US-Cuba Context

Is a Normal Relationship Possible?

In the first fifty years after Cuba achieved its independence, the United States played a dominant role in Cuba's politics and its economy. In the next fifty years, U.S. relations with Cuba were broken and a trade embargo was imposed. Only one President - Jimmy Carter - declared that the purpose of his administration's policy was to seek to establish normal, diplomatic relations, but that effort failed. Is a normal relationship possible in our lifetimes? What would need to change to make it conceivable?

Thursday, March 31 at 4:35PM in Elebash Recital Hall


Robert Pastor

Robert Pastor (Ph.D., Harvard University) is Professor of International Relations at American University and the Founder and Director of the Center for North American Studies and the Center on Democracy and Election Management. As National Security Advisor for Latin American Affairs during the Carter Administration, he and a State Department colleague conducted the first secret negotiations with Fidel Castro since relations were broken in 1961. From 1985 to September 2002, Dr. Pastor was Professor at Emory University and Fellow and Founding Director of the Carter Center's Latin American and Caribbean Program and the Democracy Project where he organized Election-Monitoring Missions to more than 40 countries around the world. He was a Fulbright Professor in Mexico, a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malaysia, and was nominated by President Bill Clinton to be Ambassador to Panama. He has advised every Democratic Presidential Candidate on Latin American issues since 1976. Dr. Pastor is the author or editor of 17 books, including The North American Idea: A Vision of a Continental Future; Exiting the Whirlpool: US Foreign Policy Toward Latin America; and Not Condemned to Repetition: The US and Nicaragua.

Jorge I. Dominguez - Moderator

Vice-Provost for International Affairs, Antonio Madero Professor of Mexican and Latin American Politics and Economics, Harvard University. Jorge I. Domínguez is Antonio Madero Professor for the Study of Mexico, vice provost for international affairs, special advisor for international studies to the dean of the faculty of arts and sciences, and chairman of the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies. He is the former president of the Latin American Studies Association and a past board chairman of the Latin American Scholarship Program of American Universities. Dominguez currently serves on the editorial boards of Political Science Quarterly, Foreign Affairs en español, Cuban Studies, Foro internacional, and Istor and is a contributing editor to Foreign Policy. His current research focuses on the international relations and domestic politics of Latin American countries.