Dr. Jess G. Nieto was part of a historic effort in 1985 to promote peace in Central America.  It was during the memorable trip to Mexico and to the Central American countries of Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua, that the Peace Delegation of 13 Americans, accompanied by Rep. George Brown, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, traveled to these countries, including Cuba,  to ascertain the conditions of the civil wars in Central America, to interview the various "players"  (groups) of these conflicts,  and to assess the role that the United States was playing in these struggles.  It was a prime objective of the trip to promote the "Contadora Peace Initiative" that had been proposed by a number of Latin American countries but had been strongly rejected by President Ronald Reagan and his Administration.  It was within this framework that the Delegation traveled to the Central American countries and to Cuba and met with President Fidel Castro and members of his government in order to assess the role of the Cubans in these conflicts (For a more complete report of the Peace Delegation's trip, see "Report of the Peace Delegation to Central America, July 1985").

Photo: Peace delegation members: (L - R) Dr. Armando Navarro, Raul Ruiz, and Dr. Jess G. Nieto (far right) with President Fidel Castro during  the July, 1985 trip.

Dr. Nieto has made four other trips to Cuba, accompanied by son Diego, a biologist / entomologist of the University of California Santa Cruz on two instances and wife Peggy, teacher of a middle school in California, on one occasion,  as part of a number of academic delegations to Cuba  in 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2007.  Significant scholarly and academic relationships have been forged as a result of these trips.

In July, 1999, Director Jess Nieto participated in an international scholars' conference in Havana Cuba on the Chicano Movement: Yesterday, Today, & Tomorrow," and on the Cuban Revolution. Chicano scholars from the US and their Cuban counterparts were able to share their experiences from a variety of political, historical, sociological, demographic, and cultural perspectives. Dr. Nieto and his son Diego both contributed papers to the conference.

Heritage is currently developing educational and cultural programs with the University of Cuba.

Photo (below): A Chicano /Latino delegation traveled to Havana, Cuba and conducted a number of presentations on the Chicano experience in the U.S. in an effort to help the University of Havana develop a Chicano Studies program.  Both Dr. Nieto and his son Diego made significant contributions to this effort.

Photo (below): The sign of the Centro De Estudios Sobre Estados Unidos (Center for U.S. Studies) (CESUE), Universidad de la Habana, is in front of their Center.

In 2006 a U.S. Chicano delegation of educators went to participate in a conference at the University of Havana in Cuba on the theme "The Effect & Impact of Globalization On Immigration & Education."   In this photo, several members of the delegation are seen posing in front of a photo of Fidel Castro at the Centro for Studies on the United States.

(L to R) Ms. Peggy Nieto of the Beardsley School District- Bakersfield; Dr. Jess G. Nieto, of Heritage of America Educational & Cultural Foundation;  Dr. Patrick Velasquez, of the University of California  San Diego; Dr. Armando Navarro of the University of California Riverside; and  Ms. Mary Ann Gonzales of the University of California Riverside; unknown. 

During the 2006 trip to Cuba, several members of the delegation (L-R, Dr. Armando Navarro of UC Riverside; Mary Ann Gonzales of UC Riverside; the Venezuelan General Counsel in Havana, Peggy Nieto of Bakersfield; Dr. Jess G. Nieto of Heritage of America- Bakersfield; the Venezuelan Assistant General Counsel, & Dr. Gabriel Gutierrez of CSU Northridge) visited the Venezuela Office of The Embassy In Havana to request assistance in planning a trip to their country.  This visit made possible an invitation from the government of Venezuela to visit their country in April - May 2007.

The sensational Tropicana dance troop.

Dr. Nieto and son Diego in front of the University of Havana.

Photo (above): Cuban workers install a sculpture in Havana's Revolution Square in honor of revolutionary hero Camilo Cienfuegos to mark the 50th anniversary of his plane's disappearance on Oct. 28, 1959. The work includes his quote: "You are doing fine Fidel." (AFP/Getty Images / October 27, 2009)

In 1985, Dr. Jess G. Nieto and Aris Anagnos of the Peace Delegation met with President Fidel Castro, members of his government, and his older brother, Ramon Castro, who was in charge of the dairy industry in Cuba.

Dr. Nieto & Professor Ariel Aguilar Reyes, sociologist of the University of Havana.

Members of the delegation at the Museum of the Revolution.

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Further Reading