Study in Cuba
January 7 – January 16
This trip is open to Graduate students only.
Visit: Santiago, Guantanamo, Havana, Las Terrezas, Pinar del Rio, Cojimar, and Veradero Beach
Robert L. Deitz, Professor of Public Policy, Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University and Michal Malur, Director of External Programs
Program Fee: $5,599 (includes 3 credits of tuition).
Cuba is THE place to visit and study right now. 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. Americans, generally, have been unable to visit Cuba, despite its location 90 miles from Florida. That is finally changing as President Obama and President Raul Castro reestablish diplomatic relations. This special seminar is intended to afford 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. We will learn this through assigned readings, both fiction and non-fiction, group discussions, interactions with Cuban people, and, of course, through lectures and talks by experts on Cuba.
In the words of Mark Twain, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Meet private entrepreneurs, academics, artists, and local leaders.
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 will focus on “The History of U.S./Cuban Relations in the 20th Century and building a new relationship in the 21st Century”
We’ll visit our new US Embassy for a briefing.
*Infrastructure Development and Capacity Building
*Economic, Political, and Social reforms
*Foreign Direct Investments in Cuba
Be a witness to history. Join us this winter break. The Cuba class, ITRN 702, is a spring semester 2016 course. Participants can use spring financial aid for payment.
Click here to view the syllabus as a PDF
Robert L. Deitz, email@example.com (phone: (703) 993-3480).
I am in my office (Rm 674) most week days and do not at all mind drop- ins. To schedule an appointment, please phone or email.
Michal McElwain Malur, firstname.lastname@example.org (Rm 544) (phone: (703) 993-1577.
Purpose of Course
Cuba 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. Americans, generally, have been unable to visit Cuba, despite its location 90 miles from Florida. That is finally changing as President Obama and President Raul Castro reestablish diplomatic relations. This special seminar is intended to afford 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. We will learn this through assigned readings, both fiction and non-fiction, group discussions, interactions with Cuban people, and, of course, through lectures and talks by experts on Cuba. The week will be intense; we will be compressing a lot of learning in a brief period of time. But the effort will be rewarding, in large measure, because Cuba has been closed to Americans for so long.
Upon successful completion of this course students will be able to: 1) Demonstrate a broad understanding of the background of Cuba with respect to governance and politics; trade and investment; and stability and security; 2) Analyze contemporary, emerging issues and challenges related to governance and politics; trade and investment; and stability and security;
Additional articles will be sent by email.
T.J. English, Havana Nocturne (N.Y. Harper Collins: 2008).
Carlos Eire, Waiting for Snow in Havana (N.Y. Free Press: 2003).
Leonardo Padura, Havana Blue (London, Bitter Lemon Press: 2007).
Godfather II – Optional, but useful and interesting.
Resources On the Web:
The New York Times Cuba topic page: http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/cuba/index.html
Cuba Transition Project: http://ctp.iccas.miami.edu/main.htm
- Each student will be required to write one book review on two books, one of which must be the fictional title set forth above. Length: 4-5 pages. These reviews will be due January 4, 2 016, before 5:00pm.
- Each student will be required to write a policy memorandum of his/her own choosing. The paper must demonstrate good writing and editing skills, include a bibliography, and use proper scholarly citations. Length: 8-10 pages. The paper will be due April 1, 2016, at 12:00pm.
Given the brevity of our trip to Cuba, it is important that students read all of the assigned materials before we embark. Study time will be limited by the busy schedule of classes, briefings, and visits.
Active class participation is a must. Much of what we will learn will be based on class discussions. Quality class discussion requires contributions from all members.
Course grades will be evaluated on the totality of: class participation, the policy memorandum, and the book review.
For the purposes of this course, the grades of A or A- are reserved for sustained excellence and outstanding performance in all aspects of the course. The grades of B and B+ are used to denote mastery of the material and very good performance on all aspects of the course. The grade of B- denotes marginal quality work that is not quite up to graduate level standards. The grade of C denotes work that may be adequate for undergraduate performance, but is not acceptable at the graduate level. The grade of F denotes the failure to perform adequately on course assignments.
Click here to view the schedule as a PDF
DAY 1 (JANUARY 7) MIAMI
Our trip to Cuba begins today with an overnight stay in Miami, Florida. Students are responsible for getting to Miami and the Crowne Plaza Miami Airport Hotel before 7:30pm.
If you are arriving at Miami International Airport, complimentary hotel shuttle service to the Crowne Plaza is available every 20 minutes from any 2nd level departure terminal. Simply hail the driver as he/she passes. This evening at 7:30pm, participate in an introductory briefing lecture and briefing by Professor Deitz and Michal Malur. You will be informed of the departure time of the group shuttle leaving the hotel tomorrow morning for MIA.
Accommodation: Crowne Plaza Miami Airport.
DAY 2 (JANUARY 8) MIAMI – SANTIAGO DE CUBA
Depart Miami to fly to Santiago de Cuba (flight included in program fee).
Transfer directly to downtown Santiago and meet a city expert to visit the historic center of Santiago to view its colonial architectural heritage: the House of Velasquez, the oldest private house in the Americas with its impressive 16th century foundations and mahogany support beams; the main square where Castro announced his victory in 1959, the Cathedral, relics of the former Bacardi family’s home and museum and their former mansion and rum factory. Later this morning you will view the changing of the guard at José Martí ́s tomb.
Lunch will be at Compay Gallo Paladar to enjoy the amazing views.
Check into the hotel around 4:00 pm where you have a few hours to relax. At
6:00pm, we’ll meet with a Cuban expert who will lead an open discussion on “The economic dynamic and transformation process in Cuba.” This evening we will enjoy a group dinner at Paladar Company Ramón where we will enjoy a spectacular Cuban coffee ceremony and then visit the Casa de la Trova for some live music.
Accommodation: Hotel Imperial. Lunch and dinner provided.
DAY 3 (JANUARY 9) SANTIAGO DE CUBA – GUANTÁNAMO – SANTIAGO DE CUBA
Breakfast at hotel. Depart for a city tour through the city center of Guantanamo. Visit the community project Garaje or La Caoba
Lunch at local paladar or restaurant.
Return to Santiago de Cuba. Lecture on “The History of U.S./Cuban Relations in the 20th Century.”
Accommodation: Hotel Imperial. Breakfast and lunch provided.
DAY 4 (JANUARY 10) SANTIAGO DE CUBA
Visit the Fort El Morro, the memorial of the San Juan Hill battle during the Cuban- Spanish American war, and the Sanctuary El Cobr/ Mobncada Barracks (the first military fort Castro stormed and second biggest barracks of the military in the 50’s in all of Cuba where the revolution started). Lecture on “Cuban External Relations: the role of China, Russia and European Union.”
Breakfast and lunch provided.
DAY 5 (JANUARY 11) SANTIAGO DE CUBA – HAVANA
After breakfast, we will check out of our hotel and drive to the Santiago airport from which we will fly to Havana. Upon arrival, we’ll tour by bus through the modern part of the city, stopping at Plaza de la Revolución. Lunch will be at a local paladar or restaurant in Old Havana where our guide will lead us on a walking tour of this vibrant area of Havana.
This evening we will meet with a Cuban expert who heads an open discussion on “U.S./Cuban Relations in the 21st Century.”
Breakfast and lunch provided.
DAY 6 (JANUARY 12) HAVANA- LAS TERRAZAS –VIÑALES
Depart for Las Terrazas in Artemisa, Province, a “must see” in Cuba and known worldwide for its magnificent beauty. Las Terrazas was founded shortly after the Cuban Revolution in 1959 as a model Cuban community.
We will stop briefly at the Clinica Las Terrazas to learn how medical services are delivered in rural Cuba. Cuban locals visit this small, multi-purpose center for medical advice, often non-traditional and homeopathic, and referrals to larger medical centers in the city, dental care by the area’s sole dentist, and even a haircut by the town hairdresser with whom the space is also shared.
At our next stop, we will visit the oldest member of the community, Maria. She is the sole proprietor of the town’s only coffee shop, Café Maria, where she and her family have been welcoming visitors for years to enjoy the “best coffee in the country.” We will discuss coffee culture in Cuba and throughout the world and how cafes act as places for social interaction, which can stimulate innovation/business opportunities. We will also visit the art studio of Lester Campa when he is in residence. We will eat an authentic country-style Cuban lunch prepared at a local farmhouse then proceed to the town of Viñales in the heart of Pinar del Rio Province.
Dinner will be at either Restaurant La Cuerva, a beautiful restaurant set at the bottom of a mogote (a steep sided residual hill made of limestone), or a Sunset dinner (with short tour/ hike before dinner) at the Finca Agroecologica El Paraiso (an organic farm). La Finca is a sustainable organic farm. The owners will explain how they harvest and filter their own rainwater for irrigation, use companion planting techniques and terraced raised beds to grow dozens of varieties of organic produce on the hillside. After the hike, the owners will host a true farm-to-table organic meal.
Hotel Los Jazmines, Viñales. Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided.
DAY 7 (JANUARY 13) VINALES – HAVANA
Our morning will start with a visit to Cuchillas de Barbacoa (Robaina Tobacco Farm) following that we will tour the Francisco Donatién Cigar Factory. Lunch will be at a local restaurant with a cigar tasting (local, freshly rolled cigars) before driving back to Havana. Grass roots community development has been successful in Cuba. On our drive, we will visit “Fusterlandia,” the home and surrounding neighborhood of “the Picasso of the Caribbean,” Sr. Jose Fuster. Mr. Fuster’s home is located in Jaimanitas in the northwest corner of Havana. Jaimanitas is now a unique work of public art where Fuster has decorated over 80 homes with ornate murals. His art funds many initiatives in this community.
Breakfast and lunch provided.
DAY 8 (JANUARY 14) HAVANA
After breakfast, we will visit the University of Havana and have a talk at the University of Havana on “Foreign Direct Investments in Cuba: Current Trends and Perspectives.”
Lunch will be at a local paladar in the fishing village of Cojimar, the setting for ‘The Old Man and the Sea.” Continue with a visit to Finca Vigia, Ernest Hemingway’s Cuban home and currently a national museum. On our return to Havana, enjoy a visit to Morro ́s Castle viewpoint; one of the most beautiful views of the city.
Visit to US Embassy for a briefing on “The USA Perspective: Current Status and New Diplomatic Relations.”
Breakfast and lunch provided.
DAY 9 (JANUARY 15) HAVANA – VARADERO
Shortly after breakfast, we travel to Varadero. Lecture on “The Cuban tourism industry and its economic relevance.”
Hotel Melia Varadero. Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided.
DAY 10 (JANUARY 16) VARADERO – MIAMI
Today we drive to Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport and check-in for our charter flight back to Miami. Adios Cuba!
Please make sure if you are returning to DC this evening that you book the latest flight out possible. We should land at approx. 2:00pm; however, if there are any problems or delays, there is no way to call from Cuba to let your airline know of your no show. Consequently, please allow yourself plenty of connection time or plan to spend an extra night in Miami.