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Akin Gump Co-Hosts Cuban Ambassador in DC

The one-year anniversary of the US and Cuba restoring diplomatic ties is coming up on Dec. 17. Akin Gump, which launched its Cuba practice a few months ago, recently held a reception with the Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba, Dr. José Ramón Cabaña.


The firm co-hosted the event with Cuba Educational Travel at the Meridian International Center. Ambassador Cabaña, center, is with Akin Gump Cuba policy initiative head Scott Parven; Bernardo Toscano; Amb. Cabaña's wife, Edilia González; and Akin Gump senior policy adviser Anya Landau French.

“A gathering like this probably would have been impossible a short time ago. But now it’s possible, and I think the duty of all of us is to protect what we have right now and look to the future," said Amb. Cabaña. "We are different countries with different histories, but we share a real belief that we can build a better future.”

Thanks to Joyce N. Boghosian for the photos.


The Lizt Alfonso Dance Cuba dance company gave a private performance of Cuba Vibre. The group, which blends classical ballet with Cuban and Spanish dance, is making a US tour.

Ambassador Stuart Holliday, CEO of Meridian International Center, left, commemorated the event with the members of the dance company. Holliday was the US Ambassador for Special Political Affairs at the UN from 2003 to 2005. For Meridian, the event was the launch of its US-Cuba Cultural Diplomacy program.


At the cocktail reception, members of Congress mingled with diplomats, media, policy advocates and cultural leaders. Here, Giovanna Ricardo, Scott Parven, Sen. Patrick Leahy and his wife, Marcelle Leahy. Other attendees included DHS Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas (whose cybersecurity insights we previously featured), Deputy Assistant Secretary Ambassador Daniel Sepulveda and Deputy Secretary of State Heather Higginbottom.


After Lizt Alfonso's performance, the dancers snapped a photograph with Rep. Tom Emmer (third from left), Rep. Barbara Lee (center, in red jacket), Scott Parven and Anya Landau French (far right). Anya thanked those in attendance who've worked to strengthen US-Cuba diplomatic relations, saying, "I’ve worked on US Cuba policy for most of the last 15 years, so this is quite a special evening for me."