U.S. – Cuba Relations and the Cuban Economy: A Roundtable



U.S. – Cuba Relations and the Cuban Economy: A Roundtable

On December 17, 2014, President Obama announced the implementation of a series of new policy measures to “chart a new course on Cuba” – marking a radical departure from long-standing U.S. policies towards Cuba. Washington’s “new course on Cuba” presents a new set of challenges and opportunities for U.S.-Cuba relations and is likely to have a lasting impact in key sectors of the Cuban economy such as: agriculture, international trade, investment, migration, self-employment and travel and tourism.

In this Roundtable, a group of academic and non-academic experts will analyze and discuss the implications of these policy measures on U.S – Cuba relations, and on key sectors of the Cuban economy.

Date: Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Time: 2:00PM to 4:00PM

Location: Baker Trial Courtroom


School of Law

123 Washington Street

Newark, NJ 07102

U.S. – Cuba Relations and the Cuban Economy: A Roundtable

2:00 PM to 2:15 PM

Introduction and Welcoming Remarks

Carlos Seiglie

Chair, Department of Economics, Rutgers University (Newark)

President, Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy (ASCE)

2:15 PM to 3:00 PM

Panel I: International Relations and Global Economic Integration

  1. Recent Developments and Future Prospects for U.S.-Cuba Agricultural Trade,” Armando Nova-González, Centro de Investigaciones de la Economía Internacional (CIEI), Universidad de La Habana, and Mario González-Corzo, Economics Department, Lehman College, CUNY.
  2. The External Insertion of the Cuban Economy and Global Value Chains: Challenges and Proposals,” Lazaro Peña Castellanos, Centro de Investigaciones de la Economía Internacional (CIEI), Universidad de La Habana.


3:00 PM to 3:30 PM

3:30 PM to 4:15 PM

Panel II: Recent Changes in U.S-Cuba Relations: Possible Impacts on the Cuban Economy

  1. Enterprising Cuba: Citizen Empowerment, State Abandonment, or US Business Opportunity,” Ted Henken, Department of Black and Latino Studies, Baruch College, CUNY.
  2. Why has the Growth of the Cuban Economy been so Strong since the mid-1990s?”Ernesto Hernández-Catá, Former Director, IMF


4:15 PM to 4:45 PM

Presenters’ Biographies

Mario González-Corzo (Ph.D., Rutgers University) is Associate Professor at the Department of Economics at Lehman College of the City University of New York (CUNY). He is also an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University and at Rutgers University (Newark). Dr. González-Corzo is a Contributing Editor for the section on the Cuban economy for the Handbook of Latin American Studies (HLAS) published by the Library of Congress. He is also a Faculty Fellow at the Cuba Project at the Bildner Center for Western Hemisphere Studies at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY), and a Research Associate at the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies (ICCAS) at the University of Miami (FL).

Ted Henken (Ph.D., Tulane University) – Professor Ted A. Henken’s newest book, “Entrepreneurial Cuba: The Changing Policy Landscape,” co-authored with Canadian economist Archibald R.M. Ritter, was published in January 2015. Called “a provocative, compelling, and essential read” by one reviewer, the book looks at how Cuba has dramatically reformed its policies toward small private enterprise during the presidency of Raúl Castro, how Cuban entrepreneurs have responded with creativity and innovation, and what the U.S. can do to encourage greater reforms and empower the Cuban entrepreneurial class. A noted expert on the Cuban Internet, Henken also recently co-wrote the article, “From Cyberspace to Public Space? The Emergent Blogosphere and Cuban Civil Society” with Sjamme van de Voort, published in “The Revolution under Raúl Castro: A Contemporary Cuba Reader” (2015).

Henken currently serves as President ex-officio of the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy (ASCE, 2014-2016) after having served as President of ASCE from 2012-2014. He is frequently interviewed by leading international newspapers and media outlets on Cuba, including The New York Times, CNBC, CNN, PBS News Hour, The Wall Street Journal, CCTV, Al Jazeera, USA Today, Time Magazine, the AP, Reuters, The Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald, NPR’s “All Things Considered,” “Marketplace,” and “On Point,” and the BBC’s “The World” program. He has also served as a consultant on Cuba for Freedom House, Human Rights Watch, CNN, CBC, the U.S. Department of State, the Mexican Foreign Ministry, and The Boston Red Sox.

Ernesto Hernández-Catá (Ph.D., Yale University) received his License in Political Science from the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, and his Ph.D in Economics from Yale University. Hernández-Catá spent most of his career at the International Monetary Fund where he served as Associate Director of the African and the Western hemisphere Departments; manager of the World Economic Outlook in the Research Department; and chief negotiator with the Russian Federation. From 1976 to 1979 he was an Economist in the Division of International Finance of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. He taught macroeconomics and monetary policy at the Latin American Program in Applied Economics of The American University, and economic development at the School of Advanced International Studies of the John Hopkins University. He has written extensively on, Russia, transition problems in the former Soviet Union, economic development in Africa, and the U.S., Mexican, and Cuban economies.

Armando Nova González (Ph.D., University of Havana) is a Senior Researcher and Professor at the Center for the Study of the Cuban Economy at the University of Havana. He earned his doctorate degree in economics at the University of Havana in 1989 and his B.A. in economics at the University of Havana in 1969. He has conducted more than 84 research studies on the Cuban economy and has published more than 65 articles in different Cuban and international journals. He is the author of La agricultura en Cuba: evolución y trayectoria, 1959-2005 (Editorial de Ciencias Sociales, 2006), Aspectos económicos de los cítricos en Cuba (Editorial Científico-Técnica, 1988) and a third book, as well as co-authored two other volumes.

Lázaro Peña (Ph.D., University of Havana) is director of the Research Center on International Economy and executive secretary of the Sugar Chair Álvaro Reynoso at the University of Havana. He graduated with a B.A. in 1978 and a Ph.D. in economics in 1997 from the University of Havana. His research focuses on the Cuban sugar industry and its relationship to the world markets. Dr. Peña has participated in international conferences and congresses in Canada, Mexico, Chile and the United States.

Carlos Seiglie (Ph.D., University of Chicago) is Professor and Chair of the economics department at Rutgers-Newark. In addition, he is on the faculty of the Division of Global Affairs at Rutgers-Newark where he served as Program Director until July of 2011. He is also an affiliated faculty member of the Center for Latin American Studies, Rutgers University-New Brunswick. He received his BA degree from Rutgers University and his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago. His research interests include applied microeconomics, defense economics, and international economics. He has taught at Columbia University, the Helsinki School of Economics (now Aalto University School of Economics), University of Alicante and the Université Pierre Mendes France – Grenoble II. In addition, he has been a consultant to both public and private institutions. Dr. Seiglie is the author of more than 50 refereed journal articles and book chapters and serves on the editorial boards of several journals.

Ricardo Torres is director of the Cuban Economy Team at the Center for the Study of the Cuban Economy (CEEC) and professor of economics at the University of Havana. He has contributed in various books such as Cincuenta años de la economía cubana (2010); Cuba: hacia una estrategia de desarrollo para los inicios del siglo XXI (2012); and has published in Harvard International Review. He received a fellowship at the University of Hitotsubashi in Tokyo (2007-2009) and has been awarded visiting scholarships at Harvard University (2011), Ohio State University (2012), and Columbia University (2013).

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