Fidel Castro’s Death Is an Opportunity to Further Movement in U.S./Cuba Policies


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    Henry Godinez

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    Paul Gillingham

Henry Godinez is a professor in the Department of Theatre at Northwestern University and the Resident Artistic Associate at the Goodman Theatre, where he is the director of the Latino Theatre Festival. A Cuban American born in Cuba and Raised in the U.S., Godinez maintains close ties with his native country, collaborating with Cuban artists and co-teaching American students alongside Cuban scholars in Cuba. Most recently for the Goodman he fostered the co-production of Pedro Paramo with Teatro Buendia, one of the most renowned theater companies in Cuba. Godinez is the co-founder and former artistic director of Teatro Vista, co-editor of Festival Latino: Six Plays (NU Press) and proudly serves on the Board of Directors of the Illinois Arts Council Agency, Northwestern University Press and Albany Park Theater Project.

Quote: "I see Fidel Castro’s death as a vital opportunity to further the forward movement in U.S./Cuba policies, and continue to support the access to information and communication emerging on the island that will aid the many dissident voices in Cuba today to challenge the regime and instigate change from within.”

Paul Gillingham is director of Latin American and Caribbean studies and associate professor of history in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University and specializes in politics, culture and violence in modern Mexico. He has published numerous articles and book chapters on these subjects. Among the courses he teaches is “Revolution and Empire in Cuba.”

Quote from Professor Gillingham“Fidel Castro was one of the great leaders of the last century, if greatness is measured in terms of successful realpolitik. For over 50 years he eliminated all rivals, including other revolutionaries, and projected Cuban power around the world. He was a ruthless dictator who was legitimized for some by Cuba’s world-class medical system, which sent medical aid workers abroad in huge numbers; for others, by his backing for national liberation movements in Latin America, or his war against South Africa in Angola.

“But most of all, Castro was legitimized for many by the virulent opposition of the United States, which stretched from assassination attempts to a total economic embargo. For good or ill, and that judgment is evidently profoundly political, no other Latin American leader -- and very few other politicians, full stop -- have punched as far above their weight.”

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