Expert on Cuba and Brazil to speak in Madison

Cuba is reforming and establishing close ties with Brazil and China. At the same time, Cuba is facing economic and political changes.

“Fifty years after the United States enacted an embargo on all trade and commercial transactions, relations between the two countries remain frozen, even as Raul Castro has been moving in the direction of the kind of reforms that every administration over the last 50 years has called upon Cuba to make,” says Dr. Julia Sweig, a leading expert on Cuba and Brazil.

Sweig, the Nelson and David Rockefeller senior fellow and director for Latin American Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), will address how these developments might influence the United States’ relationship with Cuba in her talk, “Cuba Today: Domestic Developments and Foreign Policy,” on Wednesday, May 2, at the Edgewater Hotel in Madison.

She also directs CFR’s Global Brazil Initiative and Cuba in the Twenty-First Century Program.

This program is co-sponsored by the Madison Committee on Foreign Relations (MCFR), Madison-Camaguey Sister City Association and Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. for registration and hors d’oeuvres. The presentation is scheduled to begin at 6:15 p.m., followed by informal discussion. Fee for the event is $10 ($5 for students; free for MCFR members). Click here to register.

Over the past 25 years, Sweig has traveled in Cuba and written extensively about its internal policies, relationship with the United States, and its relationship with the global community. She last met with Fidel Castro in August 2010.

Her books include Cuba: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press, 2009), Friendly Fire: Losing Friends and Making Enemies in the Anti-American Century (Public Affairs, 2006), and Inside the Cuban Revolution: Fidel Castro and the Urban Underground (Harvard University Press, 2002), which received the American Historical Association’s Herbert Feis Award for best book of the year by an independent scholar.

She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of California and a master’s and Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

In addition to the evening talk, Sweig will speak on “Thinking About Brazil in Today’s Global Environment” at the UW Memorial Union at noon, Thursday, May 3. (See Today in the Union for location.) This free event is co-sponsored by the Brazil Initiative at UW–Madison.

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