A former professor at Harvard University, Jorge I. Dominguez taught courses on international politics, focusing on Cuba and Latin America. Jorge Dominguez has also authored several articles on Latin American political science and democratic development, including The Democratic Claims of Communist Regime Leaders.
The publication zooms in on claims from Cuba’s political leaders that the country has maintained a substantial level of democratic procedures in its elections system. According to Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, Cuba implemented descriptive inclusion in the 2018 election to ensure demographic representation regarding gender and race to reflect the national population distribution. The article investigates the existence of demographic inclusion (gender and race) and disparities, the age gap of Cuban Council members, and the application of voter information in the selection and deselection of council members.
The article finds that the claims of democratic procedures and electoral fairness are not credible. Cuba’s popular election results have little impact on Council membership.
An expert in Latin American political science, democratic development, and Cold War history, Jorge I. Dominguez is a writer, publisher, and former Harvard professor who served as an active member of many professional organizations during his career. From 1983 to 2018, Jorge I. Dominguez was a member of the Inter-American Dialogue, a nonprofit funded by the Network of Global Leaders program grants, and other sources.
Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Inter-American Dialogue has over 60 years of experience in creating methods to better integrate Latin American countries into world affairs. Its initiatives and programs pertain to global political and economic systems as well as social and cultural movements, alongside tracking its target area’s progress in adopting reforms in these subjects. Its 100 members comprise leading experts with global representation, more than half from Latin American countries, in fields including but not limited to politics, academia, and media. The group’s area of focus encompasses over 35 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Dr. Jorge I. Dominguez was a longtime Harvard University professor who served as chair of the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies. Among the textbooks Dr. Jorge I. Dominguez has edited is “Cuban Economic and Social Development: Policy Reforms and Challenges in the 21st Century,” and he maintains a focus on trends in this area.
A May 2022 World Politics Review article brought focus to Miguel Diaz-Canel’s emergence as president in 2018. This culminated in his being named Cuban Communist Party chief in 2021. Between these milestones, Diaz-Canel favored a number of institutional reforms that included the creation of a new prime minister position, while working to implement a limited number of market economic reforms within an essentially static state-run system.
At the same time, the byword of Diaz-Canel’s leadership has been “continuity,” which has disappointed those in search of even more systemic reforms that would unlock Cuba’s entrepreneurial potential. In addition, the faltering US-Cuba relations during the term of President Trump placed even Havana’s limited efforts to privatize portions of the economy at risk. While many expected the normalization process begun under President Obama to gain traction under Joe Biden, Trump-era rules remained in place during a 15-month policy review process. This underlined the back-burner status of Cuba in current US political calculations.
The review did finally wind up with the most extreme sanctions being lifted, including those impacting the ability of Americans to study in Cuba, and restrictions on cash remittances were lifted. This did not mark a shift toward normalization, however, and mass protests have occurred since then, reflecting an often desperate population with few good economic options.
A writer and publisher, Dr. Jorge I. Dominguez served in a variety of roles during his time at Harvard University, from professor of undergraduate and graduate students to 14 years as chair of the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies. Dr. Jorge I. Dominguez has also edited a number of books through the Harvard University Press. Cambridge University Press published his co-edited Challenges of Party-Building in Latin America.
Published in 2016, Challenges of Party-Building in Latin America serves as an in-depth analysis of the overall weakness of political parties throughout Latin America. In addition to the collapse of parties in several countries, a number of new party-building efforts have ended in failure. The text, which Dr. Dominguez co-edited with Steven Levitsky, James Loxton, and Brandon Van Dyck, examines why party building is so challenging in Latin America, while also exploring why certain parties manage to succeed and sustain support.
The book questions whether the introduction of democratic elections naturally supports the development of strong, durable political parties. At the same time, writers propose the idea that intense political and cultural conflict may provide better conditions for forging a strong party, as opposed to periods of routine democracy. The book holds this belief up against numerous civil wars, revolutions, and other events defining Latin America’s recent history.
Many of the book’s chapters are formatted as case studies that examine the formation of existing political parties, as well as failed political movements.