Interviewed on The Cuban Economy in a New Era: An Agenda for Change toward Durable Development, a work he co-edited, Harvard professor Jorge Dominguez in July 2018 brought focus to the economic underpinnings that impelled Cuba to expand its tourism and services export sectors over the past decade. Jorge Dominguez also explored the nation’s three-decades-long efforts to create a world-class biotechnology sector.
With Cuba’s applied science program operates at the highest level, the business side of its biotech endeavors has been underwhelming. For instance, there is not enough client-informed knowledge of how to accomplish tasks such as producing deliverables on time. With efforts underway to improve business practices, whether it will ultimately be successful is still unclear.
Another major thrust in Cuba’s strategy is obtaining needed capital through attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), which was not encouraged under former president Fidel Castro. With Castro’s son Raul, his successor, having made forays into FDI, it remains to be seen whether new president Miguel Díaz-Canel can make good on his promise to accelerate FDI. Areas in which the impact could be felt significantly include agriculture and biotech, with partnerships in the latter area potentially bringing about improvements to business practices.
Professor Jorge Dominguez is an accomplished academic and scholar from Harvard University. The author of several books and publications, Jorge Dominguez edited the book “Mexico’s Pivotal Democratic Election,” which analyzes Mexico’s 2000 presidential election.
Mexico’s 2000 presidential election was monumental because it marked the ouster of the dominant ruling party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which had been in power for over 70 years. The election was won by Vicente Fox Quesada, a rough-spoken businessman who ran a robust grassroots campaign that galvanized the country.
Fox, the governor of a small state, ran on the National Action Party ticket. In his campaign, he pledged to fight corruption, improve the living standards of the country’s poor, reinvigorate the educational system, and boost the economy. Regarding the latter promise, he touted his background as a former Coca Cola regional executive as proof of his business savvy. But perhaps his most enduring message was summed up in his slogan “Ya!,” which translates to “enough already.” The message resonated with the thousands of Mexicans who were tired of PRI’s single party dominance.
PRI candidate Francisco Labastida, who was second in command during the immediate former presidency, came in second while veteran politician and Democratic Revolution Party candidate Cuauhtemoc Cardenas came in third. In his victory speech, Fox affirmed his commitment to uniting the country and respecting the country’s international responsibilities.