The 21st 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 August 4-6, 2011 at the Hilton Downtown Hotel in Miami, Florida. The conference theme was “Cuba’s Evolving Socio-Economic & Political Landscape,” which reflects an attempt to analyze the recent spate of regulatory changes in Cuba, alongside the documents that emerged from the Sixth Communist Party Congress held in Havana on April 16–19, 2011. Academic scholars, policy makers, and professionals from the United States, Cuba, Canada, Venezuela and other countries presented their research in an array of areas, from the impact (or lack thereof) of the changes in Cuba to the global financial crisis, legal issues, agriculture, tourism and foreign relations.
This volume recognizes two long-time members of the Association who passed this year, Ernesto Betancourt and Jerry Hagelberg. I thank Mr. Carlos Quijano for taking on the daunting task of writing a memorial to Mr. Betancourt, an important figure not just within ASCE, but in twentieth-century Cuban history as well. I also thank Mr. José Álvarez for doing the same with respect to Mr. Hagelberg, a world-renown expert on sugar, with special focus on Cuban sugar production and trade, and an ambassador for the research done at ASCE. They will be greatly missed.
On behalf of the Board of Directors and the membership of ASCE, I would like to thank Jorge Pérez-López for his tireless dedication to our organization, most visible in putting together the conference and editing this volume, as well as to the sponsors and benefactors of the conference and of this volume. I would also like to thank Carmelo Mesa-Lago for his extremely timely and fascinating keynote address on the recent changes following the Sixth Party Congress. From Professor Mesa-Lago’s presentation, I concluded that while the announced changes in Cuba appear to move towards welcome economic liberalization, they are limited and insufficient to deliver sustainable improvements in the Cuban economy. This twenty-first volume of Cuba in Transition rep- resents the patient accumulation of research in support of the not-too-distant moment when the fundamental changes necessary to improve the Cuban economy truly begin.