Diplomatic Connections May/June 2016

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A Business, Diplomacy & Foreign Policy Publication

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Johns Hopkins neurosurgeons Shih-Chun “David” Lin, M.D., Ph.D.; Jeff Jacobson, M.D., and Quoc-Anh Thai, M.D.

Johns Hopkins Neurosurgery The Johns Hopkins neurosurgical team members, Shih-Chun “David” Lin, M.D., Ph.D.; Jeff Jacobson, M.D., and Quoc-Anh Thai, M.D., who practice at Suburban Hospital, provide a wide range of advanced medical services to patients in need of neurosurgical care. Treatments include conditions such as brain tumors, aneurysms, and acute and chronic spine and neck conditions, using traditional and minimally invasive surgical techniques. In multidisciplinary collaboration with other medical specialists, our neurosurgeons provide personalized medical care before and after surgery.


Patients meet with our neurosurgeons for initial consultations at 4927 Auburn Avenue in Bethesda, and surgeries are typically performed at Suburban Hospital.

To learn more about the services available or schedule an appointment call 1-443-287-6080 or visit PromiseofMedicine.org

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You don’t have to go far to begin your wellness journey

Johns Hopkins Medicine—with convenient locations in Maryland, the Washington, D.C., metro area and Florida—is ready to connect international patients and their families with our respected experts, cutting-edge research and innovative treatments at the most convenient location. We understand that medical issues can cause a great deal of stress and encourage you to take advantage of our complimentary medical concierge services so you can focus on your health. From your first inquiry, you’ll be paired with a medical concierge who will serve as your personal liaison to the experts at Johns Hopkins Medicine. Expert care, close to home. One less thing to worry about.

To learn more or schedule an appointment: 1-855-88-HOPKINS (U.S. Toll-Free) +1-410-502-7683 (International)





Clint Allen, M.D. Clint Allen, M.D., is a member of Suburban Hospital’s medical staff. He is a fellowshiptrained laryngeal surgeon who specializes in voice, swallowing and airway disorders. Dr. Allen sees patients experiencing voice problems at the Johns Hopkins Voice Center, located at the Johns Hopkins Health Care and Surgery Center on Rockledge Drive in Bethesda and he also holds a joint appointment at the National Institutes of Health. He also holds a joint appointment at the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Allen is a graduate of the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine and he completed his residency in Otolaryngology at Barnes - Jewish Hospital in St Louis, Missouri and fellowships at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle, Washington and the National Institutes of Health.

To learn more or request an appointment: 1-855-88-HOPKINS (U.S. Toll-Free) +1-410-502-7683 (International) PromiseofMedicine.org

Clint Allen, M.D.


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Aarti Mathur, M.D. Sibley Memorial Hospital welcomes Dr. Aarti Mathur to the community. Dr. Mathur is an endocrine surgeon with the Johns Hopkins Department of Surgery. She is a graduate of the University of Texas Medical Branch School of Medicine, Georgetown University Medical Center’s surgical residency, the National Cancer Institute Surgical Oncology Program and The Johns Hopkins Hospital’s endocrine surgery fellowship program. She specializes in the surgical management of benign and malignant diseases of the thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal glands and cervical lymph nodes. Dr. Mathur is now seeing patients at the Sibley Medical Office Building at the convenience of your patients. She specializes in the surgical treatment of the following conditions: ■ Thyroid


■ Thyroid



Parathyroid disorders

■ Adrenal


To learn more or request an appointment: 1-855-88-HOPKINS (U.S. Toll-Free) +1-410-502-7683 (International) PromiseofMedicine.org

Aarti Mathur, M.D.

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Shayma Kazmi, M.D., RPh Dr. Shayma Kazmi is a Medical Oncologist and Hematologist at Cancer Treatment Centers of AmericaŽ (CTCA) Eastern Regional Medical Center, located in Philadelphia. She began her career by receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy with High Honors from Rutgers University. As well as membership in multiple honor societies, she received the CVS Pharmaceutical Excellence Award and Excellence in Pathophysiology and Pharmacology Award. To prepare for a career in medicine, Dr. Kazmi immersed herself in research as a Society of Toxicology fellow and neurotoxicology research intern. Dr. Kazmi then received her Medical degree from Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. During her time as a medical student, Dr. Kazmi served as chairperson for the American Medical Student Association. She completed a residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ)-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. She finished her specialty fellowship training in Hematology/Oncology at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey where she also served as the Chief Fellow. She is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Throughout her career, Dr. Kazmi has written abstracts and conducted numerous cancer research studies.

To learn more or request an appointment: 1-215-537-6950 www.cancercenter.com

Shayma Kazmi, M.D., RPh


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MEDICAL EXPERTS Eric St. Clair, M.D., FAANS Board certified neurosurgeon Dr. Eric St. Clair leads the neurosurgical oncology program at Cancer Treatment Centers of America速 (CTCA) Eastern Regional Medical Center in Philadelphia as the Director of Neurosurgery. He works to address neurosurgical issues that can arise in a cancer patient, including both primary and metastatic brain and spine tumors. Dr. St. Clair earned his medical degree from the University of Illinois College of Medicine where he graduated with Alpha Omega Alpha honors. He then completed a residency, chief residency, and neurosurgical oncology fellowship at New York University Medical Center in New York City. He then completed a second neurosurgical oncology fellowship at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. In addition to his role at CTCA速, Dr. St. Clair serves as an assistant professor of neurosurgery at Temple University Medical Center in Philadelphia, where he teaches medical students and trains future neurosurgeons. He has presented on neurosurgical topics and served on expert panels at regional and national clinical conferences. He has also published on neurosurgical oncology topics in neurosurgical textbooks and journals such as Neurosurgery, Contemporary Neurosurgery and Youmans Neurological Surgery.

To learn more or request an appointment: 1-215-537-6950 www.cancercenter.com

Eric St. Clair, M.D., FAANS


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John G. Fernandez, M.D. Dr. John G. Fernandez earned a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Virginia in 1997 and completed a Doctor of Medicine at Temple University School of Medicine in 2003. He completed a research fellowship in Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery at Memorial SloanKettering Cancer Center from 2006 to 2007. He also completed a two-year residency in Plastic Surgery at the University of Tennessee College Of Medicine in 2011, followed by a fellowship in Microvascular & Reconstructive Surgery at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center from 2011 to 2012. He is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Dr. Fernandez joined Cancer Treatment Centers of America速 (CTCA) in October 2014. At CTCA he provides plastic & reconstructive surgery, specializing in microsurgery. Using advanced techniques, Dr. Fernandez works with cancer patients to restore function and appearance following surgery.

To learn more or request an appointment: 1-215-537-6950 www.cancercenter.com

John G. Fernandez, M.D. Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon

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Farzad Najam, M.D. Dr. Farzad Najam serves as the director of cardiac surgery and assistant clinical professor of cardiac surgery at The George Washington University Hospital. Board-certified in thoracic surgery and general surgery, he specializes in cardiac surgery and has expertise in minimally invasive approaches for minimally invasive aortic valve replacement and surgery for atrial fibrillation, valvular heart disease, thoracic aortic diseases and heart failure. Dr. Najam earned his medical degree at King Edward College in Pakistan. He attended the Brooklyn Hospital Center/New York University where he was an intern and a second-year resident in surgery. He served as chief resident at Morristown Memorial Hospital (surgery), The George Washington University Medical Center (cardiothoracic surgery) and the Cleveland Clinic Foundation’s Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery. Dr. Najam served as diplomat of both the American Board of Thoracic Surgery and the American Board of Surgery. He is involved with the Thoracic Surgery Residents Association, Candidate Group of the American College of Surgeons and the Society for Critical Medical Care.

To learn more or request an appointment: 1-202-715-5028 www.gwhospital.com/international

Farzad Najam, M.D.


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The International Patient Program at the George Washington University Hospital Caring for Our Diplomats and International Community We provide a boutique concierge program that offers personalized healthcare services for diplomats, international patients, and U.S. and non-U.S. citizens. The International Patient Program can help you and your family with: • Complimentary language interpretation • Physician and hospital appointment scheduling • A complimentary personal escort to medical appointments • Medical cost estimates

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Physicians are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of the George Washington University Hospital. The hospital shall not be liable for actions or treatments provided by physicians. 161355

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Letter From



Today’s headlines around security threats frequently call out terrorism and porous borders as the gravest dangers. However, that’s far from the full picture. The Nuclear Security Summit, recently held in Washington, D.C., underscored how quickly, with just an apple-sized piece of plutonium, one rogue nation or group could have the world at its mercy. Our article delves into the summit’s outcomes and modest gains. This issue’s royal coverage centers on Obama’s recent visit to Britain’s royal family where one of its youngest members, Prince George, grabbed media attention around the world for his attire. It wasn’t a fashion-forward runwaylook that had everyone talking — but his little cotton bathrobe he wore while greeting POTUS. Speaking of POTUS, the White House Correspondents’ Dinner is one of the only events that takes comedic shots at the President in (mostly) good fun. Diplomatic Connections reviews the night and the atmosphere at Obama’s eighth and final Correspondents’ Dinner as President. While his presidency is in its final months, Obama continues to handle a full schedule as Commander-in-Chief. At a recent mini-summit in Europe, he acknowledged that the continent is embattled economically while struggling with one of the largest humanitarian crises in memory. His words were uplifting and proved that Europe must not doubt itself, but continue to be a model for the world. We have the full report on all the topics discussed at this critical summit. Next, we take a look at a nation’s seismic diplomatic shift many of us never thought we’d see in our lifetimes. Relations with Cuba appear to be changing tact. The rift that began during the time of the Eisenhower White House is finally thawing. We’re there as the isolated isle welcomes Obama, Western rock music enters stage right and diplomatic relations gain positive traction. After his trip to Cuba, Obama flew to Buenos Aires in an effort to solder cracks in Argentine relations that can be traced back decades ago to when the U.S. backed repressive governments there. In the final months of Obama’s presidency, this trip marks another effort to extend an olive branch towards nations where the U.S. has had historically fractious relations. We provide a succinct overview of this visit and the power behind it. For those who have thought that a vacation to Cuba could never make it from the wish list to the to-do list, our own Monica Frim takes a jaunt to Havana. By following Hemingway’s storied trail to many a fabled drinking hole while taking in the beautiful decay of old mansions and monuments, she offers practical travel tips for this hypnotic city. I must also take this opportunity to thank Ambassador Araud for his incredible hospitality at the April 12 International Diplomatic Appreciation ReceptionTM at the Embassy of France. With more than 400 attendees, it was truly a night to remember.

Diplomatic EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Dawn Parker ASSISTANTS TO THE EDITOR Ashley Gatewood Lauren Peace BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT EXECUTIVES Evan Strianese, Scott Goss, Evelyne Ustarroz DESIGN & CREATIVE Betty Watson CONTRIBUTING DESIGNER Larry Smith DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENTS and CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Roland Flamini, James Winship, PhD, Monica Frim EVENT COORDINATOR ASSISTANTS Victoria Akosile, Sarah Albright and Ms. Abby

To contact an advertising executive CALL: 202.536.4810 EMAIL: info@diplomaticconnections.com DIPLOMATIC CONNECTIONS WEBSITE DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT IMS (Inquiry Management Systems) 304 Park Avenue South, 11th Floor New York, NY 10010 Marc Highbloom, Vice President marc@ims.ca Maria D’Urso, Project Manager Mariad@ims.ca CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHY Christophe Avril; Dr. John Frim; Paula Morrision To order photos from the events go to: www.diplomaticconnections.com Send any name or address changes in writing to: Diplomatic Connections 4410 Massachusetts Avenue / #200 Washington, DC 20016 Diplomatic Connections Business Edition is published bi-monthly. Diplomatic Connections does not endorse any of the goods or services offered herein this publication. Copyright 2016 by Diplomatic Connections All rights reserved.

Enjoy reading this issue and have a wonderful start to your summer. Warmest regards, Dawn Parker, Publisher Diplomatic Connections 14

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Cover photo credits: Pearce, Joe Raedle/Getty Images; Albright, Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Yahoo; Pelosi, Dimitrios Kambouris/ VF16/WireImage; Nuclear Summit, Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images; Cuba, STR/AFP/Getty Images; Queen Elizabeth II, Annie Leibovitz via Getty Images

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Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

President Obama hosts a plenary session during the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C. on April 1, 2016.


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In 2009 in Prague, Barack Obama announced “a new international effort to secure all vulnerable nuclear material around the world within four years.” The aim was to ensure that none of the more than 2,000 tons of weapons-grade, highly enriched uranium (HEU) and plutonium ended up in terrorists’ hands. What followed was a series of Nuclear Security Summits successively in Washington (2010), Seoul (2012), Amsterdam (2014) and again in Washington this April, even as recent terrorist attacks and the persistent menace of ISIS extremism added urgency to the warning. D I P L O M AT I C C O N N E C T I O N S B U S I N E S S E D I T I O N | M AY – J U N E 2 0 1 6


Addressing world leaders at the summit, Obama warned that “madmen” could kill and maim hundreds of thousands of innocent people if they got their hands on “just the smallest amount of plutonium — about the size of an apple. That,” said the President, “is Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

one of the greatest threats to global security.” Addressing world leaders at the summit, Obama warned that “madmen” could kill and maim hundreds

are trying to put right. This is a summit about something

of thousands of innocent people if they got their hands

we are trying to prevent.”

on “just the smallest amount of plutonium — about the


with things that have already gone wrong and [that] we

One thing is clear following the fourth, and possibly

size of an apple. That,” said the President, “is one of the

last, summit — the initiative has failed to meet its self-

greatest threats to global security.” Belgian investigators

imposed four-year deadline. Furthermore, the consensus

found video evidence that two of the terrorists involved in

on the last meeting is that it did little to further the global

the March Brussels bombings had secretly filmed the head

nuclear security architecture, and it turned out to be more

of Belgium’s nuclear research and development program’s

in the nature of a tribute to Obama’s initiative at the end

daily routine. Belgian media said the two had considered

of his second presidency. Two conspicuous absences, Russia

an attack on a nuclear site in that country.

(the state with the biggest nuclear arsenal) and Iran, were

Commenting on the summit, British Prime Minister

seen to have contributed to the lack of momentum, the

David Cameron said, “So many summits are about dealing

former reflecting increasingly strained relations between

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President Obama and other world leaders take part in the Nuclear Security Summit family photo at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on April 1, 2016 in Washington, D.C.

Moscow and Washington. Iran was not invited to take part

the security issue without enlarging the scope to include

despite its recent commitment to halt its weapons-grade

nuclear disarmament and other related issues.

uranium enrichment program.

This is one reason why the emphasis has been on

But the process has its defenders who argue that

securing uranium for commercial use and in scientific

progress has been made and should be continued. “The

and university laboratories. Uranium in military hands is

summit process has been largely successful in reducing

presumably involved in the larger political questions such

the risk posed by nuclear terrorism,” said Kingston Reif,

as nuclear disarmament. In addition, nuclear materials

the Arms Control Association’s Director of Disarmament

under military control should, by definition, be more secure

and Threat Reduction Policy. For one thing, the process

from theft. That said, 14 countries have voluntarily given

has focused high-level global attention on the problem.

up their weapons-grade enriched uranium since Ukraine

Six years ago 47 leaders attended the first Washington

was included in the 2012 summit, two years before Russia’s

summit; while 53 were present at the most recent one.

Crimean land grab, thereby removing a potentially major

Observers point out that the meetings managed to stick to

danger from the ensuing conflict.

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Dennis Brack-Pool/Getty Images

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan greets President Park Geun-Hye of the Republic of Korea as President Obama looks on during a meeting at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C. World leaders gathered for a two-day conference that addressed a range of issues including ongoing efforts to prevent terrorist groups from accessing nuclear material.

In addition, 24 research reactors and isotope facilities that had previously used weapons-grade fuel have either

stocks of HEU. By 2014, “summit fatigue” had slowed down

been shut down or converted to using lower enriched

the momentum. Since then only one state, Uzbekistan, has

uranium. Security has been heightened at other commercial

removed its nuclear materials.

reactors in at least a dozen more countries, and 31 facilities storing fissile materials have also upgraded their security. But 24 states still hold large quantities of highly


Pakistan and the United Kingdom actually increased their

At the root of the problem was the fact that security standards set by the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) were voluntary. A system was

enriched nuclear material that could be used for bomb-

needed that would impose those standards and hold states

making, with the United States and Russia in the lead.

accountable for their nuclear security commitments. The

In addition, India, Japan, the Netherlands, North Korea,

summit did agree on what it called “action plans”

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for each of the five international organizations and

President Park Guen-hye and assured them of the U.S.’

initiatives (the UN, the IAEA, Interpol, the Global Initiative

continued commitment to their defense. This followed a

to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT) and Partners Against

statement by Republican presidential candidate Donald

the Spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction) working to

Trump that Japan and South Korea should consider arming

ensure nuclear security. The final communiqué went on

themselves with nuclear weapons. Obama also had

to say that adherence by individual states would be “on a

separate talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, urging him

voluntary basis.”

to use Beijing’s influence to restrain North Korea. In January,

A special session devoted to ISIS was designed to test the preparedness of individual countries to handle a terrorist attack. Participants were told what sounded like

Pyongyang detonated a nuclear device and launched a long-range rocket a month later. “Among those attending there’s a bittersweet feeling

the synopsis of a Hollywood movie, in which a radioactive

that this may be the last [summit] for a while,” Jim Walsh,

material had been stolen from a hospital and sold to a

Research Associate at the Massachusetts Institute of

global terrorist network. The terrorists planned to use a

Technology, was quoted as saying after the summit. “It’s

drone to launch a deadly “dirty bomb” in an urban setting.

hard to build an international regime in six or eight years.”

Film footage was used to illustrate the narrative, and

A nuclear-free world had been one of Obama’s campaign

Obama then urged world leaders to think about how they

commitments, so whatever progress has been made is part

would respond if it played out in reality.

of his legacy. In reality, though, whether it continues will

On the sidelines of the main event Obama also had key meetings on Asian security issues. Obama met with

depend almost entirely on the next president of the United States.

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean

President Obama and China’s President Xi Jinping take part in a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C.

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Department of State/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

United States Secretary of State John Kerry hosts dinner for ministers at Nuclear Security Summit in Washington on March 31, 2016.

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Bathrobe Diplomacy: Obamas Meet the Fourth Generation of the British Royal Family and Prince George Steals the Show

No future monarch could have done a better job of winning the hearts and minds of his potential

subjects, affirming a special relationship with the First Family of the United States or earning the affection of people around the globe than did His Royal Highness Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge. Though he is not quite three years old, the young Prince thoroughly upstaged his parents, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and very nearly pushed POTUS and FLOTUS out of the spotlight. Prince George is one of the few future heads of state permitted to meet the Obamas in his robe and pajamas. Then again, he is also one of the few international figures who had to get special permission from his parents, William and Kate, to stay up 15 minutes past his bedtime to greet President and Mrs. Obama on their visit to Kensington Palace for an informal dinner! Special dispensation to stay up late was granted so that Prince George might mount his rocking horse, a gift from the Obamas at his birth, and express his thanks for their thoughtfulness. That trusted stead, shown in the photographs, came complete with a pint-sized polo mallet that the Prince might begin learning his equestrian skills early and includes a saddle emblazoned with the Presidential Seal.


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The young prince and Westacre Montessori School Nursery student is also one of the few heirs to a throne to have such a pronounced economic impact on his country as already to have had a marketing phenomenon named for him. The “Prince George Effect” describes the instantaneous attention and, often enough, the buying frenzy generated whenever the Prince displays any new fashion item in a public appearance. Indeed, the monogrammed white robe with blue gingham trim he wore to greet the Obamas, made by My 1st Years, sold out on the company’s website within minutes after the first photos of Prince George with the Obamas appeared. Following Prince George’s bedtime, President and Mrs. Obama enjoyed an informal evening with Prince continued on page 36

Ranald Mackechnie/Royal Mail/Getty Images

(L-R) Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince George and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge pose during a Royal Mail photoshoot for a stamp sheet to mark the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II in the White Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace in London, England.

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Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Obama with First Lady Michelle Obama meet Prince George at Kensington Palace in London on April 22, 2016. The Obamas gave Prince George the rocking horse he is sitting on in this picture as a gift at the time of his birth.

The “Prince George Effect” describes the instantaneous attention and, often enough, the buying frenzy generated whenever the Prince displays any new fashion item in a public appearance. Indeed, the monogrammed white robe with blue gingham trim he wore to greet the Obamas, made by My 1st Years, sold out on the company’s website within minutes after the first photos of Prince George with the Obamas appeared. Prince George was allowed to stay up 15 minutes past his bedtime in order to greet President and Mrs. Obama on their visit to Kensington Palace for an informal dinner with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.


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Chris Radburn - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Prince Harry, President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge pose as they attend a dinner at Kensington Palace on April 22, 2016 in London, England. The President and his wife were on a brief visit to the UK where they attended lunch with HM Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle and later had dinner with Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge at Kensington Palace. Mr. Obama visited 10 Downing Street that same afternoon and held a joint press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron where he stated his case for the UK to remain inside the European Union.

William and his wife Catherine as well as with Prince Harry, meeting together for the first time with the three young Royals as a group. Michelle Obama has worked closely with Catherine on children’s mental health issues. She has also collaborated with Prince Harry on his Invictus Games, promoting athletic competitions between wounded warriors and providing assistance to all veterans and their families. The President has worked closely with both Prince William and Prince Harry in their efforts to bring an end to illegal trade in wildlife parts and protect irreplaceable species.


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Prior to his session with Prince George, President Obama filled out his schedule with a luncheon with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip at Windsor Castle to celebrate her 90th birthday. The President presented a gift of an album displaying photos of the Queen’s visits to the United States and described her as “an astounding person and a jewel to the world.” Following the luncheon, Obama helicoptered back to London for meetings and a press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Annie Leibovitz via Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II with her five great-grandchildren and her two youngest grandchildren in the Green Drawing Room, part of Windsor Castle’s semi-State apartments. The children are: James, Viscount Severn (left), 8, and Lady Louise (second left), 12, the children of The Earl and Countess of Wessex; Mia Tindall (holding The Queen’s handbag), the two year-old-daughter of Zara and Mike Tindall; Savannah (third right), 5, and Isla Phillips (right), 3, daughters of The Queen’s eldest grandson Peter Phillips and his wife Autumn; Prince George (second right), 2, and in The Queen’s arms and in the tradition of Royal portraiture, the youngest great-grandchild, Princess Charlotte (11 months), children of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on April 20, 2016 in Buckingham Palace to mark her 90th birthday. D I P L O M AT I C C O N N E C T I O N S B U S I N E S S E D I T I O N | M AY – J U N E 2 0 1 6


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Maja Hitij - Pool /Getty Images

German Chancellor Angela Merkel meets with President Obama, French President Francois Hollande, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi at Herrenhausen Palace on April 25, 2016 in Hanover, Germany.

European Unity is Under Strain:

Obama Meets With Key European Leaders to Reinforce the Transatlantic Relationship By James A. Winship, Ph.D.


resident Obama’s recent travels in Europe, which included face-to-face meetings with the leaders of Germany, France, Italy and the United Kingdom, were referred to as a farewell visit by some commentators — but that is far from the truth. Instead, Obama was on a very specific mission to shore up the unity of Europe in the face of a series of challenges that threaten to disintegrate the long sought and hard won community of Europe that has been built in the aftermath of World War II and the collapse of communism. The very idea of EUROPE, as expressed in the NATO Alliance and the European Union (both now with 28 members), is at risk from multiple threats. These have fed the fears of diverse European peoples and fanned the flames of political movements ranging from populism to opposition to globalization to ultranationalism in both Europe and the United States. Though the immediate catalyst for these movements that threaten the unity of Europe was the terrorist attacks


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on Paris and Brussels, the underlying causes are cumulative and of much longer standing. Waves of immigration dramatized by the recent influx of refugees from Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe feed xenophobic sentiments in many European states. The slow recovery of European economies and a growing wariness of the impact of foreign trade have limited incomes, been blamed for rising unemployment and forced the imposition of economic austerity regimes. Rising Islamophobia as a response to terror threats fuels calls for more aggressive policing and deepens a spreading sense of public insecurity. Uncertainty about how to respond to the renewed national assertiveness of Russia and Vladimir Putin, as well as the specific threat posed to Ukraine recalls Cold War tensions and poses potential new border conflicts. Other security issues include the rise of the Islamic State and instability across North Africa and the Gulf region. And all this is happening while the world grapples with the festering conflict in Syria as well as the future of Iran and its place in the regional and global communities.

Even this list is hardly exhaustive, but it serves to dramatize both the complexity of international relations at this moment and the intricate ways foreign policy and domestic politics intertwine. The most immediate concern the European leaders and the American President discussed was “Brexit,” the impending British referendum, scheduled for June 23, which will decide whether Britain leaves or remains in the European Union. Also of immediate concern was the surge of refugees into Europe and whether the fragile deal made with the Turkish government to hold refugees in Turkey in order to relieve the pressure on Europe will actually work. Several strategic concerns were discussed as well. The most immediate was how to expand and improve intelligence sharing among the European states to deal with terrorism more effectively. But, concerns about European states taking on a larger share of common defense costs, about stabilizing Libya and Iraq, and about dealing with the dual problems of the Bashir Assad regime and Russia’s role in Syria were also of deep concern. More basic questions dealing with a proposed trade agreement, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between Europe and the United States, and cooperation on

climate change were also on the agenda of the closed-door mini-summit. Obama summed up his mission in a final speech delivered in Hannover, Germany, but billed as an “Address to the People of Europe.” His words couldn’t have been more pointed. “What happens on this continent,” the President insisted, “has consequences for people around the globe. If a unified, peaceful, liberal, pluralistic, freemarket Europe begins to doubt itself, begins to question the progress that’s been made over the last several decades, then we will be empowering those who argue that democracy can’t work, that intolerance and tribalism and organizing ourselves along ethnic lines, and authoritarianism and restrictions on the press are the only effective responses to the challenges we face.” “I come to the heart of Europe,” Obama concluded, “to say that the United States and the entire world need a strong, prosperous, democratic and united Europe.” To sharpen the point, he drove home a critical insistence: the current generation of terrorists “will learn the same lesson as others before them have, which is: your hatred is no match for our nations united in defense of our way of life.”



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TM INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMAT APPRECIATION RECEPTION • APRIL 12, 2016 • EMBASSY OF FRANCE Diplomatic Connections would like to formally thank the

Embassy of France for their most valued and highly-esteemed collaboration

H.E. Gérard Araud, Ambassador of France to the United States

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President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro review the troops at the Revolution Palace in Havana on March 21, 2016. President Obama and his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro met in Havana’s Palace of the Revolution for ground-breaking talks on ending the standoff between the two neighbors.


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A year ago it would have been almost impossible for the people of Cuba to imagine a week that began with a visit from the President of the United States and ended with a free concert by Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones . . . with a major league-level baseball game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban National Team in between. There’s no question that the Obama visit was an historic occasion, but there’s also no doubt it was upstaged by the Stones. The rock group drew a multi-generational Cuban crowd along with a substantial contingent of international fans and historyin-the-making voyeurs estimated to exceed 500,000.





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Official White House Photo by Pete Souza


urturing a new relationship between Cuba Just as these vintage cars are relics of another time, and the United States is no easy task after President Obama suggested, so too is the adversarial more than 50 years of Cold War estrangement. relationship between the United States and Cuba a relic Diplomatic initiative is curbed by the Castro brothers, serial of another time. For him to come to Cuba, he noted, “We Cuban Presidents Fidel and Raul, and the remnants of had to travel a great distance, over barriers of history and their repressive regime that seems determined to keep ideology; barriers of pain and separation. As the decades the Cuban Revolution alive with the United States as its rolled by our governments settled into a seemingly endless enduring foe. The Obama overture to normalize relations confrontation, fighting battles through proxies. I have with Cuba is fettered by the politics of the Cuban exile come here to bury the last remnant of the Cold War in community in the United States. That exile community the Americas.” is itself divided. Some celebrate the new possibilities of Simply put, said Obama, “What the United States was visiting family and helping to rebuild the Cuban economy. doing was not working. A policy of isolation designed for Others cling to a nostalgic memory of a romanticized Cuba the Cold War made little sense in the 21st century. Cuba that almost never was, harbor a lasting resentment against doesn’t have to be defined by being against the United the impact of the Castro Revolution on their parents’ States, any more than the United States should be defined generation, and aspire to reclaim a new Cuba by being against Cuba. Since 1959,” Obama insisted, that harbors democracy, free enterprise “we’ve been shadow boxers in this battle of geopolitics and and economic growth. personalities. I know the history, but Cuba exists in a Cold War time I refuse to be trapped by it.” warp offering a wormhole passage “Cultivo una Rosa Blanca” . . . between 1959, when the regime “I Have a White Rose to Tend” of Fulgencio Batista was toppled The bulk of the Obama visit by the Castro Revolution, passing to Cuba, despite the shadow of through repeated ideological the terrorist attacks in Brussels, confrontations starting with the Bay represented a cautious diplomatic of Pigs (1961), the Cuban Missile tango with the new partners Crisis (1962) and the persistent alternately seducing and distancing irritant of the American base at each other. Both President Raul Guantanamo Bay. In this second President Obama and National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice talk on Castro and President Obama came to decade of the 21st century, Fidel the phone with Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco to receive their meetings with fixed agendas Castro has handed off the presidency an update on a terrorist attack in Brussels, Belgium. The President of concern. On the one hand, made the call from the residence of the U.S. Chief of Mission in to his brother Raul and retired from Havana, Cuba, March 22, 2016. Castro insistently asserted Cuban active political life . . . but has not sovereignty and reiterated two primary themes: end the gone away. American economic embargo of Cuba and the return of the “illegally occupied” Guantanamo Bay Naval Base from Relics of Another Era United States’ to Cuban control. Still Castro returned to the Nowhere is that Cold War time warp more visible common theme of the visit, “We should learn the art of cothan in the 1950s vintage American cars that populate the existing with our differences in a civilized manner.” streets of Havana. Want to see a ’56 Chevy or reminisce Obama, on the other hand, pointedly recalled a poem about Studebakers? Go to Cuba. by Cuban literary and revolutionary hero José Marti, whose These are not reproductions or restored junkers. These mantle of liberal humanity is claimed by both the Castro are the cars that were on the streets of Havana when Revolution and its opponents. Entitled in translation, “I the revolution came. Castro’s Cuba cut off imports of U.S. Have a White Rose to Tend,” the poet offers a white rose, vehicles in 1959, and the United States’ economic embargo a symbol of love and concern, not only to his “true friend” of the island made spare parts impossible to find. but also to “the cruel one whose blows break the heart by

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

which I live.” Citing Marti and this poem was not only a gesture of reconciliation on the part of the United States but also an effort to touch the spiritual and nationalist heart of the Cuban people. This was a theme of Obama’s remarks throughout the Cuba visit — his abiding faith in the capabilities of the Cuban people, a faith expressed rhetorically in his words and symbolically in his actions. He repeatedly stressed the many things the Cuban and American people share — a love of sports, especially La Pelota (baseball); a deep faith nurtured for many by shared Catholic traditions; a profound love of family and a deep emotionally held sense of patriotism. He repeated the phrase, “I believe in the Cuban people,” a delicate way of critiquing the excesses of the Castro regime, multiple times on multiple occasions. Obama’s schedule included not only the formal state visits with President Castro and his government ministers but also many visits intended to reach out to the Cuban people. Obama brought his wife, daughters and mother-in-law, along with an entourage of several hundred political, business and non-governmental leaders to Cuba. The schedule listed visits to Old Havana, including the central cathedral, a wreathlaying at the José Marti Memorial, meetings with small-scale Cuban business owners as well as with dissidents and civil society leaders, and that baseball game. Michelle Obama, aided by journalist Soledad O’Brien, whose mother is Cuban, held a meeting to discuss girls’ education and the First Lady’s “Let Girls Learn” initiative with Cuban students. And, some of the most charming informal moments of the visit were provided by the Obama daughters, especially when Malia, soon to be heading off to college after growing up in the White House, used her Friends School Spanish language training to help her father through a series of off-the-cuff interactions.

(L-R) Malia, Sasha and U.S. first lady Michelle Obama react to the first run scored during an exhibition game between the Cuban national baseball team and Major League Baseball’s Tampa Bay Devil Rays at the Estado Latinoamericano March 22, 2016 in Havana, Cuba.

President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro visit during an exhibition game between the Cuban national team and the Major League Baseball team Tampa Bay Devil Rays at the Estado Latinoamericano March 22, 2016 in Havana, Cuba. This is the first time a sittng president has visited Cuba in 88 years.

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Tampa Bay Rays Steve Pearce dives safely into third base during the exhibition game between the Cuban national team and the Tampa Bay Rays of the Major League Baseball at the Estado Latinoamericano March 22, 2016 in Havana, Cuba. 62

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Tampa Bay Rays Steve Pearce dives safely into third base during the exposition game between the Cuban national team and the Tampa Bay Rays of the Major League Baseball at the Estado Latinoamericano March 22, 2016 in Havana, Cuba.

Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Sven Creutzmann/Mambo photo/Getty Images

It’s Only Rock and Roll . . . Aged Cultural Diplomacy While President Obama’s initiatives to reset diplomatic, economic and cultural relations between the United States and Cuba were controversial in some circles, there is no question that the visit to Havana two days later by the Rolling Stones was a cultural tour de force. Just as President Obama used Cuba’s seemingly eternal fleet of vintage American cars as evidence of the Cuban people’s ingenuity, the poster for the Rolling Stones Havana concert used the same icon — the big fins and multiple tail lights of a two-toned pink and cream vintage Chrysler — as the symbol for Mick Jagger and the gang coming to Cuba. The Stones concert in Havana may not have been the equivalent of the Berlin Wall coming down. However, it certainly represented a cultural breakthrough indicative of the widening cracks of individual and cultural freedom that the Cuban regime is allowing to erode the overwhelming authority of the state. The free rock concert attracted an enormous crowd of several hundred thousand people and resoundingly brought to an end an era when the Castro regime denounced rock ‘n’ roll as subversive and decadent. The Havana concert came at the end of the Stones “Olé” Latin America tour, which included concerts in Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, Argentina and Mexico. The opportunity for the Stones to play in Cuba represented a cultural landmark that emphasized Cuba’s integration into the broader Latin American community. The concert, like the energetically aging members of the band themselves, represented vintage Rolling Stones. The performance kicked off with “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” and included hits like “Midnight Rambler” and “Gimme Shelter,” before wrapping up with “Brown Sugar.” For the Cuban crowd it was a trip into what they hope the future of Cuba might be like.

Tampa Bay Rays players carry Cuban children prior to a friendly baseball game against the Cuban National team, in the Cuban in the Estadio Latinoamericano, on March 22, 2016 in Havana, Cuba. President Obama attended the game and is the first sitting president who has visited Cuba in 88 years.

Dayron Varona #67 of the Tampa Bay Rays greets a Cuban player after the game against the Cuban National team at Estadio Latinoamericano on Tuesday, March 22, 2016 in Havana, Cuba.

Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Reflections on Change Let the last word be President Obama’s, “We can’t force change on any particular country. Ultimately it has to come from within, then that is going to be a more useful strategy than the same kinds of rigid disengagement that for 50 years did nothing.” The Rolling Stones offered a more artistic version of that thought in their classic encores, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” The Cuban crowd loudly joined Mick Jagger in the latter refrain before he could get the words out of his mouth. Of such things is a new diplomatic relationship made.

Steve Getz #54 of the Tampa Bay Rays makes children laugh in the dugout. D I P L O M AT I C C O N N E C T I O N S B U S I N E S S E D I T I O N | M AY – J U N E 2 0 1 6


The Rolling Stones perform during their concert at Ciudad Deportiva on March 25, 2016 in Havana, Cuba. This photo

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displays the magnitude of the crowd attending.


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The Rolling Stones backstage before their concert at Ciudad Deportiva on March 25, 2016 in Havana, Cuba.

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H AV A N A ’ S


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President Obama’s car is seen at Jose Marti Internationl Airport on March 22, 2016 in Havana, Cuba. Mr. Obama’s visit was the first in nearly 90 years for a sitting president, the last one being Calvin Coolidge.


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As one of the world’s greatest yet most isolated cities, Havana is on the brink of transition, opening up guardedly to the 21st century and the outside world. As Monica Frim follows Hemingway’s trail through La Habana Vieja and the surrounding suburbs, she encounters fanciful “People’s Art” displays, colonial mansions in the process of restoration, enchanting city squares and old fortifications laden with history. An atmosphere of hope pervades the city as Habañeros stake their expectations of a better future on the impending reconcilement between Cuba and the United States.

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uba is in flux. Its capital, Havana, sits like a management company called Habaguanex that shrewdly brooding dowager on the brink of a surgical funnels the profits into social initiatives and renovation make-over. One must keep up appearances, projects. It’s a slow process that started in Habana Vieja you know. Not only because the world’s most powerful (old Havana) and is still radiating outwards. Inch by leader recently made history by being the first American inch the cobblestone streets are being relaid, and the sitting president to visit the Communist state, nor because flaking facades of the dilapidated buildings that look over the Rolling Stones were the first mainstream rock group the historical parks and squares are being propped up, to bring once prohibited western music to the island, but scrubbed and polished in a surge of economic optimism because there’s a long waiting list of potential American that coincides with the U.S.-Cuban détente and expected visitors who want to see for themselves what they’ve influx of Americans. missed out on since the Castro regime came to power Most Americans know Cuba only through hearsay and in 1959. their own imaginations. Stereotypical visions of classic When the United States ceased American cars, Cuban cigars, flashy diplomatic relations with Cuba in cabarets and the raucous sounds of 1961, it left the island in a time Reggaeton and salsa cubana tell but a warp. While Fidel Castro turned his limited story of a country that’s flailing attention toward beefing up the for change. Even the people who qualify poverty-stricken countryside, the to visit Cuba under the 12 governmentcolonial capital of Havana became approved reasons can’t help but feel the sacrificial lamb of the socialist somewhat perplexed. Suspended state. Beautiful colonial mansions between past and present, Havana were left to crumble and collapse as baffles as much as it entertains. Castro put an end to the polarization Despite the derelict buildings, the of wealth that existed under Batista. city’s former grandeur and elegance still Universal access to free education shine through. Mansions boast wroughtand healthcare, and an equitable iron details, soaring arches and painted distribution of shelter and food, tile floors even though, structurally, ensured that the campesinos were the buildings themselves may be on no longer starving, but neither was the verge of collapse. Leafy public anyone sated. Perpetual shortages squares dotted with statues of dead The Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (Museum of Fine Arts). of even the most basic necessities revolutionaries provide shady meeting resulted in unbiased deprivation that kept the entire points for young and old; old forts and museums tell of country a backwater. bygone battles and other eventful historical moments; Now Cuba is on the brink of another transition, one and artsy neighborhoods dotted with renovated cafes, that merges Communism with small-c capitalism, and restaurants and modern galleries give rise to a vibrant Havana is blazing the trail. The past twenty or so years street life that hints of hope and transformation. have seen hotels, shops and restaurants One very inspired neighborhood is the open under the umbrella of barrio of Lawton in the south of Havana, a state-owned touristwhere dilapidated


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The streets of Havana are a veritable car museum. Somehow resourceful Habañeros keep vintage cars running despite the difficulties of getting replacement parts. (After the U.S. embargo of Cuba in 1960, all imports stopped.)

buildings with broken walls and peeling paint give way to a street exhibition full of fanciful art creations made of brilliantly painted garbage. Known as Muraleando, a four-by-two-block section of the city has been turned into a blaze of colorful murals and outdoor sculptures made of old wheel rims, broken typewriters, bulldozer tracks, sewing machine parts, metal chair legs and whatever components can be found or rescued after they’ve outlived their original purpose. Here nothing gets thrown away. The entire community works together to weld, paint and glue found objects into whimsical art projects that give everyone a sense of hope and purpose. Even an abandoned concrete

water tank has been revamped and repurposed as a colorful community center. Appropriately named El Tanque, it also functions as a gallery, workshop, theater, dance and music studio. Artists from all over the world conduct workshops in myriad art forms, from ceramics to puppetry. Justin Thompson was first to leave an American imprint: he painted two large murals of Snoopy, one next to the bus stop, another at the entrance to El Tanque, which, in a way, makes the beloved beagle America’s first unofficial ambassador to post-revolutionary Cuba.

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Murale A telephone pole, carved and painted like a totem.

The Obelisko Amistad (Friendship Obelisk) encourages visitors to ask for world peace as they circle the column.

Decidedly, Cuba and America have a long love-hate relationship that goes back to colonial times. Following Christopher Columbus’s discovery of the island in 1492, Cuba spent four centuries as Spain’s portal to the New World. But by the end of the 19th century, a growing nationalism set the stage for bloody battles that eventually led to the island’s independence in 1899. American troops were key players in bringing stability to the new country and in paving the way to economic prosperity. Money from the United States streamed across the Straits of Florida to bankroll hotels, restaurants, casinos and nightclubs, creating a perfect environment for opportunistic politicians and artful gangsters. Of course, the high times couldn’t last. As the corruption and social injustices reached their apex under General Fulgencio Batista’s government in the 1950’s, the gap between rich and poor escalated. It was in this atmosphere that a young Fidel Castro was able to organize the resistance that forced Batista to flee. When Castro subsequently stood fast with the Communist Soviet Union and proceeded to nationalize private property, much of it owned by Americans, the United States initiated the trade and tourist embargo that is now in the process of being dismantled.


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El Tanque: The old water tank in Lawton repurposed as an art gallery.

Though the Cuban-American estrangement bred more than half a century of bitterness and grudge, Cuba never wavered in its respect for one of America’s most cherished writers. Hemingway’s haunts—the bars and restaurants he frequented and immortalized in his fiction, and the hotel where he lived and penned some of his best literary works—were among the first to be chosen for renovation by the Office of the City Historian, a state department of architects and planners, that counts prioritizing renovations among its functions. Naturally the establishments most conducive to tourism and economic development topped the list. Fortunately for visitors, Hemingway’s favorite watering holes are all within easy walking distance of each other. On Havana’s busiest shopping street, a pedestrian mall called Calle Obispo, you can literally sidle up to Papa himself—or rather his double in bronze—leaning on the dark mahogany bar of, reputedly, his favorite bar-restaurant, El Floridita. It seems that even in death Hemingway holds court over a loyal following that’s willing to pay outrageous prices for daiquiris simply because Papa eulogized both the drink and the bar in his novel Islands in the Stream. It’s said that he kept an extra drinking cup in El Floridita for the drive home

eando Locals ham it up for the camera in front of a sculpture made of rusty old typewriters and wheel rims.

Street art serves a practical purpose as a bench.

to Finca Vigia, his house on a hill overlooking Havana, about 10 miles south in the town of San Francisco de Paula. Hemingway moved there after Martha Gellhorn, his lover and eventual third wife, refused to live in the room that Hemingway occupied from 1932 to 1939 in the Ambos Mundos Hotel, although the hotel was conveniently located within staggering distance of El Floridita. There’s a sign in El Floridita with a quote attributed to Hemingway: “My mojito in the Bodeguita and my daiquiri in the Floridita.” While Hemingway’s biographer Philip Greene questions the sign’s authenticity (Hemingway may not have been a regular patron of la Bodeguita del Medio after all), it doesn’t stop fans from stopping in the barrestaurant for a dose of authentic Cuban atmosphere, a traditional meal or the Bodeguita’s signature mojito. Visitors are in good company. Among the Bodeguita’s famous patrons are Nat King Cole, Margaux Hemingway, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Pablo Neruda and Salvador Allende. As for the Ambos Mundos, there’s often a crowd of camera toting tourists in front of its coral-colored walls. Inside, Room 511, where Hemingway lived and wrote The Green Hills of Africa and Death in the Afternoon, has been

A mural of Snoopy by Justin Thompson greets visitors to El Tanque. Tanque.

The 19th century lighthouse at EL Morro Castle still guides ships. It is one of the oldest lighthouses in Cuba.

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The Hotel Ambos Mundos was Hemingway’s home for seven years.

turned into a museum, refurbished to look much as he left it but with the addition of a photo of Hemingway and Fidel Castro over the bed. Supposedly the two men met only once, in 1960, at a fishing contest held in Hemingway’s honor. There is much speculation about their relationship with some saying that Hemingway sympathized with the Revolution and others saying that he couldn’t care less. But with no solid evidence to support either argument, it seems that the greatest trait shared by the two men was the fact that they both had beards. Monica Frim toured Havana with Ricardo of Havana Journeys. WEBSITE: havanajourneys.com CONTACT: havanajourneys@gmail.com


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From Ambos Mundos it’s a short walk to Sloppy Joe’s, the model for Freddy’s Bar in Hemingway’s To Have and Have Not. Renovated in 2013, Sloppy Joe’s teems with photographs of celebrities such as Frank Sinatra, Ava Gardner and Joe Louis. It also boasts flavorful burgers and piña coladas that taste way better than the watered-down versions served at Cuba’s all-inclusive resorts. Throughout Havana the ghost of Hemingway lingers in the streets and in the sea, where one can imagine him watching over fishermen and their catches. It hovers southeast of Habana Viejo and over the diesel-fumed suburb of San Francisco de Paula where Hemingway’s last home in Cuba, Finca Vigía, provides stupendous views that stretch all the way to Havana. It’s here that one can truly absorb the Hemingway mystique. Nestled among mango trees, bougainvillea and jacarandas, the breezy, Spanishcolonial house is so faithfully preserved, that one can almost picture Hemingway standing among his trophies and roughly 9,000 books. One can peer into every room, at desks that Hemingway never sat at (he always stood while writing), the sofa that Clark Gable reputedly slept on, pictures of bull fights, and mounted heads of beasts from his African safaris. Reportedly the British author Graham Greene once commented, “I don’t know how a writer could write surrounded by dead animals.” Outside, the memorabilia continues with Hemingway’s boat, Pilar, the nickname of his second wife, Pauline; a small cemetery for his dogs; and the swimming pool where Ava Gardner swam naked. Whether paying homage to dead writers or dead revolutionaries, Havana teems with museums, statues, churches and parks that glorify momentous historical events and their prime advocates. As is typical of the colonial cities of Spanish America, plazas or city squares serve as community gathering places or parade grounds. At the Plaza de la Revolución, where Fidel Castro famously pontificated for hours— his longest speech lasted almost five hours—a somber expanse of concrete culminates at the marble memorial to José Martí, the nationalist Cuban writer who founded the Cuban Revolutionary Party in 1892. The memorial, composed of a 59-foot marble statue of Martí and a star-shaped 358-foot tower, was begun in 1953 on the 100th anniversary of José Martí’s birth.

One of the most populous streets in Old Havana, Calle Obispo is a pedestrian walkway lined with shops and restaurants.

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Hemingway’s boat, Pilar.

El Floridita was favored by Hemingway as having the best daiquiris in Cuba.

It was completed in 1958 during the final days of Batista’s dictatorship. Today the ground floor serves as a museum and the top level provides visitors with unparalleled views of Havana. The plaza is surrounded by the National Theater, National Library and two buildings with complementary stylized sculptures of Havana’s most famous revolutionaries on their facades: one, Camilo Cienfuegos and an inscription of his response to Castro, Vas bien Fidel (You’re doing well, Fidel), said during a rally in 1959 is surmounted on the Ministry of Communications; the other of Ché Guevara and his quote Hasta la Victoria Siempre (Toward Victory Always) adorns the Ministry of the Interior Building. Almost 50 years after Ché’s death in the jungles of Bolivia, he remains a cultural hero. Visitors flock to his house-turned-museum across Havana Harbor near the cliffside Christ Statue of Casablanca. Politics aside, one can’t argue with the dead man’s popularity. Then again, perhaps it’s just that Ché looks good on a T-shirt. As Havana’s historic district struggles to preserve its architectural history, the focus on tourism that began in the aftermath of the Soviet Union’s collapse slowly gathers steam. Visitors amble in the footfalls of Havana’s colonial 78

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Hemingway’s dining room at Finca Vigía. The table is set as it was when Hemingway lived there—with an extra place setting in case of company.

elite, along the leafy boulevard known as the Prado where gas lamps with griffin-shaped wrought iron posts and stone benches recall a glorious past when Cuba was known as the Pearl of the Antilles. Left to tarnish, the mansions that line Havana’s most distinguished thoroughfare are being brushed and buffed with diligence. Witness the district’s Palacio de Matrimonio with its neo-baroque façade and ornate interior—a venue of colonial elegance where wedding ceremonies take place. Farther along the street, Havana’s oldest existing hotel, the Inglaterra, will be the first hotel managed by an American company—the Luxury Collection division of Starwood after renovations later this year. It’s bound to give the nearby Hotel Sevilla, run by the French chain, Accor, under their Mercure Hotels division, some competition. Known for its portrait gallery of famous guests such as Josephine Baker and Al Capone, the Moorish-styled Sevilla buzzes with stories of gangsters and Hollywood celebrities. The Prado ends at the Parque Central, the social core of Havana. Across the street, the Gran Teatro was renovated and renamed the Gran Teatro de la Habana Alicia Alonso after the Cuban ballerina earlier this year. Once considered the most technologically advanced theater in the world,

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the theater boasted exceptional acoustics, an internal telephone system and, debateably, electrical lighting effects designed by Antonio Meucci well before Bell or Edison. International stars the likes of Sarah Bernhardt, Enrico Caruso and Anna Pavlova graced its stage. Today it is the performance venue for the National Ballet and National Opera as well as many notable international dance troupes and musicians. Habana Vieja covers a 2-square-mile patch from Prado to the Havana Harbor and The Harbor Channel. It is the axis of Cuban culture, a melting pot of Habañeros and estranjeros (foreigners) who stroll its streets and plazas (must-sees are the Plaza de Armas, Plaza de la Catedral and Plaza Vieja); drink, dance and delight in the music of its restaurants and cafés; or soak up the historic tales evoked by the four fortresses that guard The Harbor Channel: La Punta and La Real Fuerza on the west side, and El Morro and La Cabaña on the east. Standing at any

of the harbor viewpoints, it’s easy to let the mind wander to a time when ships laden with silk, silver and emeralds passed by the channel forts as they carried their treasures back to Spain. As Raúl Castro slowly loosens his iron grip, another era is coming to an end. Obama’s historic visit in April was somewhat of a clincher. As the president called on congress to lift the half-century-old embargo and urged Castro “to leave the past behind,” he clearly signaled to Cuba and America that the challenges of reconciliation can only be resolved through greater engagement and cooperation. It seems the people of Cuba agree. As the president and his family exited a restaurant in Havana, they chanted, “Viva Obama, Viva Fidel.” Five days later, another historic event took place in Cuba: the Rolling Stones landed full force. Cuba, assumedly, is getting satisfaction.

Two forts, El Morro (L) and the larger La Cabaña (R) guard the entrance to Havana Bay on the eastern side of The Harbor Channel. The complex is now part of a historical park and houses several museums.

Ché Guevara’s home is now a museum.


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The José Martí Memorial at Plaza de la Revolución.



Encouraging a New U.S.-Argentine Connection


here was controversy when President Obama announced that after his visit to Cuba he would extend his trip by including Argentina in his itinerary. Argentine critics recalled dark days when United States foreign policy backed repressive and authoritarian governments in their country. American critics denounced the Obama visit as pandering to an Argentina that under previous presidents, Nestor Kirchner and his wife Christina Fernandez de Kirchner, joined in the leftward swing of Latin

America, strictly limiting ties with the United States and joining forces with the leftist leaders of Venezuela and Brazil in their severe criticism of American imperialism in the region. The political atmosphere was volatile in both countries, but President Obama came to Argentina and danced the tango, Argentina’s national dance . . . and did it with style. Invited onto the dance floor by tango professionals who were part of the evening’s entertainment at the conclusion

President Obama and President of Argentina Mauricio Macri (6th R) pose for pictures together with dignitaries at Kirchner Cultural Center, in Buenos Aires, Argentina on March 23, 2016.


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Presidency of Argentina Press Office/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

President Obama attends a dinner in honor of himself hosted by President of Argentina Mauricio Macri and First Lady of Argentina Juliana Awada together with First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama, at Kirchner Cultural Center, in Buenos Aires, Argentina on March 23, 2016.

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Directly subsequent to their trip to Cuba, President Obama and First Lady Michelle dance the tango with dancers during a state dinner at the Kirchner Cultural Centre in Buenos Aires on March 23, 2016. The United States and Argentina sealed a major trade deal on the eve

Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

of the first day of President Barack Obama’s visit, bolstering the efforts of his counterpart to end a decade-and-a-half of international financial isolation.

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President Obama and his family are seen at Ministro Pistarini International Airport after visiting Bariloche and prior flying back to Washington on March 25, 2016 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

of a state dinner with Argentina’s new center-right President Mauricio Macri, Obama was tentative at first. However, he displayed considerable poise, proving he had some smooth moves to match his tango partner. Tango is often described as a dance of the heart, a stylized courtship ritual, and that is precisely what characterized this meeting between heads of state. The Obama visit displayed a diplomatic adroitness designed to quiet antagonisms toward the United States and show support for President Macri’s policy initiatives intended to stabilize the Argentine economy and bring new foreign investment into the country. In recognition of the 40th anniversary of Argentina’s horrifying “Dirty War,” a period of military rule and state terrorism in Argentina in which tens of thousands of government opponents were “disappeared,” Presidents Macri and Obama visited the Memorial Park that honors the victims of that violence. Each man silently dropped 86

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three white roses into the waters of the Rio de la Plata to honor the victims and acknowledge the loss that so many Argentine families have suffered. Obama also announced that the United States would declassify and release additional thousands of pages of records detailing American involvement with the military dictatorship during that era. Beyond their private conversations, the two presidents sought to shore up relations between Argentina and the United States that had ranged from badly strained to stiffly formal over a span of decades. President Macri described the Obama visit as “the beginning of a new phase of mature, intelligent, constructive relations in which the only concern for us both is to improve the quality of life of our people.” President Obama acknowledged that, “Under President Macri, Argentina is reassuming its traditional leadership role in the region and around the world. The United States stands ready to work with Argentina through this historic transition in any way that we can.”

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The White House Correspondents Association Gala Becomes a Retirement Dinner for President Obama and


he White House Correspondents Association dinner has become a fixture of Washington, DC’s social, political and journalistic life. It nurtures the long-standing tradition of the simultaneously supportive and conflicted relationship between the Constitutional structures of the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of government and the Fourth Estate – the press. More to the point, the dinner encourages a deeply rooted American tradition of employing humor to speak the truth to power. In recent years the glitterati of stage, screen and television have been added to the traditional mix of literati and politicos. In the process the paparazzi have proliferated to record it all. C-SPAN was there to record the after dinner remarks for posterity meaning the electronic vaults of its website. CNN provided live coverage with commentary . . . meaning they had a lot of air time to fill as guests arrived and dinner was served before the evening’s jousting began. And, the dinner has become only the center ring event in a circus of pre-party receptions and after-party galas that provide opportunities for those not attending the dinner to bask in the reflected 88

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celebrity limelight of those who made the invitation list. The dinner has become a command performance for American Presidents with the understanding that the evening is much more than a gala gathering. It is also an occasion for high (and low) political humor – a mix of biting satire, topical jokes and scathing irony leavened with a deft touch of selfdeprecating humor. The goal is to simultaneously celebrate the traditions of journalism and the realities of politics while bursting the blather and pretense that often characterize performance journalism and career politicians. For one night, at least, almost anything is fair game and the boundaries of propriety are stretched, without quite completely violating them. This year was President Obama’s eighth and final appearance at the dinner, and he proved himself to be a “stand-up” guy. In the parlance of show-biz the President’s shtick outshone the cringe comedy routine, or was it just brutally honest observational comedy, offered up by Larry Wilmore, host of Comedy Central’s “The Nightly Show.” Nobody ever said the Commander-in-Chief was an easy act to follow. Obama proved to be a master of comedic timing

Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

He’s the Entertainment

Larry Busacca/Getty Images Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Yahoo

Actress Kerry Washington and former United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright

Taylor Hackford and Actress Helen Mirren

knowing when to wait a beat or two or three as when he identified Bernie Sanders as the “bright young face of the Democratic party” adding, “Bernie you look like a million bucks.” Waiting a beat the President translated into terms candidate Sanders would understand, “That’s 37,000 donations of $27!” Hillary Clinton was not exempt from the President’s surgically scathing wit either. Obama announced that if his comedy material worked at the Correspondents Dinner, then after his second term was over he was planning on taking it on the road to Goldman-Sachs so he could earn himself some “serious Tubmans.” The hit of the evening, however, was Obama’s crisis of consciousness over his impending retirement from politics. No less than the Vice-President of the United States, Joe Biden, played along for a recorded bit that pondered the most stylish sunglasses for an ex-President on the golf course. Obama even brought former Speaker of the House John Boehner into the White House for movies, advice on what to do after retirement from political office, surreptitious cigarettes

behind the first Lady’s back, and many rounds of golf. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Gloria Borger got into the comedy as well reporting on Obama’s 347 consecutive rounds of post-presidency golf. When Blitzer asked Borger for commentary on what this might mean, she offered a priceless insight, “I don’t know. I can’t even think of a reason to care.” The evening might have begun with “Hail to the Chief,” but Obama’s routine ended with a poignant yet comic reflection on life after the White House. Borrowing a media culture note from the ubiquitous Ryan Seacrest of “American Idol” and “American Top 40” fame, the President pronounced “Obama out!” and dropped his microphone to the floor. Obama, whose eight years of endless testing under the pressure of a divided nation and tumultuous world events visibly greyed his temples and lined his face and yet who always retained the ability to laugh at himself, silently walked away from the podium. A standing ovation followed. photos through to page 96

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Paul Pelosi, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and H.E. GĂŠrard Araud, Ambassador of France to the United States

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Actor Matthew Morrison and Renee Morrison

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Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Journalist Wolf Blitzer, Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan and Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)

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White House Correspondents Association Gala


White House Correspondents Association Gala




White House Correspondents A

Larry Busacca/Getty Images

White House Correspondents Association Gala


Actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw

Model Karlie Kloss


White House Correspondents Association Gala

Actress Rachel McAdams


White House Correspondents A


hite House Correspondents Association Gala

White House Correspondents Association Gala


White House Correspondents Association Gala


White Ho


White House Correspondents As

Paul Morigi/WireImages

Dobrev/Dimitrios Kambouris/VF16/WireImage

Association Gala


Model Adriana Lima

Association Gala

Actress Michelle Dockery


White House Correspondents Association Gala

Actress and Model Nina Dobrev


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White House Correspondents Association Gala


White House Correspondents Association Gala



White House Correspondents A

Union-Paul Morigi/WireImage

Fox-Kris Connor/FilmMagic

Watson-Larry Busacca/Getty Images

White House Correspondents Association Gala

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Actress Vivica A. Fox


White House Correspondents Association Gala

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White House Correspondents A

Association Gala

Association Gala

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