Former Visiting Scholar Completes Thesis on Cuban-American Lobbying

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From left to right: Professor Jesús López, Karla Elizabeth Rueda Vergara, Dr. Esperanza Martínez Ortiz, Dr. Jorge Durand, and Dr. Jorge Duany

On August 18, 2015, Karla Elizabeth Rueda Vergara successfully defended her B.A. thesis in international relations, entitled "Cuban Migration and Cuban-American Lobbying in the United States during Electoral Periods (1992–2015)," at the University of Guadalajara in Mexico. Her academic committee approved the thesis as outstanding and awarded her the maximum score. Ms. Rueda Vergara was a Visiting Scholar at the Cuban Research Institute during the fall of 2014.

The main research question of this thesis was: In what electoral context is the lobbying of the Cuban diaspora in the United States more effective and what factors intervene in this process? The central hypothesis was that during reelection campaigns, it is more likely that the Cuban diaspora can influence the decisions of the U.S. government, because of the interest of presidential candidates in being reelected and the Cuban-American community's clear electoral political agenda.

Ms. Rueda Vergara's basic methodological strategy consisted in a qualitative analysis of the achievements of Cuban-American lobbying during the first term of a presidential administration with those of the second, when the president sought to be reelected. Her cases focused on the administrations of William J. Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. The author conducted fieldwork in Miami, where she reviewed primary sources, particularly historical documents related to the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF), and interviewed representatives of several Cuban-American organizations.