Sister Cities Association and the Sister Cities International Program, which is objecting to the USCSCA use of their term and has refused to help, most likely because, like many US "NGO's," they are fearful of losing federal funding.  But Americans are free, right?

Bloomington, IN Sister City Site
www.bloomington.in.us./~amistad


US-Cuba Sister Cities Association launches web site

March 30, 2000 - USCSCA launched a new web site to serve as focal point for their activities.

www.uscsca.org


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