Submitted by Diane Eckberg
The September 28, 2021 meeting was called to order at the Boone Courtyard Marriott by President Jim Street at 7:48 a.m. There were 20+ attendees, including 8 by Zoom. Mark Hagan was a Zoom guest.
After the Pledge of Allegiance, Sergeant at Arms Nick Friedman presided over the sharing of Happy Dollars, the 50/50 drawing and humor.
Gould Workman announced that all are invited to the Homecoming tailgate party at Watauga High School at 5 p.m. on Friday, October 1, 2021. There will be games and music.
Gould also announced that the Valle Country Fair is still looking for volunteers.
Lynne Mason is still looking for volunteers for the blood drive on Tuesday, October 5, 2021. Send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you can work the 1:00-3:30 or 3:30-6:00 p.m. shifts. To schedule a donation slot, visit redcrossblood.org.
Lynne reminded everyone that the Vale Country Fair is a Club project. If you have questions about volunteering, please call Julie at 704-906-2269 or email her at email@example.com.
Lynne also reminded everyone to record all volunteer hours on the spreadsheet recently distributed.
Ben Henderson announced that the 20th Annual Club Fruit Sale will start October 19, 2021. In the last 5 years $60,000 worth of fruit has been sold, for a net profit of $33,000. Ben also reminded us that wearing Club apparel can serve as a recruiting tool!
Brian Irving introduced Dr. Joseph Gonzalez, Associate Professor in Global Studies and App State’s scholar on Cuba. Dr. Gonzalez began his “Why Cuba Should Matter to You” presentation by sharing a series of relevant numbers:
- 90: Cuba essentially “shares a border with the US,” given it’s only 90 miles from Key West.
- 2,000,000: There are 2 million Cuban Americans in the US, primarily in Miami (1.2 of the 2 million), NJ and NY.
- 30: The number of Florida’s electoral votes in the next presidential election, which will have a great impact on US politics.
- 500,000: The number of officially self-employed in Cuba, which is 1/3 of the workforce. Consequently, there is a private, non-government industry in Cuba. The parameters of job growth and dissent are growing…younger people want more economic and democratic liberalization…things are changing.
- 5.2-5.4 million: The number of Venezuelans who have left their country in the last 10 years as the result of the worst economic decline in human history. Cuba has helped keep the Venezuelan dictator in place in return for Venezuelan oil.
- 11% decrease: Drop in Cuba’s 2020 GDP due to Covid and the loss of tourism.
With the changing environment in Cuba, Dr. Gonzalez’s hope is that 1) there will be more business opportunities there and 2) there will be increased pressure from Americans on politicians to find new ways to engage with Cuba. He is concerned that the current embargo will cause economic collapse in Cuba.
After a Q & A session, the meeting was adjourned at 8:31 a.m. after the reciting of the 4 Way Test.