The Council of the US City of Pittsburg will declare July 30 US-Cuba Friendship Day, according to an accord adopted by that city hall following a proposal sponsored by Councilor Natalia Rudiak.
The date was picked in relation to a friendly bilateral boxing match scheduled for July which has been dubbed the Duel of the Century.
The official statement by the Pittsburg City Council says that the decision was taken because Cuba is a small island nation with nearly 12 million inhabitants who have resisted the US economic blockade for more than 50 years with a very negative impact on the people and its development as a nation.
The decision also took into account that the cities of Pittsburg and Matanzas, in western Cuba, have been sister cities since 1998 and that on December 17, 2014, presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro announced a new era of bilateral relations between the two countries.
On July 28, 2016, we will be staging an unprecedented athletic exchange with Cuba right here in Pittsburgh. Because of the need to create a symbolic bridge between the U.S. and Cuba to move past the Cold War Era, we have chosen to hold this match on the Roberto Clemente Bridge, reads the announcement.
The Sixth Street Bridge or Roberto Clemente Bridge, was named after a Puerto Rican professional baseball player who played for the Pittsburg Pirates team during 18 MLB seasons as a right fielder. He died at 33 in December 1972.
He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973, becoming the first Latin American and Caribbean player to be enshrined. His untimely death established the precedent that, as an alternative to the five-year retirement period, a player who has been deceased for at least six months is eligible for entry into the Hall of Fame.