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Office of Global Engagement

Conference | Cuban Transitions: What's Left Out?

May 6, 2016

Friday, May 6, 2016
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Joukowsky Forum

Cuba, we are told, is “in transition.” Following the historic announcement of December 17, 2014, commentators of all stripes have descended on the island to marvel over the vestiges of its Socialist past. Diplomatic rapprochement has even driven a tourist rush, as Europeans and Americans alike hurry to get there “before the yumas” (as Americans are known in Cuba). Cuba’s liminality has become ever more tantalizing in light of its presumably imminent disappearance, a fetish that draws its power from “our” role—as Americans, that is—in both creating and now destroying the fragile ecosystem of a society without McDonalds and Wal-Mart. Lost in the shuffle are the voices and themes more ambiguous in their implications, including Raúl Castro’s recent domestic reforms and the sharpening of class and racial stratification in their wake. This one-day international conference features precisely these questions: what is missed when we speak only of "transitions"?