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|DPPG 8517 - Cuba:ChngingCourse,ChngngTimes|
Cuba: Changing Course for Changing Times
This course will open-up for MIIS students a country that has been essentially off-limits to most US citizens for more than a half-century, and a country whose experience and trajectory have been caricatured by US major media more regularly than most as a consequence, in part, of US foreign policy. The diplomatic outreaches undertaken by the Obama administration in December 2014, and the positive responses of the Cuban government launched a period of open-ended transition. The twists and turns of that transition now taking place under the Trump administration will provide our students with much food for thought and for pondering about the near future.
Students will learn about the culture and the characteristics of the Cuban people and the extraordinary historical episodes that set it apart from the rest of the hemisphere. That history has served to inspire or to frighten Cuba’s neighbors, particularly its nearest neighbor to the North.
Cuba was among the last of the Western Hemisphere countries to win independence from Spain. And it was in part because such independence was largely nominal, hegemony having passed to the United States, that Cuba in 1959 began to experience one of the most thorough-going revolutions the modern world had seen. Moreover, Cuba has held onto its revolutionary profile long after most other governments so assembled have abandoned revolutionary rhetoric as well as revolutionary inclusiveness.
Contrary to images often conveyed, Cuba is not isolated. Its government is not teetering; nor is its economy autarkic, frozen in time. But the revolution is nevertheless in jeopardy. Even if it were possible to clone Fidel Castro, it would not be possible to clone the historical context that opened for him and other Cuban revolutionaries a window of opportunity – not just to seize a government, but to redefine its role. These and other aspects of the Cuban reality can begin to be understood only with sandals on the ground.
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