Published Sunday, August 8, 1999, in the Miami Herald

Oregon high school debate coach hopes for student contest in Cuba

HAVANA -- (AP) -- High school students from Oregon hope to face their Cuban counterparts here in a formal debate of their countries' foreign policies.

John Tredway, a debate coach from Ashland High School in Ashland, Ore., said Friday that he had signed a tentative agreement with officials of the Union of Young Communists for a possible debate in January.

Details are yet to be worked out, but Tredway said he hopes to bring 20 or 30 of his state's brightest debate-team members to Cuba for such a contest.

Tredway said he obtained a license from the U.S. Treasury Department for his visit to Cuba and would seek similar approval for a visit with the debate team.

The decades-old U.S. trade embargo against Cuba prevents most Americans from spending money on the island without permission from the Treasury Department.

``We see this as something different from baseball diplomacy or the musical groups coming here,'' Tredway said. ``This will get at the issues, the ideas that have been separating our two countries for 40 years.''

The debate team is the latest in a growing number of youth and other groups from the United States seeking permission to visit Cuba since President Clinton in January announced measures designed to increase people-to-people contact between the two nations.

Copyright 1999 Miami Herald