Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy Holds its Annual Conference

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HAVANA TIMES – The Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy* (ASCE) will hold its 28th annual conference titled “Cuba: After Raul?.” The three-day event will be all day Thursday, July 26th and Friday July 27th, as well as half day Saturday, July 28th, and will feature scholarly presentations and roundtable discussions by world-class experts, including from Cuba.

A wide range of topics will be discussed -changes in the domestic political situation (including the recent election of a new president, Miguel Diaz Canel), expected amendments to the Cuban constitution, recent developments in Cuba’s relations with the United States and Venezuela, Cuba’s current economic policies and dual currency system, self-employment, agriculture, energy, tourism, prospects for change and future growth, and social and legal issues impacting the economy.  Continuing law education credits are available for participants. 

The impressive roster of participants includes professor of Columbia University Andrés Velasco, former Finance Minister of Chile, who will deliver the “Carlos Diaz Alejandro Lecture” honoring the distinguished late Cuban economist. Cuban analyst for the Congressional Research Service Mark Sullivan, who will be the official luncheon’s keynote speaker. Travelling from Cuba to make presentations are distinguished economists Pavel Vidal Alejandro, Armando Nova, and Omar Everleny Perez Villanueva.

Also attending will be faculty members from many esteemed U.S. universities, independent journalists and economists, and several “cuentapropistas” (small entrepreneurs) from Cuba, as well as professionals from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the U.S. Department of Labor, and Department of State. A graduate and undergraduate student panel will have participants from four countries, including Cuba and Thailand, presenting papers that were submitted in a special competition for this conference.  

Helena Solo-Gabriele, Ph.D., ASCE’s president, notes: “With these valuable exchanges, we are generating a rich body of knowledge in line with ASCE’s mission of promoting scholarly discussion on the Cuban economy.” The Christopher Reynolds Foundation has provided key support for the student paper competition and the travel by Cuban scholars.

The conference will be held at the Miami Downtown Hilton Hotel (1601 Biscayne Boulevard).  For details, go to  https://www.ascecuba.org/conferences/, which includes instructions on how to register and how to reserve at the conference venue, the Miami Downtown Hilton Hotel, with a special rate. Accredited Journalists are welcome to attend free of charge but must register.  

A reporter from Havana Times will be covering the event for our readers.

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*The Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy (ASCE) is a non-profit, non-political, organization incorporated in the state of Maryland in 1990 whose mission is to promote research, publications, and scholarly discussion on the Cuban economy in its broadest sense, including on the social, economic, legal and environmental aspects of a transition to a free market economy and a democratic society in Cuba.  ASCE is committed to a civil discussion of all points of view.

7 thoughts on “Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy Holds its Annual Conference

  • July 17, 2018 at 3:33 pm
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    The ASCE reunion is an excellent opportunity for anyone interested in Cuba. The panels are very informative, but so is the conversation that goes on in the corridors, over meals and at the reception. This will be my 20th year at ASCE and I have learned a great deal everytime. All views are welcome and everyone is expected to show courtesy and respect for differring views.

    Gary H. Maybarduk
    ASCE Secretary (But speaking for myself)

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  • July 17, 2018 at 3:40 pm
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    This reads like a fantastic conference. Will it be in English or Spanish? I really hate to be pessimistic but unless the conference report afterwards concludes that the best course of action for the Cuban economy is more of the same, this scholarly event and the work product ir generates will be completely ignored. The Castros have no interest in improving the economy if it comes at the price of reducing their control over the country.

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    • July 17, 2018 at 7:37 pm
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      So what changes can be expected in Cuba as a consequence of the conference? Zero or none?

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      • July 18, 2018 at 11:03 pm
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        Please see my answer to Moses.

        For the record I share the pessimism of both of you. I will be presenting a paper entitled “Cuba’s Political and Economic Arteriosclerosis – It is not just the Castros” Its thesis is that the bureaucracy, ideology and the Party have now come together in a way that will block progress for possibly a generation after Raul is gone. I will be looking for and expect comments that will challenge my view.

        However, suppose Cuba started to change tomorrow, how should we, the US, respond? To do so intelligently and to avoid doing more harm than good it is important the American policy makers and an informed public understand Cuba as it is now. That is where scholarly discussion and the reporting of first hand experiences become important.

        I hope you come.

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        • July 19, 2018 at 6:23 pm
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          I understand your encouragement to others to attend ASCE discussions Gary, but the harsh reality is that nothing will change. The Cuban regime is currently tightening its grip on power with a mini-purge to demonstrate that nothing will change with Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez as President.
          Maybe you could persuade Marino Murillo as a qualified economist to attend, as his daughter lives in the US and as three years ago he gave a prolonged lecture to the National Assembly of his economic policies for Cuba complete with graphs. He could perhaps explain what went wrong!

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    • July 18, 2018 at 10:36 pm
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      The Conference is in both English and Spanish depending on the speaker.

      We know the printed proceeding and the same articles online are regulalrly read by economists on the island, so maybe they have some influence. (There is no attempt at writing a comprehensive report.) Officials from various US and Foreign government agencies often attend hoping to learn something new and to hear different opinions of which there are many.

      So yes it is scholarly, but is attended by many non-scholars

      ASCE is not that different from the Havana Times, which I enjoy reading everyday to keep informed. Its writers, however, have the luxury to study issues in detail and write longer and hopefully well informed papers. As I have said, despite 20 years of watching Cuba, in and out of government, I learn something every year.

      Please come and see for yourself and then report back to the Havana Times readers your own impressions.

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      • July 21, 2018 at 7:35 pm
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        Maybe the ASCE will be able to discuss the psychology of replacing the word “communist” with the word “socialist” in the so-called ‘new’ Constitution.
        The only possible conclusion being that it is just another attempt to fool the uninformed and politically innocent that there is some change in Cuba. There is none.
        I see little evidence Gary that economists in Cuba reading any of the proceedings of the ASCE have managed to effect any change whatever in policies.

        Reply

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