Councilman to Attend Conference in Cuba

Councilman William Paparian will travel to Cuba next week to attend a conference on U.S.-Cuba relations and deliver $100,000 worth of medical supplies for a charitable group.

Paparian, who ignited controversy two years ago by traveling to Cuba and publicly addressing officials while serving as Pasadena’s mayor, is part of a group seeking to end the U.S. economic blockade of the Communist island.

“This is a humanitarian mission,” said Paparian, who has faced praise and criticism for participating in five trips to Cuba since 1996.

The three-day conference beginning Tuesday on the normalization of relations between the two nations is titled “Building a New Future.” According to organizers and Paparian, film director Francis Ford Coppola is another member of the delegation.


Cuban leader Fidel Castro is expected to meet with delegates, Paparian said.

The Pasadena councilman said he will also deliver thousands of dollars in medical supplies and equipment that were paid for by Operation USA, a Los Angeles-based aid organization, to a Havana pediatric hospital.