I will be participating in a panel entitled Normalizing Relations Between the United States and Cuba: A Door has Opened at the 34th International Conference of the Latin American Studies Association , LASA at 50.
The Discussion Draft may be accessed here.
The Abstract and Powerpoints (jpeg) follows.
Latin American Studies Association2016 ConferenceNormalization With Cuban Characteristics: How Might Cuba NavigateNormalization to Avoid Political Instability and Enhance Economic Development?Larry Catá BackerW. Richard and Mary Eshelman Faculty Scholar & Professor of Law,Professor of International AffairsPennsylvania State University
ABSTACT: Normalization offers great promise but also great risk to Cuba. Cuba has constructed a tightly woven framework of macro-economic policy and political structures around a unique application of European Marxist-Leninism. That framework has proven durable even in the face of substantial economic crisis and a political situation increasingly subject to internal pressures. Closer working ties with the United States will only exacerbate the tensions and contradictions of the current system. If Cuba means to keep a Marxist-Leninist political structure, something will have to evolve. The current leadership understands this but has been less able to shape and guide the path forward since the mild efforts that produced the Lineamientos. This paper explores the nature of that risk relating to Cuba's economic policy and the viability of its political ideology as normalization deepens. The thesis of the paper is that, while it may be possible to embrace normalization and retain something of the current political framework, the Cuban Communist Party will have to engage in substantially more active leadership if it means to retain its leadership role. Part II considers the way that the current political ideology has helped shape the current economic system and its constraints on reform. That ideology and those constraints may well prove fatal to the current political order. Part III suggests a path to reform, with Cuban characteristics, of Cuban economic policy that might remain true to the ruling ideology but that offers the possibility of a more positive macro-economic policy both internally, and in Cuba's external economic relations. With respect to the latter, consideration of the future of ALBA and the new Foreign Investment law will be considered.