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University of Iowa News Release

Dec. 18, 2003

Symposium To Examine Cuba's Future And Cuba-Midwest Economic Ties

The future of Cuba and its economic relationship with the Midwest will be the focus of a two-day symposium in February at the University of Iowa College of Law.

"Whither Goes Cuba? Prospects for Economic & Social Development" will be held Feb. 6 and 7, and is sponsored by the law school's UI Center for International Finance and Development. Enrique Carrasco, UI law professor and director of the UICIFD, said the conference will bring together a diverse group of experts from around the country for a unique examination of the U.S.-Cuban relationship.

Cuba continues to be in the news frequently, as one of the world's last socialist countries and as a riddle for U.S. foreign policy makers. Carrasco said Cuba faced immense economic hardship after the fall of the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc because those countries provided the largest markets for Cuban exports.

"As a result of the collapse, Cuba's economy was exposed to the forces of capitalist-driven globalization," said Carrasco. To improve its economy, Cuba has been working to attract foreign investment and engage in international trade, and that has given rise to a push by U.S. Midwestern states to engage in trade and investment with Cuba despite the 40-year-old U.S. economic embargo.

"But this development has been opposed by several constituencies, especially in the key state of Florida, that want to maintain the embargo until Castro is gone and the country democratized," he said.

Carrasco said the symposium will look at U.S.-Cuba relations by examining the following issues: an overview of U.S.-Cuban trade; economic and social conditions in Cuba today; U.S. sanctions against Cuba and democratization; Cuba and globalization; good governance and Cuba; and the future of U.S.-Cuba trade and investment. Speakers will also cover linkages between trade and human rights in Cuba, U.S. government support for a future transition government in Cuba, health care in Cuba and national reconciliation.

Among those who will be presenting at the symposium will be Wayne Smith, head of Center for International Policy's Cuba Project; Adolfo Franco of the United States Agency for International Development; and Andy Gomez, a senior fellow at the Institute for Cuban & Cuban American Studies, University of Miami. The keynote speaker is Berta Hernandez-Truyol, professor of law at the University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law, who will discuss "Cuba: The Case for Linkages between Trade and Human Rights."

A detailed schedule of the program, registration forms and bios of the participants are available on the UICIFD's Web site at www.uiowa.edu/ifdebook.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Snee, 319-384-0010, tom-snee@uiowa.edu.