The 20th Volume of Cuba in Transition publishes the Proceedings of the annual meeting of the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy (ASCE), held on July 29-31, 2010 at the Hilton Downtown Hotel in Miami, Florida. The conference theme was “Cuba at a Crossroads,” reflecting the tension arising from a Cuban leadership that acknowledges the need for broad economic reforms, but balances these against risks to perpetuating its existing institutional structures. Academic scholars, policy makers, and industry professionals presented their research in an array of areas, from the challenges and opportunities in energy and infrastructure, to the impact of the global financial crisis on the Cuban economy.
This conference also marked the twentieth anniversary of ASCE’s founding—twenty years of academic research and systematic thinking on the political economy and economic development in Cuba. Over this important period, ASCE has become one of few forums for dispassionate dialogue and empirically-driven analysis of Cuba’s political economy. We are proud that our financial independence and pluralistic environment has allowed us to provide the knowledge and exchanges that Cuban economic and policy issues command. Our success over two decades stems directly from our outstanding membership and past ASCE leadership. An important part of the conference was the twentieth anniversary celebration where we reunited our past presidents and Board members, and fondly remembered those that have passed on. As we enter into our third decade, we stand on their shoulders as we strive to bring the level of non-partisan and modern economic thinking that is the hallmark of ASCE. We thank Joaquín Pujol, one of the cornerstones of our organization, for producing a booklet memorializing our twentieth anniversary.
On behalf of the Board of directors and the membership of ASCE, I would like to thank Jorge Pérez-López for his unflinching dedication to our organization, most visible in putting together the conference and editing this volume. I would also thank Chilean Ambassador Juan Larraín, for his fascinating keynote address, and the University of Miami’s Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies for acting as the conference secretariat.
As ASCE enters it twenty-first year, the newly elected Board of Directors is energetically working to further increase engagement with a broad audience during this period of unprecedented policy changes in Cuba. I hope this twentieth edition of the Proceedings continues to deepen our mutual understanding and growing consensus on the challenges for a better life for the people of Cuba.