November 30, 2005

Play Ball & Be Nice

Sporting and cultural events have disappeared from the collective Cuba-U.S. experience, and we all loose with that score.

Given the potential humanizing effect on all parties involved, it makes sense for us to have yearly games, be it All-Star team competitions or games between league winners. Wouldn’t it be great if these games were on TV? During time outs and game breaks, they could show small video segments of player bios and life in Cuba. ESPN could show a repeat after midnight.

Artists nominated for awards would be given appropriate visas to attend the award shows. And while we’re being friendly, scientists would receive the same allowances.

Earlier this month, a Cuban scientist who helped develop a low-cost vaccine for Haemophilus Influenza Type B, was to receive an award at the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, California. Two days later he was to address a gathering of scientists at the Society for Glycobiology in Boston. It didn’t happen, as Dr. Vicente Verez-Bencomo was not issued a visa by the U.S. State Department.

Dr. Verez-Bencomo is quoted in Yahoo! News: “It’s incomprehensible that a civilized nation can confuse someone who has dedicated his life to saving the lives of children with someone who goes against the interests of the United States. I wasn’t going there to talk about politics, I was going to talk about science.”

Last month, Science Magazine said the vaccine “may someday save millions of lives.”



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