Feb 6

Past Event

Cuba 2008: Opportunities and Challenges

Event Materials


Fewer than 100 miles from the United States, Cuba is on the verge of a new era with challenges and opportunities for Cubans and Americans alike. Cuba after Fidel Castro may see a wide range of changes, including an end to international political and economic isolation. However, fundamental change within Cuba will depend on Cuba’s new leadership and whether it will afford the Cuban people individual freedoms and the needed economic reforms. Cuba’s ability to institute change, and the degree of the changes put in place, likely will determine how the United States will respond, if it even responds at all, with substantive policy engagement. U.S. policy-makers from both sides of the aisle and the American people have the power to influence and foster change during Cuba’s transition.

On February 6, the Brookings Institution hosted a conference to provide the insights critical to confronting the challenges and seizing opportunities as a new Cuba emerges. A distinguished panel of experts on Cuba and Latin American discussed whether Cuba’s leaders will be up to the challenge of managing the succession and beyond.

>> Read the uncorrected transcript:

Event Agenda

  • 9:00 – 9:30 A.M. Welcome Remarks

  • 9:30 – 10:45 A.M. Panel One – Cuba and the World: Succession to Transition

    • Peter Hakim

      President, Inter-American Dialogue (Moderator)

    • Jaime Suchlicki

      Director, Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies, University of Miami

    • Riordan Roett

      School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University

  • 11:00 A.M. – 12:30 P.M. Panel Two – After Fidel: Political and Social Change

    • Julia Sweig

      Director, Latin American Studies, Council on Foreign Relations (Moderator)

    • Marifeli Pérez–Stable

      Vice President, Democratic Governance, Inter-American Dialogue

    • Andy S. Gomez

      Assistant Provost, University of Miami

    • Phil Peters

      Vice President, Lexington Institute

    • Portrait: Raj Desai
  • 1:45 – 3:15 P.M. Panel Three - It's the Economy: Contraints and Incentives to Reform

    • Carmelo Mesa-Lago

      University of Pittsburgh (Moderator)

    • Carlos Saladrigas

      Co-Chairman, Cuba Study Group

    • Robert Muse

      Law Offices of Robert L. Muse

    • Daniel P. Erikson

      Director, Caribbean Programs, Inter-American Dialogue

    • Kirby Jones

      President, U.S. Cuba Trade Association

  • 3:30 – 5:00 P.M. Panel Four – Why Cuba Matters to the U.S.

    • Ann Louise Bardach

      Author/Journalist, Global Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara (Moderator)

    • Francisco J. (Pepe) Hernandez

      President, Cuban American National Foundation

    • William LeoGrande

      Dean, School of Public Affairs, American University

    • Jorge Pinon

      Energy Fellow, University of Miami

    • John McAuliff

      Executive Director, Fund for Reconciliation and Development

  • 5:00 P.M. Closing Remarks


February 6, 2008

8:30 AM - 5:15 PM EST

University of California Washington Center

1608 Rhode Island Ave., NW


For More Information

Brookings Office of Communications

(202) 797-6105