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January

After four years of harsh sanctions by the Trump Administration, the relationship between Cuba and the United States is at the lowest point in decades, and his successor, Joe Biden, must take the initiative to rebuild it, experts estimate.

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The volume, "Picturing Cuba: Art, Culture, and Identity on the Island and in the Diaspora," edited by Dr. Jorge Duany, is now available as a paperback. The book is the result of a 2017 CRI conference, which assessed the significance of Cuban and Cuban-American art for the construction of national and diasporic identities.

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Watch the panel discussion on the edited volume, "La Cuba que quisimos," held at the annual meeting of the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy (ASCE), including several of the contributors to the book.

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February

The Cuban Research Institute, the Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center, and the FIU Libraries are pleased to request applications from scholars and graduate students for the summer of 2021. The Díaz-Ayala Library Travel Grants provide the opportunity to conduct research in the special collections and archives related to Cuba and Cuban Americans at the FIU Libraries.

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In recent months, U.S. Coast Guard officials have detected a new uptick in Cuban rafters, with the number intercepted at sea in the fiscal year that started in October already surpassing the total for the previous 12 months. Though still vastly lower than previous surges, the recent increase has sparked concern that as economic and humanitarian conditions in Cuba worsen, more will risk their lives at sea.

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Congratulations to Dr. Elaine Acosta González on her book chapter in "The Palgrave Handbook on Gender and Migration!" In this essay, Dr. Acosta González analyzes the relationship between international migration patterns and both population aging and the crisis of elderly care in Cuba.

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CRI Affiliate Faculty member Dr. Guillermo Grenier explores some of the historical and social process that led most Cuban Americans to vote for the Republican Party.

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The Spanish press has just published "Obra selecta" ["Selected Works"], by Dr. Jorge Duany. The book gathers several academic essays and journalistic articles on transnational migration and national identity in Cuba and Puerto Rico.

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The development of small and medium enterprises—particularly in this moment of recession—is one of the main themes to be approached in a March 18 workshop sponsored by CasaCuba, CRI, and the College of Business at FIU.

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March

In an op-ed piece, CRI Visiting Scholar Elaine Acosta González analyzes the impact of monetary unification and other economic reforms on the Cuban population, particularly on its quality of life and social protection.

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This course will examine the historical origins and development of mass migration from Latin America and the Caribbean to the United States, especially Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic. The discussion will focus on the construction and reconstruction of cultural identities among Latin American immigrants, noting their similarities and differences in the United States.

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Some 100,000 petitions were filed by Cubans and Cuban Americans in the U.S. hoping to reunite with family members on the island which are on hold as visa processing at the Havana embassy remains suspended. As the Biden administration reviews its Cuba policy, some in the exile community are clamoring for a quick resolution.

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April

After Raúl Castro's resignation as first secretary of Cuba's Communist Party, it will be the first time that a person who does not belong to the Castro family has led the political organization that governs the Caribbean island since the triumph of the revolution. This edition of "El Debate" (France 24) analyzes this issue together with guests María Werlau, executive director of Archivo Cuba; and Sebastián Arcos, associate director of FIU's Cuban Research Institute.

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Reuters reports on Castro's resignation from his post as first secretary of the Commmunist Party of Cuba. "For all his reputation as the pragmatic Castro, he did little beyond successfully managing the transition to a second-tier leadership," said Sebastián Arcos, associate director of Florida International University’s Cuban Research Institute, whose father and uncle were prominent dissidents. “And no one knows how long that will last."

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For the first time in over five decades, a leader without the last name Castro is expected to take the helm of Cuba’s ruling party as officials try to usher through a generational leadership change amid a crushing economic crisis. Raúl Castro is expected to step down as the Communist Party’s first secretary general, considered the most powerful political position on the island, during the organization’s Eighth Congress, which is slated to begin Friday.

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According to Univisión 23, the number of Cubans detained at sea trying to reach the United States tripled from 49 in 2020 to 152 in 2021. CRI Director Jorge Duany helps to explain the recent rise in undocumented migration from Cuba.

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May

The gift will support the mission and construction of CasaCuba, the university’s center for the celebration and preservation of Cuban culture and the study of Cuban affairs. The facility will feature galleries for a wide range of exhibits, as well as a state-of-the-art venue for events, classes, performances, and dynamic programming.

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The Sergio Arboleda University in Colombia has published a new volume entitled "Crisis de cuidados, envejecimiento y políticas de bienestar en Cuba," edited by CRI Visiting Scholar Elaine Acosta. The book covers various groups that require care, such as the elderly, children, and disabled people, as well as different strategies to provide care for them.

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CRI Visiting Scholar Elaine Acosta has just edited a special issue of the online journal "Foro Cubano" on the multiple crises of Cuban society, aggravated by the coronavirus pandemic and the U.S. embargo.

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Racial and ethnic segregation in Miami-Dade County has affected the percentage of people vaccinated against the coronavirus. Neighborhoods with large proportions of Central American and Haitian immigrants have much lower rates than those with South American and Cuban immmigrants.

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Congratulations to our colleagues at the FIU Libraries and especially Verónica González from the Díaz-Ayala Collection for their award from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). The grant will help to reformat, digitize, and provide online access to thousands of cassettes of music from the Caribbean.

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The Cuban Research Institute, the Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center, and the FIU Libraries are pleased to announce the winners of this year's competition.

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The Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy (ASCE) will hold its 31st annual meeting on Cuba’s economic reforms, the impact of COVID, and the VIII Congress of the Cuban Communist Party. The meeting will take place on August 12–14, 2021.

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June

The Cuban Research Institute is pleased to cosponsor the launching of Cuido60, an independent platform devoted to conducting research and analysis of aging, care, and rights of older adults on the island. The observatory is supported by the Fundación 4 Métrica in Colombia.

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As Cuba battles one of the worst economic crises since its 1959 revolution, more people are risking the dangerous journey to the United States resulting in tragedies on the high seas, though the numbers still remain low compared to previous years.

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July

Congratulations to Dr. Frank Mora, CRI Affiliate Faculty and former Director of the Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center, on his nomination as U.S. Ambassador to the Organization of American States!

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Dr. Carlos Díaz-Rosillo, director of the Adam Smith Center for Economic Freedom at FIU, discusses the broader implications of the recent street protests against the Cuban government.

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Brian Fonseca, director of the Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy at FIU, explains the use of military and paramilitary organizations in responding to peaceful demonstrations of discontent on the Island.

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Jenny Macías Chaveco will conduct archival research on the media representation of Cuban migrants in the United States for her Ph.D. dissertation in Communication at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City.

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In 2021, the U.S. has seen an 11-fold jump in desperate Cubans braving sharks, smugglers and tropical storms for a chance at a new life. Authorities are bracing for even more. "I now see it as a growing sign of what happened on Sunday" July 11, CRI Director Jorge Duany said, when thousands of demonstrators poured into streets, enraged over rising prices, lack of staples, and rolling blackouts.

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CRI has invited several FIU experts on Cuba to comment on various aspects of the ongoing protests on the Island, from the human rights situation, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the economic recession, to its racial and religious dimensions. This series of short videos begins with an overview of recent events in Cuba by CRI Director Jorge Duany.

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The Cuban Research Institute is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Justo Planas Cabreja as a Visiting Scholar during the academic year 2021–22. Dr. Planas Cabreja will revise his doctoral dissertation, entitled "Born in Cuba: Imaginaries of the Child and the Motherland," for publication as a book.

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The U.S. Coast Guard continued its search Wednesday afternoon for nine people missing in the ocean off the Florida Keys. They were among 22 people who left Cuba Monday night on a boat on the way to South Florida as Tropical Storm Elsa was preparing to hit the area with rough seas, heavy winds, and rain.

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Successive waves of immigrants were drawn to Surfside and the collapsed Champlain South condo, where they found their own piece of paradise on the seashore. In the 40 years since it was built, it has become home to more and more Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Colombians, Venezuelans, Argentinians, Brazilians, Chileans, Paraguayans, and Uruguayans.

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August

The Cuban Research Institute continues its tradition of convening scholars and other persons interested in the study of Cuba and Cuban Americans. The main theme of the 2022 conference will be "Cuba before and after J11: Political, Economic, and Cultural Dimensions."

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The online journal "Australian Outlook" commissioned an analysis of the recent Cuban protests by CRI Director Jorge Duany.

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The virtual conference, which will take place on August 12–14, 2021, will focus on the theme "COVID and the VIII Party Congress: Reforming the Cuban Economy."

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CRI Associate Director Sebastián Arcos discusses the historical and political context for the unprecedented anti-government demonstrations that erupted on the Island on July 11, 2021.

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September

Cubans figured among the top three nationalities that were naturalized in the United States during the past year, representing 4.9 percent of the total. The statistics confirm that Cubans have a relatively high naturalization rate, compared to other immigrant groups.

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In an op ed piece, CRI Associate Director Sebastián Arcos considers the available political options for the Cuban government after the July 11 protests. He grounds his analysis in the academic literature on the transition of Communist regimes to a post-totalitarian stage.

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Dr. Javier Francisco-Ortega has coauthored an essay on the botanical expeditions led by David Fairchild between 1925 and 1934, which were instrumental in building the living collection of the Cienfuegos Botanic Garden in Cuba. This contribution was largely based on a public lecture cosponsored by CRI, LACC, and the Institute of the Environment.

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FIU's History Department has appointed Dr. Abel Sierra Madero to teach Cuban and Latin American history during the academic year 2021-22. Dr. Sierra Madero is the author of several books on Cuban history, focusing on sexuality, memory, and trauma.

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Dr. Sherry Johnson, FIU Professor of History and CRI Faculty Affiliate, will be the keynote speaker at the 48th annual meeting of the Southeastern American Society for Eighteen-Century Studies (SEASEC) on "Oceans Rise, Empires Fall: Tidal Shifts in the Eighteenth Century" on February 17-20, 2022.

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