Letty Annett, President of Letty's Cuba Travel and Tours, is participating in the 7th International Convention of Physical Activity and Sports (AFIDE), covering the main topic of Sports and Human Development as an Ambassador of Friendship.
The conference, which takes place between Nov. 20–24, 2017, at the Center for Conferences in Havana, Cuba, is a unique opportunity for sports professionals from both the United States and Cuba to meet and discuss future collaborative sports projects.
"We must break down the barriers that stand between America and Cuba with love, humanity, and respect – just like we do the rest of the world. Not with a failed embargo, no matter what Washington believes presently," said Letty from her offices at Letty's Cuba Travel and Tours in Weston, Florida.
"My personal dream is to host consistent, friendly events between Cuba and the United States without having to worry about politics and unnecessary red tape. My travel agency helps Americans to explore Cuba's rich culture and history through Cuba trips, while my Youth Baseball Friendship Cup celebrates our sporting links. Let the regulations end, let the friendship grow!"
Joining Letty at AFIDE 2017 to speak is a team of experts, including Donna Cohen, Sports & Entertainment Legal Counsel to nonprofit organizations; Peter Caliendo, a former USA baseball national team coach and President of Caliendo Sports International; Mark Littell, former professional baseball pitcher with Kansas City Royals and St. Louis Cardinals; and William Franciscus, Jr., a scout, player agent, and coach for GBL Independent League.
Letty herself is no stranger to fostering cross-cultural ties. Born in Cuba, her passion is to bring the two nations closer together through meaningful travel experiences as well as through baseball. Letty started the Youth Baseball Friendship Cup as an annual baseball tournament for kids each summer.
Cuba is just 40 minutes from Miami by plane, and as a Cuban-American who emigrated to the United States 37 years ago during the Mariel Boat Lift, she understands the true price of the embargo for Cuba. Upon returning for the first time in 32 years in 2012, she opened Letty's Cuba Travel and Tours and became a Friendship Ambassador.
Now, she promotes Cuba people-to-people group tours and individual support for the Cuban people visits.
Despite Washington's change in policy, human relations between Cubans and Americans continue to flourish. — not just in sports with events such as the Youth Baseball Friendship Club, but also in music, as the Minnesota Orchestra opened its inaugural Cuban-American Youth Orchestra Academy to four young students from the island nation of just 11 million.
Echoing the sentiments of Letty and so many other Cubans and Americans who want to see the ties of friendship strengthened between the two nations, one of the young Cuban musicians, Adriel Davi Rodriguez Laza, said, "I believe that music is like an ambassador between the two nations. Personal interests aren't put first; it's just the music."
For Letty Annett and others engaged in building friendship between Cuba and America through travel, cultural ties, and sporting events such as baseball tournaments, these words could not ring truer.