This class is open to graduate and undergraduate students.
Cuba-U.S. Relations: Trade, Human Rights, and the Great Thaw
The program is currently full. Any student wishing to register will be added to a wait list. If possible, these students will be notified and added to the program on October 19th.
March 9-17, 2017
Earn 3 credits
Led by Professor Jeremy D. Mayer
Cuban-American relations have been complex, intimate, and fraught for more than a century. Starting with the Spanish American War period, the U.S. has often aspired to control, guide, influence, or otherwise alter Cuba. With the ending of more than a half century of estrangement and hostility, these two very different nations are getting to know each other once again. They have much to learn, and to unlearn. This special travel seminar will give GMU students an unparalleled opportunity to see this relationship in transition, and to see changes on the ground in Cuba. While we will spend some time on the past, and speculate some on the future, our main focus will be on the present—the political, social, and economic situation in Cuba, in regards to U.S. relations. We will do this through meetings and lectures from Cuba’s elite, from interaction with Cuban people, and through readings, both fiction and non-fiction. The week will be intense, and students should expect compressed and concentrated learning.
For decades, it was almost impossible for Americans to visit Cuba, but now, it has become a hot destination for those interested in business, foreign policy, and development policy, as well as issues like human rights. The country has been a “black box” to most Americans for over half a century; that is, since Fidel Castro came to power in 1959 and the US and Cuba severed relations in 1962. Located only 90 miles from Florida, Cuba has been viewed with fear, hostility, and curiosity. That is finally changing albeit slowly now that President Barack Obama and President Raul Castro work to reestablish diplomatic relations. Given how politically active the Cuban American community is in several important states, Cuban relations also has implications for the elections of 2016.
On this trip, participants will have a front row seat to all the change going on in Cuba. Meet private entrepreneurs, academics, local leaders, and artists. See community neighborhood centers, grassroots projects, and sustainable farming initiatives. See rural medical clinics and religious centers, like Orisha and Santeria that combine African spirit worship with Catholicism. Learn about the 2-currency system, rationing, and new trade opportunities. Visit UNESCO World Heritage sites and other culturally significant places.
This special seminar is intended to give students the opportunity to look inside the black box: to study Cuba’s current economic and political system, see changes first-hand, and to identify opportunities for growth and development.
This special seminar will focus on
* The History of U.S./Cuban Relations in the 20th Century and building a new relationship in the 21st Century, including a briefing at the new US Embassy
*Economic, Political, and Social Reforms
*Infrastructure Development (including the new aviation agreement), Capacity Building, and Foreign Direct Investment Opportunities in Cuba
Program fee for early registration before October 9, 2016: $5,400, includes 3 credits of tuition. $2,000 supplement for a single room.
Please print a copy of the program budget sheet before you meet with your Financial Aid Counselor. After you meet with your FA Counselor, complete the necessary form, you will return it to Sarah Kersey Moran at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may download the budget sheet here.
Study Abroad Financial Aid
- 3 CREDITS OF TUITION
- Round-trip airfare from Miami including fuel surcharges & taxes
- U.S. Treasury Department general license/Travel Affidavit and letter of authorization
- Cuba Entrance Visa
- All land transportation, transfers & porterage in Cuba
- 1st night accommodation at the Crowne Plaza Miami Airport Hotel with Pre-tour introductory briefing
- 7 nights of accommodation at first class hotels
- Meals: breakfast daily, 6 lunches and 2 dinners
- One-way domestic flight – Santiago to Havana
- In country travel to all program activities
- Cultural excursions and site visits
- Professional, English-speaking local faculty member, who will facilitate the educational exchange
- Health insurance in Cuba (mandatory)
- International Travel Insurance (mandatory)
- Passport fees
- Transportation to Miami
- Some meals
- Expenditure for items of personal nature (laundry, telephone, internet fees, etc.)
- Gratuities for bus drivers and hotel maid service
- Items not mentioned above
Day 1 (3/9)
Individual arrival in Miami, FL
Day 2 (3/10)
Group flight to Santiago de Cuba; Class followed by Welcome dinner
Day 3 (3/11)
Meetings and sight visits; Group lunch
Day 4 (3/12)
Meetings; Group lunch
Day 5 (3/13)
Group flight to Havana; Group lunch; Class
Day 6 (3/14)
Visits and sightseeing; Group lunch; Class
Day 7 (3/15)
Meetings and Visits; Group lunch
Day 8 (3/16)
Class and Embassy Visit
Day 9 (3/17)
Class; Group Flight to the U.S. – do not book any connecting flights before 9:00pm