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The New Cuba and the Impact of the New Cuban Diaspora on Transforming the Homeland

Friday, October 26, 2012
12:00 AM
Haven Hall, Room 3512

A lecture by Susan Eckstein, Professor of Sociology and International Relations at Boston University.

For the first thirty years of Castro’s rule the government created a “wall” between Cubans who emigrated and those who stayed loyal to the revolution, and Cubans in the diaspora supported an embargo of Cuba on both the state-to-state and people-to-people level as impermeable as possible, in hopes of thereby bringing Castro’s regime to heel. But after Soviet aid and trade ended, with the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Cuba was forced to reintegrate into the capitalist world economy. Needing hard currency, the government transformed the diaspora into a dollar generating strategy, by facilitating and tacitly encouraging remittance-sending. In my presentation I will document how and why the government encouraged remittance-sending, tensions between its interests in remittances and those of recipients, and contradictions inherent in the hard currency accumulation strategy that are transforming socialism as Cubans knew it.

Professor Eckstein is a specialist on urbanization, immigration, poverty, rights and injustices, and social movements in the context of Third World Countries. She has also written on agrarian reform, comparative development, and effects of revolution. Her main focus is on Latin America. She has written most extensively on Mexico, Cuba, and Bolivia. Currently she am working on immigration and its impact across borders, focusing on the Cuban experience in particular. She has also done some writing on working class volunteerism and suburban ethnicity in the U.S. Professor Eckstein is the author of three books (in multiple editions) and editor of another three books in English. She has further published two books in Spanish and authored about seven dozen articles, winning several awards for her publications. She has held grants and fellowships from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Social Science Research Council, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Institute for World Order, a Mellon-MIT grant, the Ford Foundation, and the Tinker Foundation. She has served as President of the Latin American Studies Association and of the New England Council on Latin America; held numerous other positions in the two societies as well as in the American Sociological Association and the Eastern Sociological Society; and served on the editorial boards of about a dozen journals and press editorial boards.

Susan Eckstein, Professor of Sociology and International Relations at Boston University