Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute

Tulane University

Cuba

The native Amerindian population of Cuba began to decline after European arrival on the island in 1492 and following its development as a Spanish colony during the next several centuries. Large numbers of African slaves were imported to work the coffee and sugar plantations, and Havana became the launching point for the annual treasure fleets bound for Spain from Mexico and Peru. Spanish rule eventually provoked an independence movement and occasional rebellions that were harshly suppressed. US intervention during the Spanish-American War in 1898 assisted the Cubans in overthrowing Spanish rule. The Treaty of Paris established Cuban independence from the US in 1902 after which the island experienced a string of governments mostly dominated by the military and corrupt politicians. Fidel Castro led a rebel army to victory in 1959; his iron rule held the subsequent regime together for nearly five decades. He stepped down as president in February 2008 in favor of his younger brother Raúl Castro. Cuba’s Communist revolution, with Soviet support, was exported throughout Latin America and Africa during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. The country faced a severe economic downturn in 1990 following the withdrawal of former Soviet subsidies worth $4 billion to $6 billion annually. Cuba portrays its difficulties as the result of the US embargo in place since 1961. Illicit migration to the US – using homemade rafts, alien smugglers, air flights, or via the southwest border – is a continuing problem. The US Coast Guard intercepted 2,656 individuals attempting to cross the Straits of Florida in fiscal year 2007.

CIA World Factbook: Cuba
Photo by M.A. Candidate Heriberto Cabada, Stone Center for Latin American Studies

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CIPR talk series Critical Issues in Democratic Governance to host political economist Dr. Katrina Burgess

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Join the Center for Inter-American Policy and Research and the Stone Center for Latin American Studies in welcoming Dr. Katrina Burgess as part of the fall speaker series Critical Issues in Democratic Governance, on Friday, November 16, in 110A Jones Hall. Dr. Burgess will give a talk titled Courting Migrants: How States Make Diasporas and Diasporas Make States.

The event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP to cipr@tulane.edu.

Katrina Burgess (Ph.D., Princeton University) is Associate Professor of Political Economy of Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. She is author of Parties and Unions in the New Global Economy, which won the 2006 Outstanding Book Award for the best publication on labor issues granted by the Section on Labor Studies and Class Relations of the Latin American Studies Association, and co-editor with Abraham F. Lowenthal of The California-Mexico Connection. She has also published numerous book chapters, as well as articles in World Politics, Latin American Politics & Society, Studies in Comparative International Development, South European Politics and Society, Comparative Political Studies, Politica y gobierno, and International Studies Review. Dr. Burgess has also served as Assistant Director of the U.S.-Mexico Project at the Overseas Development Council in Washington, D.C. and Associate Director of the California-Mexico Project at USC in Los Angeles.

Patterns of migrant engagement in politics back home cannot be understood without examining the ways in which homeland states reach out to their migrants. Since states engaged in what can be called diaspora-making are unable to deploy many of the tools of rule within their borders, they are especially reliant on the cultivation of loyalty. The agents, motives, and loyalty-cultivation strategies of diaspora-making have important implications for whether homeland parties mobilize voters abroad, as demonstrated by the contrasts between Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

Teaching Cuban Culture & Society: A K-12 Summer Educator Institute in Cuba

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The Stone Center for Latin American Studies and the Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute at Tulane University are proud to announce a two-week summer educator institute exploring the geography, culture and history of Cuba. For an educator, Cuba is rich with lessons to bring into the classroom. This program highlights the important historical and cultural connections between the United States and Cuba. Participants will explore key sites and meet local experts and artists who will provide unique insight for educators who teach such subjects as U.S./Latin American Relations, World Geography, World History, and Spanish among others. Come and visit the site of the historic Bay of Pigs, explore Milton Hershey’s sugar plantation and hear firsthand about the Cuban national literacy campaign from the teachers themselves.

More information coming soon!

Please email crcrts@tulane.edu or call 504.865.5164 for additional details.