The Honorable Mention

UN Trip Evokes Reactions

On December 7, 2012, students from the Advanced Honors Seminar "20th Century Socialist Thought and Practice" attended a meeting in New York with Oscar Léon, the Cuban Ambassador to the United Nations, and Ovidio Roque, the First Secretary of the Permanent Mission of Cuba to the UN. The following honors students shared their reactions:

Maritza Mejia
“We went into the Cuban Mission with so many questions for the ambassador, Oscar Léon. We were greeted by a group of humble people who just wanted to get their story out. All of us who attended sat around a table with open minds and ears; we were so captivated by Cuba's story. We understand that the goal here is not to point fingers and try to put the blame on someone, but to try to get some understanding and help give Cuba a chance.”

Mary Valerio
“The trip to the United Nations was very interesting. It amazed me to see the hatred and irony in the United States. The location of the Mission is on ‘Hermanos Al Rescate’ or ‘Brothers to the Rescue’ street. This street is named after the same group of people who performed terroristic acts against Cuba. Alejandro, one of the representatives, told us that not too long ago, there were protests in front of the building and a bomb blew up nearby.”

Erika Retrepo
“Even though he was financially wealthy, Castro removed private property and redistributed land; under his mandate he ensured everyone had a place to live. In addition, Cubans were guaranteed universal health benefits and free education to the doctorate level. Everyone was given the tools necessary for survival, and even a guaranteed job.”

Nisha Zutshi
“This class was extremely unique. It not only brought about completely new topics for learning, but also allowed us to dive into new concepts and see how they work out or come to light. It also allowed us to see how certain concepts factor into our everyday life. All have heard of Marx and the concepts of socialism and communism, but this course followed history, showing how it evolved and how it does have a place in our tomorrow.”