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ub's cuban odyssey
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UB's Cuban Odyssey
Like Aguilar, Eduardo Fontaine, 21, a UB history major concentrating in Latin American studies, was able to bring bilingualism to his Cuban experience. "A lot has changed in Cuba since the revolution," says Fontaine, a native of Queens, N.Y., who is of Cuban-Peruvian parentage. "A lot of the old families left for other provinces or left Cuba entirely. For me, the country is, in some sense, in a survival mode. I'm part Cuban, and I have difficulty with the government there. But I wanted to get there and assess for myself what the problems might be. There are problems, but the people accept the government and they respect it.
"There is some repression, in terms of basic human rights," adds Fontaine, who took time out from his studies to visit relatives in the western part of the country. "They cannot really communicate about the government; they worry about who's out there looking for them, who's hearing what they're trying to say. When we went with Cuban friends to social clubs, the Cubans had to show something like an identity card. On the other hand, the educational system was great, and health care was awesome."