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Without pause but without haste: economic and political change in Cuba




Birch, Brendan Patrick, author
Mumme, Stephen, advisor
Velasco, Marcela, committee member
Braunstein, Elissa, committee member

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Developments in US-Cuba relations in December of 2014 impelled a renewed interest in Cuban affairs amongst academics, business professionals, and the general population in the United States. But very substantial reforms were taking place in Cuba since about 2007 -years before the US and Cuba decided to initialize a normalization of relations. This thesis provides an overview and analysis of these recent reforms. It also provides an overview and analysis of Cuba's past reform cycles, mainly through a theoretical lens developed by Carmelo Mesa-Lago, which characterizes Cuban reform cycles as either "pragmatist" (towards the market) or "idealist" (away from the market). Also contained in this thesis is an analysis of Cuba's monetary duality; Cuba's potential for further inserting into the Cuban economy; a history of US-Cuban relations, with particular emphasis on the United States embargo against the island. This thesis concludes that the Cuban economy has entered a permanent pragmatist period, characterized by a shift towards marketization and privatization on the island. Regarding US-Cuba relations, this thesis provides an explication of recent moves by the Obama administration, but stresses that the Embargo has not ended, as only Congress has the authority to fully abrogate the Embargo.


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economic reform
monetary duality


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