Carter Center photo


On this day 15 years ago, the former U.S. President Jimmy Carter arrived in Cuba for a five-day visit with Fidel Castro–the first President to do so since Castro’s 1959 revolution. He called for many of the reforms that came to pass during the next decade and a half… (2002)

Trudy Rubin wrote about Carter’s visit in the Philadelphia Inquirer: The former president called for unrestricted travel between the US and Cuba, open trade, and an end to the embargo. He wants a massive student exchange between U.S. and Cuban universities. Speaking in Spanish on national television, Carter told Cubans they have an inherent right to democratic freedoms: the right to choose their leaders, speak freely, organize political parties, and have fair trials. He noted that the United States is far from perfect on human rights issues, but that Americans have the right to change their leaders and laws.


 MORE Good News on this Date:

  • National University of San Marcos, the oldest university in the Americas, was founded in Lima, Peru (1551)
  • Katharine Hepburn, who was once named the greatest actress in Hollywood history by the American Film Institute, after winning four Academy Awards for Best Actress, was born (1907)
  • The groundbreaking comedian George Carlin was born in New York City (1937)
  • At Queen Elizabeth Hall, England, Pink Floyd staged the first-ever quadraphonic rock concert (1967)
  • Kenya announced it would finally agree to support a worldwide ban on the trade of ivory to save its remaining elephant herds (1989)
  • Randy Johnson, at 40, playing for the Arizona Diamondbacks, became the oldest pitcher in major league history to throw a perfect game (2004)


And, on this day in 1820, Florence Nightingale was born, a day that is now honored as International Nurses Day. The Englishwoman came to prominence for her pioneering work in nursing, tending injured soldiers, and laying the foundation of professional nursing. Her establishment of St Thomas’s Hospital in London was the first secular nursing school in the world.