Category Archives: Cuba

The Technology Boom and Latin America

 

2015 Paper Reveals Important Insights into Cuban Economy

Jorge Dominguez
Image: people.fas.harvard.edu

A former professor at Harvard University, Jorge Dominguez achieved the distinction of becoming the institution’s first vice provost for international affairs before retiring in 2018. With a focus on Latin American politics, Jorge Dominguez regularly shared his insights in newspaper and magazine articles, including the paper “What You Might not Know About the Cuban Economy,” published in the Harvard Business Review.

The article furnished a comprehensive look at the history of the Cuban economy, backed up by statistics to help readers understand how the country may develop following the restoration of Cuban-U.S. ties in 2014. For instance, it highlighted the fact that the country’s gross domestic product per capita in 1985 was approximately the same as in 2015. Further, the Cuban economy hadn’t effectively recovered since the 2008-2009 financial crisis, and, at the time of the article’s publication, the annual growth rate had the potential to be close to zero.

One of the positive aspects of the Cuban economy the article focused on was the country’s sustained investment in human capital. Individuals in the Cuban workforce are well-educated and furnished inexpensive services, and these assets could be enhanced through smart investment and government legislation.

The Cuban Economy in a New Era

Recently retired Harvard University professor Jorge Dominguez taught at the school from 1972 to 2018. Over the course of his career, Jorge Dominguez has authored and edited a wide range of books and articles on political science and international affairs. One of Dr. Dominguez’ most recent projects was co-editing The Cuban Economy in a New Era.

Subtitled “An Agenda for Change toward Durable Development,” the book features contributions from leading Cuban economists who have been collaborating with Harvard scholars for more than a decade. The Harvard University David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies published the book in 2017 for distribution through the Harvard University Press.

The Cuban Economy in a New Era begins by examining a range of challenges within the Cuban economic system, including its bankrupt sugar industry and dilapidated public infrastructure. The book then outlines possible solutions to Cuba’s economic woes in areas that include macroeconomic policy, central planning, state enterprise management, and partnerships with global financial institutions.

New U.S. Policies Target Cuban Socialism While Hurting Entrepreneurs

Jorge Dominguez
Image: people.fas.harvard.edu

As a Harvard University professor emeritus, Jorge I. Dominguez, PhD, brought focus to Latin American politics while expanding the institution’s presence in international affairs. One of Dr. Jorge Dominguez’s areas of focus was on developing a fuller understanding of, and explicating, the complex social and economic underpinnings of Cuba’s oft-dysfunctional communist government.

A recent article in Quartz brought attention to recent moves by the Trump administration to restrict movement of people and cash between Cuba and the United States. The new policies announced by National Security Advisor John Bolton include severely restricting U.S. travel to Cuba and limiting the amount of money Cuban Americans can send to family members in Cuba to $1,000 per three-month period.

Many of the existing sources of hard currency revenue and capital are in tourist sectors such as hotels, restaurants, tours, and travel guides. With Cuba at high risk of losing Venezuela as an oil-backed economic patron, food and fuel shortages are an increasing concern, and continuing economic stagnation looms large.

Unfortunately, the effect of the new U.S. policies will be most impactful against a nascent community of entrepreneurs who have responded to economic liberalization in recent years. The post-Castro government is one that has weathered six decades of crippling embargoes and knows about subsistence survival.

Travel restrictions are likely to prevent the emergence of an alternative to “stagnant state-owned enterprises.” Additionally, by pushing Cuba away, the U.S. will effectively incentivize the communist country to forge stronger ties with China and Russia.