Rotary Grants Coordinator Alison Pannell, left, introduced her friend, former US Ambassador Vicki Huddleston, at Tuesday’s meeting of the Rotary Club of Los Alamos at Cottonwood on the Greens. Photo by Linda Hull
BY LINDA HULL
Rotary Club of Los Alamos
On Tuesday, Feb. 18, the former US Ambassador to Mali and Madagascar, Vicki Huddleston, spoke about her experiences as Deputy Director of Cuban Affairs when working for the US Department of State in the 1990s. Her most memorable moments included meeting Fidel Castro on several occasions and furtively distributing AM-FM transistor radios to Cuban citizens, enabling them to listen to news beyond control of the Castro regime. Huddleston also discussed the changes in US-Cuba policies over the last 60 years.
Huddleston, who now resides in Santa Fe, was inspired to enter the diplomatic corps after serving in the Peace Corps in Peru. She later worked for the American Institute for Free Labor Development in Peru and Brazil. After her involvement in Cuba from 1989-2001, Huddleston returned to the island six years later to manage a two-year project for the Brookings Institution and last visited Cuba in 2019.
She is the author of “Our Woman in Havana: A Diplomat’s Chronicle of America’s Long Struggle with Castro’s Cuba” and co-author of “Learning to Salsa: New Steps in U.S.-Cuba
Before the Rotary Club meeting, Huddleston visited the Los Alamos High School Interact Club, a Rotary-sponsored service organization. There she spoke about peace and encouraged students to make a positive difference in the world.