On “The Cuban Moment: Conversatorio on Cuba”
By Patrick Moreno-Covington
On December 17th President Barack Obama and Cuba’s Head of State, Raúl Castro, made simultaneous announcements of a diplomatic normalization in the relationship between the United States and Cuba. The surprise announcement was the culmination of 18 months of backroom negotiations between the two governments. As part of the new agreement the United States removes or reduces restrictions on travel, remittances, and banking, while Cuba has promised increased internet access, and the release of 53 people identified as political prisoners.
In the first of a series of discussions on Cuba planned by CLACS and the King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center, a distinguished panel of guests discussed the implications of the new agreement, recent experiences in Cuba, and the potential for a new “Cuban Moment.” The panel, gathered on January 28 at the KJCC Auditorium, included renowned Cuba scholars Odette Casamayor Cisneros, Ariana Hernández-Reguant, Jacqueline Loss, and Noelle Stout, the author Enrique del Risco, artist Coco Fusco, Damien Cave of the New York Times, and Ana Dopico, director of the King Juan Carlos Center, moderated by Jill Lane, director of CLACS.
In a packed house, each speaker had the opportunity to share their experiences and perspectives from their respective fields of expertise. One common thread through each of the presentations was that this “Moment” was not singular or particularly unique in Cuban history. For many on the panel, the opening of diplomatic relations reflects an “American Moment,” one moment in a cyclical period where the American populace has their collective imagination focused on the Caribbean island once again. Another common theme between the panelists was a sense of reserved optimism for the improvement in opportunities for the majority of Cubans. Many on the panel acknowledged that an increase in American banking opportunities, remittances, and the potential to import more foreign goods, could exacerbate existing forms of inequality. In this regard, this “Cuban Moment” could be a repetition of the many previous Cuban moments, as well as potentialities that have yet to be fulfilled.
Below are some pictures of The Cuban Moment: Conversatorio on Cuba.