Blanco, Leon and Obama

Two Cubans (Richard Blanco and Rev. Luís León) participated in Obama’s second inauguration, generating heated controversy among Cubans.  To learn more about it, read my previous blog, “Cubans and Obama’s Inauguration.”

Separate from the controversy, these two individuals will be forever engraved in the annals of history, as representatives of the President’s stand on human rights, including immigration reform, and a first in a presidential inauguration’s speech, gay rights.

For those who missed the inauguration festivities or wish to read or see again the participation of these two Cubans in Obama’s second inaugural, follow the links bellow.


Richard Blanco is the youngest, first Latino and first gay person to assume the role of “official poet” at a presidential inauguration. Son of Cuban immigrants, Blanco explored his role as a gay man in Cuban-American culture in Looking for the Gulf Motel (2012). His works have appeared in The Nation, Ploughshares, Indiana Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, New England Review, and American Review.

Click the link below to read his inaugural poem, “One Today,” which he delivered for Obama’s second inaugural on Monday, January 21st.  The text of the poem was provided by the Presidential Inaugural Committee.


Rev. Luís León, Episcopal priest, delivered the Benediction at Obama’s Inauguration. He is the Rector at St. John’s Church in Washington, DC, known as the “Church of the Presidents” because it’s located across the street from the White House and many presidents attend services there.

Before joining St. John’s, Rev. Luís León served as Rector of Trinity Church in Wilmington, Delaware, and St. Paul’s Church in Paterson, New Jersey.

Born in Cuba, he came to the United States in 1961 when he was 11 yrs. old. Luís joined 14,000 other children as part of the Pedro Pan program, an effort that took care of children arriving in this country without their parents, fleeing the Castro regime.

Click on the link below to see a video of Rev. Luís León delivering the Benediction.

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