Melvyn Levitsky was quoted in news coverage of President Obama’s recent announcement that he and the first lady plan to travel to Cuba in March. Obama will be the first U.S. president to set foot on the island in 88 years.
Levitsky, a former U.S. diplomat, was interviewed by several news agencies, including EFE, the largest Spanish-language news wire service in the world. The EFE story featuring Levitsky was republished by nearly 60 Spanish news outlets and a handful of Portuguese outlets.
“President Obama is going to Cuba to cap off what he and his supporters believe was one of his most positive foreign policy accomplishments,” Levitsky is quoted as saying in a Miami Herald story. “While there are a number of Cuban-Americans who disagree with the re-establishment of relations with Cuba, that number is diminishing as the younger generation begins to step out front.
Obama’s planned trip has been criticized by those on both sides of the aisle who contend that Cuba’s human rights violations should preclude it from a presidential visit.
Approximately 20 MPP students will spend a week in Cuba during spring break to engage with policymakers as part of the Ford School’s International Economic Development Program.
Melvyn Levitsky is a professor of international policy and practice at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and a retired career minister in the U.S. Foreign Service. He spent 35 years as a U.S. diplomat, including as ambassador to Brazil, executive secretary of the State Department, ambassador to Bulgaria, and deputy assistant secretary of state for human rights.