Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land cel­e­brates sights, sounds and tastes of Cuba

Film show­cases Cuban Amer­i­can views in light of re­newed re­la­tions

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU jan­fen­son-comeau@somd­

Col­lege of South­ern Mary- land stu­dents and com­muni- ty mem­bers were treated to some of the sights, sounds and tastes of Cuba Tues­day, in recog­ni­tion of In­terna- tional Week.

The CSM Global Ini­tia­tives Com­mit­tee, in con­junc­tion with the Stu­dent Ac­tiv­i­ties Com­mit­tee and the Diversi- ty De­part­ment, spon­sored “Cel­e­brat­ing Cuba” with food, games, books, a slideshow, a film and live mu­sic.

Cicero Fain, co-chair­man of the Global Ini­tia­tives Com­mit­tee, said Cuba was cho­sen due to re­cent U.S. ef- forts to nor­mal­ize re­la­tions with the Caribbean is­land.

“We want to broaden hori­zons, to in­form, to en­gage, to build some bridges, to show that we all live in a global en­vi­ron­ment, that we can learn from each other, en­rich each other’s life, and that the im­mi­grant ex­pe­ri­ence is the quin­tes­sen­tial Amer­i­can ex­pe­ri­ence. By learn­ing about each other,

we grow,” Fain said.

On Dec. 17, 2014, Pres­i­dent Barack Obama (D) an­nounced the be­gin­ning of diplo­matic re­la­tions with Cuba. Diplo­matic re­la­tions were of­fi­cially re­stored July 20, 2015. Diplo­matic ties be­tween the two coun­tries were sev­ered in 1961, fol­low- ing the com­mu­nist Cuban Rev­o­lu­tion of 1959.

Some travel re­stric­tions to Cuba have been lifted, and CSM fac­ulty and staff trav­elled to Cuba in spring 2016 as part of an ed­u­ca­tional trip.

Eileen Abel, vice pres­i­dent of aca­demic af­fairs, shared some of the pho­tos she took on the trip, as well as her ob­serva- tions of Cuba.

Abel said Cuba is very much a coun­try of con­trasts.

“There are parts of Ha- vana that are ex­tremely well-kept, and there are parts in which the in­fra- struc­ture is crum­bling,” Abel said.

CSM also pro­vided sev­eral Cuban dishes for stu­dents and com­mu­nity mem­bers, in­clud­ing pa­pas rel­lenas, or fried meat-stuffed pota­toes; black bean soup; ropa vieja, or meat stew; taja- das, or fried plan­tains; and al­co­hol-free mo­ji­tos.

The event also in­cluded a screen­ing of the doc­u­men­tary “Crav­ing Cuba” by first-time doc­u­menta- ry film­maker and sec­ond gen­er­a­tion Cuban-Amer- ican Zuzelin Martin Lynch.

Lynch, born in north­ern New Jer­sey as the child and grand­child of Cuban im­mi­grants flee­ing Com­mu­nist Cuba, wanted to ex­plore what it means to be a Cuban-Amer­i­can.

“I’ve al­ways been in­ter­ested in ques­tions of iden­tity,” Lynch said. “So what does it mean for me to be Cuban-Amer­i­can, hav­ing never set foot in Cuba, or for my son, who is half Ir­ish-Amer­i­can, half Cuban-Amer­i­can, and 100 per­cent Cal­i­for­nia boy?”

Lynch had no ex­pe­ri­ence with doc­u­men­tary film­mak­ing, and funded the en­tire film through an IndieGoGo cam­paign, which raised $10,000.

“That was enough for us to travel ev­ery­where we needed to go. We boot­strapped every­thing else,” Lynch said.

Lynch said that, sur­pris­ingly, mak­ing a film about her Cuban roots put her more in touch with her Amer­i­can iden­tity.

“In mak­ing the film, I re­al­ized that I’m an Amer­i­can,” Lynch said. “My whole life, I’ve al­ways qual­i­fied my Amer­i­can­ness by say­ing I’m Cuban, just be­cause of how I was raised, very im­mersed in the Old World, and in the process, I re­al­ized how Amer­i­can I am, in a good way. Where else could you just dream things up, just go for them?”

The one-hour film fea­tures in­ter­views with Cuban-Amer­i­cans of a va­ri­ety of ages and dif­fer­ent po­lit­i­cal views and walks of life.

“I tried to share opin­ions on all sides, be­cause the topic of Cuba is very hot, and it is very po­lar­iz­ing among the Cuban-Amer­i­can com­mu­nity,” Lynch said. “My hope is not to con­vince any­one of any par­tic­u­lar view, it’s just to show the hu­man­ity of us in this one im­mi­grant story, this ex­ile story.”

The film won the Audi- ence Best Doc­u­men­tary Fea­ture Award at the 2016 Gasper­illa In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val and is avail­able for sale or to rent on Ama­zon.

Fol­low­ing the show­ing of the film, Lynch took part in a ques­tion-and-an­swer ses­sion with the au­di­ence.

The event con­cluded with a per­for­mance by Ritmo Cache, CSM’s Latin ensem­ble.


Doc­u­men­tary film­maker Zuzelin Martin Lynch takes ques­tions from the au­di­ence fol­low­ing the show­ing of her film, “Crav­ing Cuba,” dur­ing the Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land’s “Cel­e­brat­ing Cuba” event Tues­day af­ter­noon.

Eileen Abel, the Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land’s vice pres­i­dent for aca­demic af­fairs, shares pic­tures she took dur­ing an ed­u­ca­tional trip to Cuba last spring dur­ing CSM’s “Cel­e­brat­ing Cuba” event Tues­day af­ter­noon.


The Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land pro­vided a se­lec­tion of Cuban dishes for its “Cel­e­brat­ing Cuba” event Tues­day af­ter­noon.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.