Despite important steps both in Cuba and the United States to increase engagement, tensions between Washington and Havana continue to run high. Nonetheless, a number of academic, cultural and people-to-people exchanges are breaking the ice of Cold War-era politics and creating new opportunities for improving ties between the two countries. In that spirit, the Cuba-United States Academic Workshop (Taller Académico Cuba-EEUU or TACE), led by the University of Havana, American University and CRIES (Regional Coordination for Economic and Social Research), has met six times since 2009 in an atmosphere of open and constructive debate. TACE brings together scholars, former diplomats and economists to discuss relations between Cuba and the United States and search for common ground.
On May 21, the Brookings Institution hosted a panel of Cuban and American academics for the first public presentation of the group’s joint recommendations on ways to overcome some of the obstacles to engagement and contribute to a gradual improvement in bilateral relations. Andrés Serbin, Executive President of CRIES, offered introductory remarks. Carlos Alzugaray and Jorge Mario Sánchez from the University of Havana, as well as Philip Brenner and Sally Shelton-Colby from American University, served as panelists during the discussion. Senior Fellow Ted Piccone, deputy director of Foreign Policy at Brookings, moderated the conversation.
After the program, panelists took audience questions.