The most important personality to build a bridge between Cuba and the United States is Jose Marti and he is also followed by the citizens of Cuba as the national hero of the country. A Cuban philosopher and poet, Marti took an interest in politics at an early age who led the Cuban War of Independence against Spain in 1895. He is considered the symbol of an improved relationship between the island and the country, whose statue still stands in the famous Central Park of Washington D.C sculpted by an American artist Anna Hyatt Huntington in 1950 which was supposed to be in Havana after its completion but after Marti’s death, the relationship hardened between Cuba and the U.S.
A team of eighteen students went for a month-long abroad study programme in Cuba led by the Journalism professors of Northeastern University Carlene Hempel and Mike Beaudet where the students visited to report stories of the tight-lipped country where journalists are rare. One of the students was Emily Arntsen, who wrote her experience on the page of News@Northeastern where she expressed her wonderment in witnessing Jose Marti’s half-bust statues in every nook and corner of the country. Also, the airport where they had arrived, was named after the national hero. The history of the War of Independence did not satisfy her curiosity as she felt there is more to know about the man. She talked to an artist famous for creating several busts of Marti, named Andrés González, who explained the story behind the statue of Marti pointing a finger while clutching a baby on the other arm that stands in front of the United States Embassy in Havana. The child here is inferred to be Elián González, who was found by the U.S. Coast Guard clinging to an inner-tube drifting from Cuba to Florida. This monument was a tribute to the custody dispute between the States and the island in 2000.
The stories reported by the students was broadcasted in one of Boston’s local TV station and published in an online magazine.