Autumn 2021 Seminars at the University of Buckingham

What we can learn from the Cuban economy

Wednesday 13 October 5pm (Room tbc)   

Dr Emily Morris
Senior Research Associate
Institute for the Study of the Americas
University College London

We can learn a great deal from studying the Cuban economic system because it is unique. Although for many years Cuba’s economy was integrated into the Soviet bloc of communist countries, its economic system was never a copy of the others; and since the demise of the Soviet Union, Cuba has been developing its own path. The result has been a radical transformation of the economic structure and system of economic management, and an experience that provides a valuable case study in the possibilities and pitfalls of an alternative approach to economic development.

Emily Morris is a Development Economist specialising in Latin America and the Caribbean. She has taught at London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies, London Metropolitan University and London University’s Institute of Latin American Studies, as well as the UCL Institute of the Americas. She was Senior Editor/Economist, Latin America and Head of Country Reports at the Economist Intelligence Unit in London (1995-2008) and Country Economist for Belize at the Inter-American Development Bank (2014-17). Dr Morris’s doctoral thesis (2012) was on Cuban economic policy and performance after 1990 and her research focus is on recent economic history in Cuba and the Caribbean.

 

Understanding Raúl Castro is to understand the whole Cuba Revolution

Wednesday 10 November 5pm (Room tbc)

Antoni Kapcia
Emeritus Professor, Centre for Research on Cuba
Spanish & Latin American Studies
University of Nottingham

 

When Raúl Castro ‘succeeded’ his brother Fidel as Cuban president in 2008, the outside world largely tended to read that event as some sort of dynastic succession, seeing Raúl simply as Fidel’s younger brother, a leader who, through inexperience and lacking Fidel’s charisma and abilities, would probably fail to hold the system together. Indeed, others, watching his reform programme evolve, saw him as bringing a natural and long-overdue end to ‘the Revolution’. This paper argues that both readings were inaccurate, reflecting long-standing stereotypes of both Raúl himself and of what he continued to call ‘the Revolution’.  I will suggest other ways of understanding Raúl’s place in the whole six-decade long process from 1959, and, through that, throw light on the complexity and survival of that process.

Professor Antoni Kapcia founded the Centre for Research on Cuba at the University of Nottingham in 2004 and is considered one of the leading experts on Cuba in the world. The author of numerous books, his research has focused on modern Cuban history and politics, in particular on citizen participation, the Communist Party, the political system and cultural politics. He is currently collaborating with Dr Par Kumaraswami on a project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, and called ‘Beyond Havana and the nation? Peripheral identities and literary culture’. He is also completing a Historical Dictionary of Cuba for Scarecrow Press.