Colby Cosh: Donald Trump’s farewell gift to Cuba

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But the toughest blow was adding the Cuban army-owned financial institution Fincimex to the State Department’s “Cuban restricted list.” Fincimex and its subsidiary, American International Services (AIS), essentially have a monopoly on handling remittances, with the fees thus becoming available for the Communist party’s chosen social purposes.

Those purposes, as U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announced in late September, undoubtedly include “meddling in Venezuela,” as well as investing in the army-controlled hotels, pubs and tourist traps in which Canadians so love to deposit their own slightly softer dollars. (State has also personally sanctioned the head of the Cuban military’s ubiquitous holding company for dollar-generating assets, the Castro extended-family member Alberto Rodríguez López-Calleja.)

“Adding AIS to the Cuba Restricted List furthers the administration’s goal of preventing the Cuban military from controlling and benefiting from the flow of remittances that should instead benefit the Cuban people,” Pompeo’s statement observed. “The people should be able to receive funds from their family abroad without having to line the pockets of their oppressors. We urge anyone who sends remittances to family in Cuba to use means other than Cuban government-controlled remittance entities.”

Being tough on Cuba is popular in Florida, but that’s also where most Cuban remittances come from; most of the people sending them will not have other options (bitcoin aside!) until Fincimex establishes new offshore ones. The State Department’s embargo measures left the Cuban government with the option of finding a new civilian partner for Western Union in Cuba — which could even have been a state enterprise — but Cuba, in the classic communist manner, chose not to be pushed around. ¡Venceremos!

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Colby College receives $2 million family gift for new arts, athletics centers

Colby College announced Tuesday that a multi-generational Waterville family with ties to the school is donating $2 million to support landmark arts and athletics initiatives.

Dana L. Schmaltz and Kate Enroth’s donation will name the Colby College Museum of Art’s gallery in the Paul J. Schupf Art Center in honor of Joan Dignam Schmaltz, Colby class of 1963. In addition, the welcome pavilion at the new Harold Alfond Athletics and Recreation Center will be named for Richard R. “Dick” Schmaltz, Colby class of 1962.

“Where we are in our stage with our relationship with Waterville is that this should be positive, mutually beneficial and eternal,” Colby College President David A. Greene said in a phone interview Tuesday. “This should not be something that ends in the next couple years or has a timeline on it It should be an ongoing commitment for Colby to have a partnership with Waterville.”

Joan Dignam was an artist. Dick Schmaltz was known as “Mr. Colby” to friends and family. In partnership with Waterville Creates!, Colby is developing the Paul J. Schupf Art Center on Main Street in downtown Waterville, which will break ground in 2021. The Joan Dignam Schmaltz Gallery of Art will contain exhibitions from the museum’s permanent collection as well as specially commissioned shows.

“The Schmaltz and Dignam families, much like our family, have a long and proud history in Waterville and at Colby. We all share a dedication to this community, and we can’t think of a more fitting tribute to our dear friends Dick and Joan than the naming of these two spaces in their honor,” said Paula Lunder, D.F.A. ’98 and Peter Lunder ’56, D.F.A. ’98 in a release.

A rendering of an interior space in the future Arts Collaborative building on Main Street in Waterville. Construction on the project is starting this week, Colby College announced on Wednesday. Peter and Paula Lunder are financing almost half of the $6.5 million project, designed by architect Ryan Senatore. The building is expected to be complete by April 2021. Rendering by James Reben, Architectural Image Solutions

The art gallery is one of a handful of efforts by Colby to revitalize Waterville’s downtown. The Bill & Joan Alfond Main Street Commons, which opened in the fall of 2018, houses more than 200 students in downtown Waterville. The Lockwood Mills Hotel, which is currently housing students, will eventually open to the public. The Colby Arts Collaborative on 14 and 20 Main St. is set to open in April of 2021. Waterville’s BUILD grant also makes a difference.

“We’re hitting an inflection point where a number of the major projects are either under construction or will be soon, and over the next few years we’ll see these coming in a consistent fashion,” Greene said. “What’s also important is also all of the activity that is going on that is stimulated by these investments, but not directly related to them.”

Greene alluded to the efforts by others outside of Colby as part of the overall

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