Purdue professor helps open up Cuba to students

th[7]WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – Purdue Political Science professor Harry Targ has been to Cuba upwards of 15 times mainly for educational conferences. Since the United States announced in December it is working on strengthening its relationship with Cuba, we have not been given the okay to travel as individual tourists but groups and educational trips are allowed.

Targ said Americans may be surprised at how they are received by the Cubans.

“Cubans are very warm and receptive about U.S. citizens going to the island to the extent that they’ve been critical of U.S. foreign policy,” Targ said. “They don’t blame individual Americans for that foreign policy.”

Since the December announcement, Targ has been working with different language departments as well as the anthropology and women’s studies departments to open up opportunities for students wanting to travel to Cuba.

“[We’re working] to develop a semesterlong study abroad course in Cuba for Purdue students,” Targ said. “If it occurs, it would be in the spring of 2016.”

What is definitely a go is a new course Targ will be teaching next semester, it will focus on relationships between the United States and Latin America.

Targ said the course is in response to December’s announcement.

“I plan to spend about a third, or half, of the course on Cuban history, politics, economics, culture,” Targ said.

Overall, Targ remains optimistic about what the future holds for the U.S. and Cuba.

“I don’t think the opening of relations is generating the anger that might have been generated 20-25 years ago,” Targ said.

Diplomats from the United States and Cuba have met three times since relations were opened.

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