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Former Foreign Service officer to discuss U.S.-Cuba relations

Former Foreign Service officer Charles Barclay will visit Cal State Monterey Bay April 14 to present a talk on U.S.-Cuba relations.

The talk will be held from noon to 2 p.m. in the University Center living room. The public is invited to this free event, but reservations are requested and can be made by e-mail to

Between September 2009 and July 2012, Barclay served as deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Interests Section of the Swiss Embassy in Havana, which occupies the former U.S. Embassy building that was shuttered in 1961.

During his 28 years in the Foreign Service, he held positions across the globe – in Mexico City, Malawi, Sarajevo, Kuala Lumpur and Managua, Nicaragua, as well as Cuba.

A San Luis Obispo native, Barclay moved to Atascadero after retiring from the State Department in 2012.

Looking back on a half-century of U.S. policy toward Cuba, Barclay told The Tribune newspaper in San Luis Obispo that he applauded the Obama Administration's step toward lifting aspects of the economic embargo.

"As a private citizen now, I think the 50-years-plus of the embargo hasn't gotten us what we wanted, and I think other tools are needed to get those things," Barclay told The Tribune.

"But the embargo is an extremely complex legal apparatus and the Cuban government hasn't done much to give the U.S. ammunition to overturn it completely."

That ammunition, he told the paper, would include the end of state-sanctioned targeting of Cuban civil rights advocates and investment in the expansion of the Cuban private sector.

The talk is sponsored by the Division of Social, Behavioral and Global Studies.