The Technology Boom and Latin America

 

How Former President Obama Sought Improved US Relations with Cuba

The former chair of Harvard University’s Academy for International and Area Studies, Jorge Dominguez retired from active teaching after more than 45 years at the University. Jorge Dominguez has written extensively about US relations with Cuba, specifically on the improved relations the two countries have had since former President Barrack Obama took office.

Obama was keen to improve relations between the United States and Cuba. He first made known his willingness to engage in dialogue with Cuba during the 2007 Democratic Primary Debate. After winning the party ticket and consequently the presidency, he made a concerted effort to engage with the island nation. He lifted restrictions on remittances and facilitated easier travel between the US and Cuba, slowly chipping away at an economic embargo that had been in place for decades.

However, it was not until his second term that he pushed to normalize relations between the two countries. Through a raft of bilateral agreements that began in 2014, former President Obama and his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro negotiated a historic prisoner swap and further eased restrictions on travel between the two countries. The new push for normalized relations saw the Cuban government open a bank account in the United States, US companies begin operating in Cuba, and postal services between the two countries resume. Cuba was removed from the US State Sponsors of Terrorism List in 2015, and, months later, Obama became the first sitting US president to set foot on Cuba in 88 years.

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.

Frontline – Crisis in Central America

Jorge Dominquez
Jorge Dominquez

A former professor of government and international affairs, Jorge Dominguez retired from Harvard University in June 2018. In addition to editing more than a dozen books and writing a range of books and articles, Jorge Dominguez served as the senior editor of the Frontline special report, Crisis in Central America.

A four-part Frontline series that originally aired in the spring of 1985, Crisis in Central America is divided into the episodes “The Yankee Years,” “Castro’s Challenge,” “Revolution in Nicaragua,” and “Battle for El Salvador.” The makers of this comprehensive television project employed rare historical footage to examine the long history of American involvement in Cuba, taking viewers from the 1898 Spanish-American War to wars in El Salvador and Nicaragua through the mid 1980s. There is an in-depth analysis of circumstances in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Cuba, and the wider set of countries in Central America and the Caribbean, as well as a close examination, in visual splendor, of U.S. policies toward this region.

The Peabody Board honored the journalistic achievement of Crisis in Central America with Peabody Awards for both WGBH-TV and The Blackwell Corporation.

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