The papers published as part of the proceedings of ASCE’s Eighth Annual Meeting are a testimony to the commitment of its members to the serious study of the Cuban economy and society. The papers cover a wide area of topics including the implications of the economic and political experiences of Latin America for Cuba; the role of enterprises in the second economy of Cuba; an analysis of the recent CEPAL report on the Cuban economy; macroeconomic and transition issues; issues on specific sectors such tourism, agriculture and the external sector in general; social and economic indicators; the environment; investment topics; legal issues; an analysis of the effects of the U.S. embargo on health and nutrition in Cuba; and the culture of the opposition. The papers generated lively discussions when they were presented at the meeting but always in an environment of openness and respect for the opinions of others, something that is badly needed on discussions regarding Cuba. ASCE members can only hope that in a not-too-distant future, this type of meetings can be held on Cuban soil in an atmosphere that permits the free discussion of ideas.
This volume of the proceedings of the Eighth Annual Meetings is dedicated to Dr. José D. Acosta, a member of the Board of Directors of ASCE, who passed away in November 1998 in Miami, in recognition of the valuable contributions he made to ASCE. Acosta (our dear Pepucho) had a Doctorate of Law from the Universidad de la Habana and pursued graduate studies in economics at the Universidad de Villanueva (in La Habana) and the George Washington University (Washington). He had a distinguished career at the Organization of American States (OAS), where he was both a tax policy economist and a legal advisor. He retired from the OAS in 1989 after serving as Director of the Department of General Legal Services of the Secretariat of Legal Affairs. In ASCE, Pepucho was an active participant in the annual meeting and in the sessions of the Board of Directors. He played a key role in the development of the new by-laws of the association in 1997.
On behalf of the Board of Directors of ASCE, I want to take this opportunity to thank our past president, Jorge Pérez-López, and José Alonso for all the work that they have put into preparing this publication. ASCE also wants to express its gratitude to the co-sponsors of the Eighth Annual Meeting, the Business School and the School of International Studies of the University of Miami, and to several other corporate sponsors who contributed financially to the meeting.