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Miami Herald

Cuban High Schoolers May Come to U.S.

June 1, 2014

The U.S. State Department is offering $1.2 million to bring 75 to 100 Cuban high school students to the United States for “summer leadership” sessions, in a ongoing effort to provide educational opportunities to island youths.

Sessions will focus on “leadership development, civic education principles, and the structure of democratic organizations … from national governments to local [nongovernment organizations] and student advocacy groups,” the department said.

U.S. programs on Cuba are designed “to empower Cubans to freely determine their own future by increasing human capacity, promoting community level engagement, and expanding civil society networks,” according to last week’s announcement.

Cuban authorities have threatened or denied exit permits to students who wanted to participate in similar U.S. government-funded educational programs in the past, branding them as thinly veiled efforts to undermine the communist system.

The State Department said its Western Hemisphere Affairs (WHA) section will consider proposals from U.S. nonprofits and higher-education institutions for the $1.2 million to organize and run the “Summer Leadership Program for Cuban Youth.”

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The College of Communications at California State University, Fullerton, will have a number of Cuban university students participating this summer in specialized workshops on digital journalism, Dean William G. Briggs said in May.

“When you consider that Cuba’s a closed society, and that their idea of journalism, since 1959, has been to just basically spout the party line and say whatever Fidel [Castro] wanted them to say, the idea that they are going to come to the United States and learn modern digital communication techniques that they can take back with them, this is going to represent a very serious, major crack in the dam,” Briggs said. “And the Cuban government knows that. But they also know that they have to modernize their society.” Continue reading the complete article.

Tags:  Media