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January

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 early summer of 2023. 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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Based on official Cuban statistics, Dr. Carmelo Mesa-Lago evaluates the impact of the crisis on the main social indicators in 2020–2021, including employment, wages, pensions, social security, food shortages and prices, health, housing, poverty, and social assistance. Most of these indicators have deteriorated and, according to the author, will probably continue to deteriorate unless an urgent structural reform is undertaken in Cuba.

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In his latest analysis, Dr. Carmelo Mesa-Lago argues that Cuba is undergoing a "second Special Period"—in reference to the extended economic decline on the island after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The noted economist concludes that the economic measures taken by the Díaz-Canel government are insufficient to get Cuba out of the severe economic crisis it suffers and promote sustainable economic development in the future. Read the paper here.

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The Mellon Foundation has awarded a $750,000 grant to FIU's Cuban Research Institute to establish a three-year fellowship program for threatened Cuban scholars. The program will help artists, writers, scholars, and journalists from the island to continue their work in safety. It will substantially broaden and deepen current discussions about intellectual freedom—including freedom of thought and expression—in Cuba, the United States, and worldwide.

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Jorge Duany, a Cuba specialist at Florida International University, pointed out that recent talks between Cuba and the US were "limited to migration issues" and did not indicate a general warming of ties. By resuming visa services, "Mr Biden is trying to recalibrate his policy towards Cuba, seeking a middle way between Trump’s 'maximum pressure' and Obama's 'rapprochement,'" said Duany. "But for the time being the changes in American policy towards the island have been minimal," he added.

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Border authorities recorded more than 227,000 Cubans attempting to enter into the United States illegally from 2021 to 2022, which represents the largest exodus in history, Agence France-Presse reported. The 227,000 is more than the two largest previous mass departures when 125,000 Cubans left for the United States in 1980 and when 34,000 people did in 1994, Florida International University’s Jorge Duany said.

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February

CRI Director Dr. Jorge Duany discusses the current Cuban refugee crisis as well as his new coedited volume on Cuba and Puerto Rico, in conversation with Dr. Lillian Guerra.

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