Top Cuban Diplomat to Speak at SUNY Cortland

Top Cuban Diplomat to Speak at SUNY Cortland

09/26/2016 

Miguel Fraga, the first person to hold the title of first secretary at the Embassy of Cuba in more than half a century, will discuss U.S.-Cuba relations at SUNY Cortland on Wednesday, Sept. 28.

Fraga has been one of the communist nation’s top diplomats in the United States since the two countries re-established diplomatic relations a little more than a year ago. His talk, “U.S-Cuban Relations, Past, Present and Desired Future,” will trace the troubled history of the neighboring nations, clarify the Cuban perspective of current relations and explore opportunities for the future.

“Miguel is a great guy, very easy going and an interesting speaker,” said Jordan Kobritz, chair of SUNY Cortland’s Sport Management Department and the coordinator of Fraga’s Cortland visit. “This is a great opportunity for students.”

The first secretary will speak at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Moffett Center, Room 2125. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Fraga is visiting SUNY Cortland for a second time. Last spring, he participated in a first-of-its-kind symposium on how sports, business, academics and diplomacy can help build bridges between Cuba and the United States.

Since then, Kobritz and other SUNY Cortland faculty and administrators have traveled to Cuba in an effort to establish ties with academics, artists and athletes connected with universities on the Island nation. A College goal is to send a group of students to Cuba next spring.

“The opening of relations with Cuba creates tremendous educational opportunities for U.S. universities,” said President Erik J. Bitterbaum. “We want SUNY Cortland to be one of the first to establish student and faculty exchange programs and explore other areas of cooperation that haven’t been possible for at least half a century.”

Relations between the U.S. and Cuba deteriorated quickly after the revolution led by Fidel Castro established a socialist state. They dissolved completely in 1961 following America’s failed Bay of Pigs invasion to overthrow Castro. For more than a century, Cold War tensions and strict economic sanctions acted as an invisible wall between the United States and Cuba, which lies 90 miles off the coast of Key West, Fla.

As the Cold War thawed, U.S.-Cuban relations slowly improved, with the nations agreeing to re-establish diplomatic ties and open embassies in June 2015.

That year, Fraga was appointed to his current post. Since 2006, he had worked in the Ministry of Foreign affairs’ North American and U.S. divisions and in the Office of the Minister. From 2008 to 2011, Fraga served at the Cuban Embassy in Canada. From 2003 to 2008, he was a member of the People's Power Provincial Assembly of the City of Havana, which is the provincial parliament in Havana.

Frago graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Havana Faculty of Law in 2003 and has a Master of Science in Foreign Relations from the Higher Institute of Foreign Relations “Raúl Roa García.”


More News

Cortland Challenge 2024 is April 17

Cortland Challenge 2024 is April 17

Supporters get even more gift match opportunities this year to help their favorite Cortland cause.


Dowd Gallery presents Student Select 2024

Dowd Gallery presents Student Select 2024

Fifty art students compete for the top prize, to be announced Wednesday, in this annual, juried exhibition.


SUNY Cortland recognized for election encouragement

SUNY Cortland recognized for election encouragement

For a second time, the university is honored for its voter education, registration and turnout efforts.


Student research showcased at Transformations

Student research showcased at Transformations

The annual spring conference is a chance to highlight academic excellence on campus.


Transfer students inducted into honor society

Transfer students inducted into honor society

Forty-five SUNY Cortland transfer students were inducted into Tau Sigma National Honor Society.


SUNY Cortland senior earns EOP’s highest honor

SUNY Cortland senior earns EOP’s highest honor

Katelyn Thompson will receive a Norman R. McConney Jr. Award for Student Excellence.


The Big Event Returns April 21

The Big Event Returns April 21

The SGA will follow up on the campus-wide activity during Cortland’s spring administrative meeting on April 22.


Fish conservation research presented by students

Fish conservation research presented by students

Three interns were part of federal and state efforts to save the Great Lakes ecosystem.


Make a Difference Day returns for campus spring cleaning

Make a Difference Day returns for campus spring cleaning

After more than a decade of dormancy, the annual volunteer campus cleanup will return on Arbor Day.


Special Olympics club aims high

Special Olympics club aims high

Cortland Stars Club members train athletes with disabilities.