By Allison Lundy, Staff Writer
Mason graduate student Daniel Pedreira met with President Ángel Cabrera last May to discuss his new book.
“El Ultimo Constituyente: El desarrollo politico de Emilio “Millo” Ochoa,” a biography, presents the life of Cuban Senator Emilio Ochoa and traces it in the context of Cuban history.
Pedreira was born and raised in Miami, a major hub of Cuban culture, and met Ochoa on several occasions. His interest in politics and history led him to study International Studies and Political Science at the University of Miami, where he earned his bachelor’s degree. After Ochoa’s death in 2007, Pedreira decided he wanted to know more about this influential figure who Pedreira believes, “could’ve become president of Cuba.”
In Cuba, Ochoa founded two political parties, was both a Senator and House member and was the last surviving delegate to the 1940 Cuban Constitution. In the 1960s, when Fidel Castro came to power, Ochoa left Cuba and came to the United States after being persecuted for his political beliefs.
“It is a period in history that is rarely covered,” Pedreira said.
The lack of scholarship was one of Pedreira’s motivations for writing a book on this topic. He believes it is important to know what happened in the past in order to understand what is going on now and that learning about past injustices will help prevent the impeding of democratic progress in the future.
“Castro totally turned the system upside down,” Pedreira said on his rise to power.
After coming to Mason to complete his master’s degree in Peace Operations, Pedreira was able to publish the book. Pedreira said his meeting Cabrera was brief, but they talked about the book itself, Pedreira’s background and Ochao’s role in the Miami community.
“[Cabrera was] very happy to see a student write a book,” Padreira said.