Cuban Gov. Supporters Were Invited to the ASCE Conference

Vicente Morín of Havana Times with Ted Henken at the recently concluded ASCE conference in Miami.

HAVANA TIMES — In response to a question from a reader of Havana Times, dealing with the recently-concluded Conference of the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy (ASCE) held in Miami, we decided to interview the chair of the association, Professor Ted Henken. The question from the reader was: Who participated in conference as a spokesperson for the policies of the Cuban government, which enjoys the support of the majority? Or was the conference more of a monologue?

Ted Henken: Invitations to about ten economists directly linked to Cuban State institutions were sent out. Incidentally, former Minister for the Economy Jose Luis Rodriguez expressed his intention of participating and even sent us a summary of a potential paper. However, he did not remain in touch and we don’t know why he didn’t attend.

HT: What other personalities were invited?

TH: Omar Everleny, from the University of Havana, Lazaro Pena and Armando Nova, researchers from the Center for the Study of the World Economy, a prestigious State institution in Cuba. We also invited Rafael Hernandez, a renowned philosopher and essayist.

HT: Do you know anything about why they were unable to attend?

TH: In the case of Everleny and Hernandez, the State Department denied them a visa. As for the others, there are no official statements. These highly-ranked professionals who work at State institutions in Cuba require permission from their workplaces to attend a conference abroad.

HT: That said, there were Cubans at the conference who are in no way involved in so-called “dissident” circles or “independent” sectors. I say this using the insidious connotations that Cuba’s official propaganda often uses.

TH: I am grateful to third year economics student Jorge Iganacio Guillen, from the University of Havana, for his excellent paper, which dealt with the reforms in Cuba (“Cuba’s Reforms: Towards Comprehensive Human Development”). An exchange with five Cuban entrepreneurs (they are referred to as the “self-employed” there) was a huge success, showing hundreds of people the reality of this emerging economy in Cuba.

HT: So, in your opinion, was the conference a monologue?

TH: Suffice it to say, in addition to the above, that we saw the participation of around twenty Cubans who live on the island, all of whom presented papers. We also had a significant number of Cubans residing in the United States, also more than twenty. We had professors from 10 universities around the country, in addition to professionals from Canada, Italy and Spain, as well as individuals of high prestige in the Spanish-speaking world. The 24th ASCE Conference was an authentic colloquium between Cubans and the world.

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5 thoughts on “Cuban Gov. Supporters Were Invited to the ASCE Conference

  • Otro chiste? Si….la libertad en Cuba ….tremendo chiste ermano!

  • It should surprise no one that pro-Castro ideologues avoid debate with pro-freedom intellectuals at this conference. If what takes place here at HT is any indication, the pro-dictatorship commenters employ three basic tactics to defend Castro totalitarianism. (1) Life is worse in Haiti et al. (2) If you disagree with Castro-style socialism, you must work for the US State Dept. or the CIA (3) The infant mortality rate in Cuba is the lowest in the hemisphere. It does not take very long for Castro sycophants to run out of things to say in defense of 55 years of repression. The sooner the Castros are run out of town or simply leave because their maker calls them home, the sooner this era in human failure ends.

  • The Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy has been holding annual conferences for several years now. One can find a wealth of diverse and thoughtful papers on a variety of subjects relating to the Cuban economy on their website:

    One can find papers which are critical of the Cuban government, some are supportive, while others are of a neutral and purely technical nature.

  • Freedom House ? Now there’s an unbiased, objective source for you ! Conoce algun otro chiste, hermano ?

  • “…the Cuban government, which enjoys the support of the majority?”

    Sorry, that seems like a statement with no real basis!

    Cubans do not believe they will benefit from Raul
    Castro’s economic reforms, and many fear that their personal situation will
    become worse, according to a special report – Real
    Change for Cuba? How Citizens View Their Country’s Future
    – released today by Freedom House.

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