Publications

A new angle or insight on an issue, the life of an unsung hero, analysis of how cultures compare/contrast–and what each of these say about us as humans. Much of my writing has been influenced by travel and living abroad. I use multimedia to help my stories come alive.

For my writing, follow my…

Little Marvel on the Prairie: The Hmong in Minnesota exemplify the melting pot

Addressing race and disparity: A search for those doing work that counts

What I Learned About Race Living in Africa” 

…well researched, well-balanced and the information essential for the general public to understand the culture of poverty.

I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to see an article that brings light to this topic in an unbiased way. I really appreciated this article!

For a list of my work, see my portfolio.

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2 comments

  1. Brandon, I just read your article in the Star Tribune Sunday newspaper. While I believed you tried to be balanced in writing about your Cuban experience, you completely neglected to mention the U.S. embargo on Cuba. You blame the socialist government for the learned helplessness of the Cuban people and the lack of economic growth, but no discussion of the impact of the embargo. It seems your agenda was to show how wrong the Cuban government has been, and justify the American system as a high risk/high reward system. The embargo has been an abject failure, there is no longer a threat to the U.S. with the Soviet Union disbanded, and has greatly contributed to the poverty and lack of progress in Cuba. There is simply no rationale for its continuance. The Cuban government has experimented with entrepreneurship and free enterprise in the form of paladares and casas. President Obama made moves that supported this direction, which has now gone backwards under the current administration.
    Your comment “perhaps because it’s easier to point out the negative, perhaps because outspoken Americans tend to lean left,” as a reason there is negativity about the U.S. in places like Cuba, is pretty wild given the impact of the current administration at home and abroad. Also, you state “innovators left Cuba for countries kinder to their dreams,” but remember than many who left during the revolution (and later) had collaborated with Battista and others to create a corrupt government and economic system that benefitted only themselves They in large part have created the bloc of bitter Cuban-Americans who vote to sustain the embargo today.
    I, too, have spent time in Cuba. I read your article with interest and frustration because you cannot understand Cuba today without acknowledging the U.S. embargo and the fall of the Soviet Union. Yes, Castro’s government is to blame, but how different could it have been if the U.S. had realized it can only benefit from Cuba’s economic growth, there is no threat there, how might you found it when you travelled there?

    1. Hello, Grace. A couple of readers have expressed your same concern that I didn’t tell the whole story about the American hand in Cuba’s struggle. You’re right. I didn’t tell the whole story. But I also had readers calling me out for not mentioning those Cubans abducted, detained, or had their homes raided for simply speaking out against the government. These readers are right, too. I didn’t tell the whole story.

      How could I? I only had 2000 words.

      So I took what I considered to be a moderate approach. Plus, in a piece about decentralization and the empowerment of the individual, certainly I would focus on the shortcomings of totalitarian government.

      I did learn much about the U.S.’s hand in this subject–not just in the embargo, but in pushing Cuba toward the left and into the Soviet Union’s arms. And this influence has added to Cuba’s woes. But I don’t know the magnitude of this factor. What I do know is that Cuba’s government’s policies–enacted for whatever reason–hinder economic growth, abuse the people, and run counter to the progress of the modern world.

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