Brief speaker bios from the 2014 workshop, "Covering Cuba in an Era of Change."
Jon Lee Anderson has been a staff writer for the The New Yorker since 1998. He has covered numerous conflicts for the magazine, including those in Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Angola, Somalia, Sudan, Mali, and Liberia. He has also reported frequently from Latin America and the Caribbean, writing about Rio de Janeiro’s gangs, the Panama Canal, the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, and a Caracas slum, among other subjects, and has written Profiles of Augusto Pinochet, Fidel Castro, Hugo Chávez, and Gabriel García Márquez. Anderson is the author of several books, including “The Lion’s Grave: Dispatches from Afghanistan,” “Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life,” “Guerrillas: Journeys in the Insurgent World,” and “The Fall of Baghdad.” He is the co-author, with his brother, Scott Anderson, of “War Zones: Voices from the World’s Killing Grounds” and “Inside the League.” He was honored by the Overseas Press Club, and in 2013 he was honored with a Maria Moors Cabot Prize for outstanding reporting on Latin America and the Caribbean. Anderson began his career in 1979, reporting for an English-language weekly in Lima, Peru, and now regularly teaches workshops for Latin-American reporters.
Ann Louise Bardach is an award-winning author and journalist who has covered a wide range of political and cultural issues - from crime reporting to elections to matters of faith and belief to the nature of celebrity. She has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal’s Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Slate, The New Republic, Newsweek/The Daily Beast as Writer-at-Large and Vanity Fair, where she was a reporter for a decade. Bardach is the author of “Without Fidel: A Death Foretold in Miami, Havana and Washington” and “Cuba Confidential: Love and Vengeance in Miami and Havana,” as well as the editor of “The Prison Letters of Fidel Castro” and “Cuba: A Travelers Literary Companion.” She served on The Brookings Institution's Cuba Study Project. Her book “Cuba Confidential” was a finalist for the New York Public Library Helen Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism and the PEN USA Award for Best Nonfiction, and named one of Ten Best Books of 2002 by the Los Angeles Times. In 1995, she won the PEN USA Award for Best Journalism for her reporting on Mexico in Vanity Fair magazine; the year previous, her Vanity Fair coverage of the impact of Islamic fundamentalism in the West was a finalist for the PEN USA Journalism Award.
Rafael J. Bentacourt an urban economist with over 25 years experience in international development, urban economics and planning, business administration and consulting. He is a partner in Havanada Consulting, a progressive consulting firm, which focuses on non-profit sustainable development projects and social enterprise initiatives in Cuba and the Caribbean Basin. He is Senior Associate of the Canadian Urban Institute (CUI) and a research consultant for the Canadian Embassy in Cuba. Betancourt holds teaching positions at Havana Polytechnic Institute (ISPJAE), San Geronimo de La Habana University College, and at the Cuban Association of Economists and Accountants (ANEC). Betancourt was born in Cuba and raised in the United States. He holds a Masters in International and Urban-Regional Economics from the University of Florida and a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from Havana Polytechnic Institute.
Victoria Burnett is a British freelance journalist. For four years, starting in late 2009, she lived in Havana and wrote dispatches for The New York Times about Cuba's economic reforms, architecture, culture, media and society. She moved to Havana from Madrid, where she wrote for the International Herald Tribune and the Times. Before living in Madrid, Burnett was based in Pakistan and covered Afghanistan for the Financial Times. She has also lived in New York, Bogotá and Caracas and written for other publications, including The Boston Globe and The Toronto Globe and Mail. She has a degree in English Literature from Cambridge University in England. She currently lives in Mexico City with her husband and two children.
Miriam Celaya is an independent journalist who regularly publishes articles in 14ymedio, Diario de Cuba, Convivencia, and Voces magazine, and was a co-founder with Yoani Sánchez and Reinaldo Escobar of the independent digital magazine Consenso (2004–2007). She is also the author of "Sin Evasión" (www.sinevasionen.wordpress.com), one of Cuba's most incisive and widely read blogs. Celaya earned her bachelor's degree in art history from the University of Havana and did graduate work in anthropology at the University of Havana and the Academy of Sciences of Cuba, where she worked as an archeologist between 1984 and 2005. She has also worked as a professor of Spanish language and literature and lectured on Cuban history, archeology, and anthropology at the University of Havana, the Superior Institute of Industrial Design (ISDI), and the National Center for Preservation, Restoration and Museology (CENCREM). Celaya has also published articles about native Cuban art and archeology in various cultural and scientific journals.
John H. Coatsworth PhD is Provost of Columbia University, as well as Professor of International and Public Affairs and of History. Provost Coatsworth is a leading scholar of Latin American economic and international history. Previously, he was Dean of the School of International and Public Affairs. Before joining Columbia, he served as the Monroe Gutman Professor of Latin American Affairs at Harvard University (1992–2007). He was the founding director of Harvard's David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies and the chair of the Harvard University Committee on Human Rights Studies. Prior to his work at Harvard, he was a member of the faculty at the University of Chicago (1969–1992). Other academic posts have included visiting professorships at El Colegio de México, the National Autonomous University of Mexico, the National University of Buenos Aires, the Instituto Torcuato di Tella in Buenos Aires, and the Instituto Ortega y Gassett in Madrid.
Coatsworth is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Board of Directors of the Tinker Foundation and numerous professional associations. He is the former president of the American Historical Association and Latin American Studies Association. Coatsworth has served on the editorial boards of scholarly journals including the American Historical Review, the Journal of Economic History, the Hispanic American Historical Review and other social science journals published in Britain, Chile, Germany, Mexico, Peru, and Spain. In 1986, he was awarded the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. He has served as Senior Fulbright Lecturer three times, with appointments in Argentina and Mexico, and has received numerous research and institutional grants from public agencies and private foundations.
Marjorie Connelly is Editor of Special Polling Projects on the News Surveys & Election Analysis Desk for The New York Times, which helps to shape all phases of polling, from questionnaire design and data interpretation to the reporting and editing of the findings. She works on the coordination of multi-platform survey coverage with editors and interactive graphic artists. She and her colleagues guide reporters and columnists on the proper use of public opinion data and vet outside surveys that are considered for publication.
Connelly’s byline appears on the news pages of The Times and in blogs for nytimes.com. In addition to national and local political polls, she conducts and writes about polls for virtually every section of the paper on topics as diverse as steroid use, global warming and distracted driving. A native New Yorker, Connelly joined the staff of The Times in 1981, after working as an interviewer on the Times/CBS News polls while a student at New York University. Since 1984, she has compiled presidential and house exit poll data for the “Portrait of the Electorate.” This popular post-election feature has been reprinted in several political science books. She was a contributing writer for the Encyclopedia of Survey Research Methods, and is a member of the executive council of the American Association for Public Opinion Research and was the 2010-2011 president of the New York chapter.
Margaret E. Crahan PhD is a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of Democracy, Toleration, and Religion and Senior Research Scholar at the Institute for Latin American Studies at the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University. She received her doctorate in history from Columbia. Until September 2009 she was the Kozmetsky Distinguished Professor and Director of the Kozmetsky Center of Excellence in Global Finance at St. Edward’s University. From 1982-1994 she was the Henry R. Luce Professor of Religion, Power and Political Process at Occidental College and from 1994-2008 the Dorothy Epstein Professor at Hunter College of the City University of New York. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees of St. Edward’s University, Vice President of the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights, and a member Executive Committee of the Board of the Washington Office of Latin America. She was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations Task Force on Latin America, 2006-08. She has participated in international missions to Bolivia, Chile, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay. Crahan has published over one hundred articles and books including “Human Rights and Basic Needs in the Americas”; “Religion, Culture and Society: The Case of Cuba”; and “The Wars on Terrorism and Iraq: Human Rights, Unilateralism, and US Foreign Policy” (with Thomas G. Weiss and John Goering).
Gregory B. Craig is a partner with the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. He has more than 35 years experience representing corporations, individuals and sovereign entities in a range of matters, including criminal and civil litigations, and congressional and government agency investigations. He represents clients before a variety of agencies, such as the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Treasury and State Departments. From January 2009 to January 2010, Craig served as President Obama’s first White House counsel. As assistant to the President and special counsel in the White House of President Bill Clinton, Craig directed the team defending Clinton against impeachment. He was a foreign policy advisor to Senator Edward Kennedy and to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. In 2013, Craig was named one of “The 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America” by The National Law Journal.
David D'Omni is a multidisciplinary artist formed out of the underground art and poetry movement in the massive government housing project of Alamar in eastern Havana, Cuba. A member of the OMNI-ZonaFranca artistic collective, D Omni writes and performs "conscience poetry" in a style he has dubbed "FreeHop." He is also a music and video producer and entrepreneur who has an independent recording studio and label called "Omnibus Producciones”.
John Dinges is the Godfrey Lowell Cabot Professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He began his career as a reporter and copy editor for The Des Moines Register & Tribune. He was a freelance correspondent in Latin America for many years, during the period of military governments and civil wars in South and Central America, writing for Time, The Washington Post, ABC Radio, The Miami Herald and other news organizations. On his return to the U.S., he worked as assistant editor on the foreign desk at The Washington Post. He joined National Public Radio as it was building up its foreign coverage, serving as deputy foreign editor and managing editor for news. Dinges is the author, most recently, of "The Condor Years: How Pinochet and his Allies Brought Terrorism to Three Continents" (The New Press 2004). His other books include "Assassination on Embassy Row" (1980), "Our Man in Panama: The Shrewd Rise and Brutal Fall of Manuel Noriega" (1990), "Sound Reporting: The National Public Radio Guide to Radio Journalism and Production" (as co-editor and co-author) (1992), and "Independence and Integrity: A Guidebook for Public Radio Journalism" (co-editor) (1995). His awards include the Maria Moors Cabot Prize for excellence in Latin American reporting, the Latin American Studies Media Award, and two Alfred I. du Pont-Columbia University Awards (as NPR Managing Editor). He serves on the advisory boards of Human Rights Watch and the National Security Archive, and is a juror for the Cabot awards and the du-Pont Columbia awards.
Alejandro de la Fuente PhD is the Robert Woods Bliss Professor of Latin-American History and Economics and a Professor of African and African American Studies and History at Harvard University. A historian of Latin America and the Caribbean who specializes in the study of comparative slavery and race relations, de la Fuente joined Harvard University after holding faculty appointments at the University of Pittsburgh, the University of South Florida in Tampa, and the University of Havana. His works on race, slavery, and Atlantic history have been published in Spanish, English, Portuguese, Italian, German, and French. He is also the curator of two art exhibits dealing with issues of race: Queloides: Race and Racism in Cuban Contemporary Art (Havana-Pittsburgh-New York City-Cambridge, Ma, 2010-12) and Grupo Antillano: The Art of Afro-Cuba (Santiago de Cuba-Havana, 2013, ongoing). Between 2007 and 2012 de la Fuente served as a Senior Co-Editor of Hispanic American Historical Review.
He is the author of “Havana and the Atlantic in the Sixteenth Century” (University of North Carolina Press, 2008), and of “A Nation for All: Race, Inequality, and Politics in Twentieth-Century Cuba” (University of North Carolina Press, 2001), published in Spanish as Una nación para todos: raza, desigualdad y política en Cuba, 1900-2000 (Madrid: Editorial Colibrí, 2001), winner of the Southern Historical Association's 2003 prize for “best book in Latin American history.” He is the editor of two bilingual (English-Spanish) volumes, “Grupo Antillano: The Art of Afro-Cuba” (Pittsburgh, 2013) and “Queloides: Race and Racism in Cuban Contemporary Art” (Pittsburgh, 2011) and of a special issue of the journal Debate y Perspectivas titled “Su único derecho: los esclavos y la ley” [“Their Only Right: Slaves and the Law”] (Madrid, 2004). In 2004, Law and History Review published a "forum" on de la Fuente's article “Slave Law and Claims-Making in Cuba: The Tannenbaum Debate Revisited.” This article was also debated in the Workshop "Comparative Slavery in the Atlantic World: The Tannenbaum Thesis Revisited" of the Atlantic History Seminar at Harvard. de la Fuente is the founding Director of the Institute of Afro-Latin American Studies at Harvard and the faculty Co-Chair, along with Professor Jorge Domínguez, of the Cuban Studies Program. He is the Senior Editor of the journal Cuban Studies.
Guillermo Grenier PhD is Professor of Sociology in the Department of Global and Sociocultural Studies at Florida International University, the State university of Florida in Miami. Born in Havana, Cuba, Grenier is one of the founders of the Miami School of social analysis. Grenier is the author of numerous books and dozens of articles on labor, migration, immigrant incorporation, and Cuban-American ideological profiles, particularly in the Greater Miami area and lectures nationally and internationally on his research. His books include “Inhuman Relations: Quality Circles and Anti-Unionism in American Industry” (Temple University Press, 1988), “Miami Now! Immigration, Ethnicity and Social Change”, edited with Alex Stepick (University of Florida Press, 1992), “Employee Participation and Labor Law in the American Workplace,” with Ray Hogler (Quorom/Greenwood, 1993), and “Newcomers in the Workplace: Immigrants and the Restructuring of the U.S. Economy,” with Louise Lamphere and Alex Stepick, (Temple University Press, 1994. Winner of the Conrad Aresnberg Award, American Anthropological Association), Legacy of Exile: Cubans in the United States, with Lisandro Perez (Allyn and Bacon, 2002), This Land is Our land: Newcomers and Established Residents in Miami, with Alex Stepick, Max Castro and Marvin Dunn (University of California Press: 2003).
His current book length manuscript and most recent articles explore the social dynamics of the Cuban-American ideology. Grenier initiated the FIU Cuba Poll in 1991 and has conducted regular surveys of the Cuban-American political attitudes roughly on a bi-annual basis ever since. The Cuba Poll the longest running research project tracking the ideological tendencies of the Cuban-American community in South Florida.
David Guggenheim PhD is a marine scientist, conservation policy specialist, submarine pilot, ocean explorer and educator. He is president and founder of the Washington, DC-based nonprofit organization, Ocean Doctor. Guggenheim directs Cuba Conservancy — an Ocean Doctor Program, and is in his 14th year leading research and conservation efforts in Cuba focused on coral reefs and sea turtles, a joint effort with the University of Havana. His work was recently featured on 60 MINUTES. Guggenheim led the formation of the Trinational Initiative for Marine Science & Conservation in the Gulf of Mexico & Western Caribbean, a major project to elevate collaboration in marine science and conservation among Cuba, Mexico and the U.S. to a new level. As an ocean explorer, Guggenheim piloted the first-ever manned submersible dives into the world’s largest underwater canyons in the Bering Sea as a scientific advisor to Greenpeace. He was inducted into the Explorers Club as a National Fellow in 2008. Guggenheim is working to advance cutting-edge technologies for sustainable aquaculture practices to the Americas to reduce pressure on overfished wild fish stocks. Following the tragic BP Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico oil spill, Guggenheim has led efforts on a key recovery project in New Orleans East, the Viet Village Urban Farm Sustainable Aquaculture Park, a next-generation fish farming facility designed to grow fish sustainably while taking pressure off of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem during its long recovery. The project will bring green jobs and economic benefits to the largely Vietnamese community of New Orleans East, a community that has been heavily dependent on fishing but has been seriously impacted by both Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill.
Guggenheim hosts The Ocean Doctor Radio Show and ExpeditionCasts podcast series and plays a key role in public outreach and education about the oceans. He makes frequent speaking and television and radio appearances, having recently appeared on 60 MINUTES, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, MSNBC, and NPR. Guggenheim previously served as Vice President at The Ocean Conservancy, President & CEO of The Conservancy of Southwest Florida, co-chair of the Everglades Coalition and president of the Friends of Channel Islands National Park.
Ted A. Henken PhD is Associate Professor of Sociology/Anthropology and Black and Latino Studies, Baruch College, City University of New York (CUNY). Fluent in Spanish, he has served as an expert for a variety of media including The New York Times, The Washington Post, the AP, CNN, NPR, the BBC, CCTV, Telemundo, and NTN24. He teaches courses on contemporary Cuban culture and society and specializes in social media and Internet use in contemporary Cuba. His books include, “Cuba In Focus” (ABC-CLIO, 2013), co-edited with Miriam Celaya and Dimas Castellanos, and “Cuba: A Global Studies Handbook” (ABC-CLIO, 2008). He has also written extensively about economic reform, microenterprise, and the underground economy in socialist Cuba, which is the subject of his new book, “Entrepreneurial Cuba: The Changing Policy Landscape” (FirstForumPress, 2014), co-authored with Archibald R.M. Ritter. He has also published numerous articles including, From Cyberspace to Public Space? The Emergent Blogosphere and Cuban Civil Society, in “A Contemporary Cuba Reader: The Revolution Under Raúl Castro” (R&L Publishers, 2014) and In Search of ‘Generation Y’: Yoani Sánchez, the Emergent Blogosphere, and Citizen Journalism in Today’s Cuba, in “Buena Vista Social Blog: Internet and Freedom of Expression in Cuba “(Aduana Vieja Publishers, 2010).
Henken is the current President of the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy (ASCE). A past winner of Baruch College's Presidential Excellence Award in Distinguished Teaching (2007), he specializes in courses on contemporary Cuban culture and society, sociology of the Internet, contemporary Latin America, Latinos in the U.S., racism and ethnic relations, the sociology of religion, international migration, and comparative urban studies courses on Havana, New York, and New Orleans. He holds a doctorate in Latin American studies from Tulane University.
Peter Kornbluh is Director of the National Security Archive Cuba and Chile Documentation Projects. He was co-director of the Iran-contra documentation project and director of the Archive's project on U.S. policy toward Nicaragua. From 1990-1999, he taught at Columbia University, as an adjunct assistant professor of international and public affairs. Kornbluh’s latest book, co-authored with William M. LeoGrande is “Back Channel To Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations between Washington and Havana.” He is the author/editor/co-editor of a number of Archive books: the Archive's first two documents readers: “The Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962” and “The Iran-Contra Scandal: The Declassified History,” both published by the New Press, and “Bay of Pigs Declassified: The Secret CIA Report on the Invasion of Cuba” (The New Press, 1998). On the 30th anniversary of the Chilean military coup in September 2003 he published “The Pinochet File: A Declassified Dossier on Atrocity and Accountability,” which the Los Angeles Times selected as a "best book" of the year. The Pinochet File has been translated into Spanish and published in Barcelona as Pinochet: Los Archivos Secretos. A smaller book on the United States and the overthrow of the government of Salvador Allende has been published in Chile under the title: Los EEUU y el Derrocamiento de Allende.
Kornbluh’s articles have been published in Foreign Policy, The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and many other journals and newspapers. He has appeared on national television and radio broadcasts, among them 60 Minutes, Charlie Rose, Nightline, CNN, All Things Considered, and "FreshAir" with Terri Gross. He has also worked on, and appeared in, numerous documentary films, including the Oscar winning "Panama Deception," the History Channel's "Bay of Pigs Declassified," and "The Trials of Henry Kissinger."
Eric Leenson is President of Sol Economics, a firm that builds strong links among socially responsible enterprises throughout the Americas. He has been involved in the fields of socially responsible investing and business for more than 25 years, serving as the CEO of Progressive Asset Management, the first full service brokerage to specialize in SRI. Leenson has had a life-long interest in Latin America and co-founded La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley, California, in 1974. Currently he serves as a strategic advisor to Forum Empresa, based in Santiago, Chile, an organization he co-founded. In addition he is a member of the International Advisory Board of Instituto Ethos of Brazil as well as a liaison between B Corp in the U.S. and the newly formed Sistema B in South America.
A major part of the present work of Sol Economics is involvement in the project Socially Responsible Enterprise and Local Development in Cuba, which seeks to expose Cuban policy makers to the best practices of responsible enterprise in Latin America. Cuba is undergoing an economic transformation emphasizing greater participation of non-state-run enterprises while retaining its commitment to the social achievements of the revolution.
Jim McGovern, the Democratic Congressman from Massachusetts’ 2nd District, has earned a national reputation as a tireless advocate for his district and as a champion for food security, human rights, campaign finance reform, social justice and peace. Currently serving his ninth term in Congress, McGovern serves as the second ranking Democrat on the House Rules Committee, which sets the terms for debate and amendments on most legislation; and a member of the House Agriculture Committee. In those roles, McGovern has secured millions of dollars in federal grants and assistance for Massachusetts. McGovern is also co-chair of both the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and the House Hunger Caucus. He also serves as Co-Chair of the Northeast Midwest Congressional Coalition.
Over the past 18 years, McGovern has consistently delivered millions of dollars for jobs, vital local and regional projects, small businesses, public safety, regional and mass transportation projects, and affordable housing around Massachusetts. He has authored important legislation to increase Pell Grant funding to allow more students access to higher education; to provide funds to preserve open space in urban and suburban communities; and to give tax credits to employers who pay the salaries of their employees who are called up to active duty in the Guard and Reserves. A strong proponent of healthcare reform, his legislative efforts included reducing the cost of home health care, giving patients the dignity to be cared for in their own homes with the help of medical professionals.
McGovern voted against the initial authorization of force in Iraq in 2002, and has been among the most prominent Congressional voices on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. McGovern introduced a bipartisan, bicameral bill calling for a flexible timetable for withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan as a matter of national security and fiscal responsibility.
Before his election to Congress, McGovern spent 14 years working as a senior aide for the late U.S. Representative John Joseph Moakley (D-South Boston), former dean of the Massachusetts delegation and Chairman of the House Rules Committee. In 1989, McGovern was the lead investigator on the Moakley Commission Congressional Investigation into the murders of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter in 1989. The investigation ultimately led to a seminal change in U.S. foreign policy towards El Salvador when determined that the Salvadoran military was implicated in the murders. That landmark determination led to future military aid from the U.S. being conditioned on an improved human rights record.
Achy Obejas is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Ruins and Days of Awe, among other books of fiction. Her best-selling poetry chapbook, This is What Happened in Our Other Life, was a critical favorite. Her other fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies. In addition, Obejas, a Cuban American who moved to the United States from Havana, Cuba, at the age of six, is a well-known translator. She edited and translated into English Havana Noir, a collection of crime stories by Cuban writers on and off the island. Obejas’ translation into Spanish of Junot Díaz’s “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Waowas” a finalist for the Esther Benítez Translation Prize from Spain’s National Translators’ Association. Her newest translation is Diáz’s most recent book, “This is How You Lose Her, “which was released this year. She is a founding member of the creative writing faculty at the University of Chicago, a member of the editorial board of In These Times, a member of the editorial advisory board of the Great Books Foundation, and a blogger for WBEZ.org.
Since 1999, she has developed writing workshops and taught writing classes at the University of Chicago and DePaul University. In 2005 and 2006, respectively, she was a distinguished writer in residence at the University of Hawai’i and Wichita State University. Obejas has earned nearly two dozen national and international awards for her fiction, poetry, and journalism. In addition, she has written thousands of articles for publications including the Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, In These Times, Village Voice, Vogue, Ms., Playboy, and the Los Angeles Times. She is currently the Distinguished Visiting Writer at Mills College in Oakland, CA, where she lives with her wife, Megan Bayles, and their son Ilan.
Mirta Ojito is Director of News Standards for Telemundo. A reporter since 1987, has worked for The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald, and, from 1996 to 2002, for The New York Times, where she covered immigration, among other beats, for the Metro Desk. She has received numerous awards, including the American Society of Newspaper Editor’s writing award for best foreign reporting in 1999 for a series of articles about life in Cuba, and a shared Pulitzer for national reporting in 2001 for a New York Times series of articles about race in America.
She is the author of “Finding Mañana: A Memoir of a Cuban Exodus,” and of “Hunting Season: Immigration and Murder in an All-American Town.” Her work has been included in several anthologies includingTo Mend the World: Women Reflect on 9/11, Written into History: Pulitzer Prize Reporting of the Twentieth Century from The New York Times, and How Race is Lived in America. Ojito is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and of the Board of Trustees of the
Phi Theta Kappa Foundation. She contributes to several publications, in English and Spanish, and writes a twice-a-month column for The Miami Herald.
Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo was born in Havana, Cuba, and graduated from the University of Havana with a degree in biochemistry. Around 2000 he began work as a free-lance writer, photographer and dissident blogger. In 2010, Lazo founded the independent opinion and literary e-zine Voces, which is Cuba's first digital magazine. At the time there were only about 200 official journalists who were allowed to have blogs by state media. However there were an additional 100 others identifying themselves as "independent" bloggers, including Lazo, openly expressing criticisms of the Castro regime. Lazo is the editor of Voces and part of a group of well known dissident writers, "The group of writers they have are among the best young Cuban voices anywhere," said Ted Henken, a Baruch College professor who follows the island's bloggers. The magazine is produced in PDF format and copies circulate in Cuba on CDs, flash drives, the domestic network known as the "intranet" and through photocopied paper editions. The government blocks access to the dissidents servers, but people on the island can access the magazine through proxy servers.
Lazo also produces the blog, Boring Home Utopics, which describes itself as "the Collective Memories from a Unique Man in the Brave New Zoociety". Lazo is the author of “Boring Home,” awarded the Czech literary award Novelas de Gaveta ("Romány ze šuplíku", Franz Kafka prize). In 2014, he announced the release of an anthology he had edited, an English-language translation of eleven stories from Cuba entitled “Cuba in Splinters: Eleven Stories from the New Cuba.” He currently works as a contributing columnist for Sampsonia Way magazine.
Louis Pérez PhD is the J. Carlyle Sitterson Professor of History in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He earned his M.A. at the University of Arizona in 1966 and his Ph.D from the University of New Mexico in 1970. He also serves as the director of the Institute for the Study of the Americas at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is considered a major force for developing the field of Cuban studies in the US, especially in opening the island to American academics. An article about his role in Cuban studies appeared in 2000 in The New York Times. Currently he is both the editor of the UNC Press book series "Envisioning Cuba" and of the journal Cuban Studies. Most recently, Pérez was inducted into the 2008 class of fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honorary societies and independent policy research centers. His book “On Becoming Cuban” won the 2000 Bolton-Johnson Prize from the Conference on Latin American History and was a 2000 Choice Outstanding Academic Title. Pérez’s other books include “Cuba: Between Reform and Revolution.” Fourth edition (Oxford University Press, 2010); “Cuba in the American Imagination: Metaphor and the Imperial Ethos” (University of North Carolina Press, 2008); “To Die in Cuba: Suicide and Society” (winner of the 2007 Elsa Goveia Prize from the Association of Caribbean Historians), “Winds of Change: Hurricanes and the Transformation of Nineteenth-Century Cuba” (winner of the 2001 George Perkins Marsh Prize from the American Society for Environmental History), and “The War of 1898: The United States and Cuba in History and Historiography” (a 1999 Choice Outstanding Academic Title).
Philip Peters is President of the Cuba Research Center in Alexandria, Virginia, a nonprofit organization founded in 2013. Since 1996 he has traveled regularly to Cuba to monitor and write about economic and political developments. Peters has testified before Congress and the U.S. International Trade Commission and has given talks on Cuba and U.S. policy to diverse audiences. Prior to joining the Lexington Institute in 1999, he served as a State Department appointee of Presidents Reagan and Bush (six years), and as a senior aide in the House of Representatives. He graduated from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service (1978) and the Georgetown University Graduate School (M.A. 1986, National Security Studies).
Scott Price (“S.L. Price”) has been a senior writer for Sports Illustrated since 1994. A graduate of the University of North Carolina—where he covered Michael Jordan — Price has received multiple honors for his journalism, including two Associated Press Sports Editors awards, two National Headliner awards and awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and the Women's Sports Foundation. Price’s work, including his Aliquippa, Coolbaugh, and Gonzalez pieces, has been featured in “The Best American Sports Writing: anthology on eight occasions. Currently at work on a book about Aliquippa, he is the author of “Pitching Around Fidel: A Journey into the Heart of Cuban Sports” (2000), which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award; “Far Afield: A Sportswriting Odyssey” (The Lyons Press 2007); and “Heart of the Game: Life, Death and Mercy in Minor League America” (Harper Collins 2009). Esquire magazine tagged Far Afield as “one of the year's five best reads” while the Chicago Tribune called the book “a masterpiece.” Price wrote the book while living in France for 15 months during 2003 and 2004, a journey that took him to the cricket fields of Pakistan and the gut-busting hills of Mont Ventoux among other exotic locales.
Before joining Sports Illustrated, Price was an award-winning columnist and feature writer for The Miami Herald and a columnist and NBA beat writer for The Sacramento Bee.
Gail Reed is an American journalist focused on Cuba’s social and economic issues. She was NBC’s first Havana-based producer since the early 1960s. After several decades of working in Havana, she developed a keen interest in the Cuban health system. In 1997, she founded Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba (MEDICC), a US non-profit that promotes improved health outcomes and equity through dialogue among the US, Cuban, and global health communities. Reed co-produced the award-winning film, ¡Salud!, a feature documentary on Cuba and the quest for global health, and currently serves as Executive Editor of MEDICC Review, a quarterly journal that publishes original research and perspectives by Cuban and other developing-country health professionals.
Dan Restrepo is a Senior Fellow at The Center for American Progress. For nearly six years and through two presidential campaigns, Restrepo served as the principal advisor to President Barack Obama on issues related to Latin America, the Caribbean, and Canada, serving as special assistant to the president and senior director for Western Hemisphere affairs at the National Security Council from March 2009 to July 2012 and as an advisor to and surrogate for Obama for America during the 2008 and 2012 campaigns. Previously, Restrepo created and directed The Americas Project—focused on Latin America and on the role of Hispanics in the United States, their future, and the implications for public policy—at the Center for American Progress. First joining the Center shortly after it was established, Restrepo also helped stand up its government and external relations department and served as deputy counsel. Restrepo worked as an associate at the law firm of Williams & Connolly, LLP, and served as a judicial clerk to the Honorable Anthony J. Scirica of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Restrepo also worked for Rep. Lee H. Hamilton on the staff of the House Foreign Affairs Committee in the mid-1990s.
Restrepo, who also serves as a consultant to private-sector clients on strategy, policy, and communications, is also a regular conference speaker and frequent commentator and analyst on various Spanish- and English-language media outlets on a wide range of domestic policy and national security issues. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia and the University of Pennsylvania School of Law.
Marlén Sanchez Gutierrez is a Professor at the University of Havana who specializes in international finance. For more than 25 years she has researched international monetary and financial architecture, particularly within institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Her work has also focused on the process of Latin American external debt, international capital flows, financing for development and south-south cooperation among others.
Sanchez Gutierrez has taught several courses on international finance and conducted studies on central banking, macroeconomics, econometrics, financial markets and capital flows. She is the author of the book, "The Foreign Debt of Latin America: Problem without Solution?", and co-author of the books, "The Economies of Underdeveloped Countries in the 80's and Prospects," the basic text of International Economic Relations at the University of Havana and ¨Globalization and Development Problems. Balance of a Decade¨, recently published by ECLAC, United Nations. She has worked as an adviser in the Latin American and Caribbean Economic System (SELA) on financing for development, foreign investment, external debt and International Financial Architecture. She is also an adviser of the United Nation Development Program Office in Cuba and United Nations Development Assistance Framework in Cuba, the recent international economic context and its implications for the Cuban economy and about the international experience in microfinance and lessons for developing this sector in Cuba. She is a currently a Visiting Scholar with Columbia University’s Institute on Latin American Studies.
Peter Schecter is the first director of the Atlantic Council's Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center. The Council's new Latin America effort started operations in October 2013 to study, educate, and strengthen the trends transforming Latin America into a strong Western partner. An international consultant who has advised many heads of state and business leaders around the globe, Schechter's specialty and passion remain anchored in Latin America. He has more than twenty years of communications and political experience and is a sought-out voice on Latin American political issues.
Fluent in six languages, Schechter specializes in reducing reputational risk in increasingly adversarial political and communications environments. Schechter previously served as the lead consultant on a host of high-stakes elections—overseeing polling, campaign management, advertising, and media relations—in nearly every country in Latin America. In 1993, Schechter founded Chlopak, Leonard, Schechter and Associates (CLS) with two partners. Within a few years it became one of Washington's premier strategic communications consulting firms. The firm continues today.
Schechter teaches at two universities about issues at the intersection of international business, communications, and politics; he serves as a visiting professor at Ben Gurion University's Faculty of Business and Management and was appointed to BGU's Board of Directors in 2012. Schechter is also an adjunct professor at The George Washington University and a published author, having released two novels to date with Harper Collins: Point of Entry (2006) and Pipeline (2009). A graduate of the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, he was previously deputy staff director for the House Subcommittee on International Development Institutions and Finance and worked at National Public Radio and the Inter-American Development Bank.
Bruce Shapiro is Senior Executive Director of Professional Programs at Columbia Journalism School, and Executive Director of the Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma, a project of Columbia Journalism School. An award-winning reporter on human rights, criminal justice and politics, Shapiro is a contributing editor at The Nation magazine and U.S. correspondent for Late Night Live on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Radio National. As an investigative journalist and commentator, Shapiro has covered terrain ranging from inner-city neighborhoods to the chambers of the U.S. Supreme Court. In the mid-1990s, he began extensive reporting on crime victims and American society, and documented the intersection of politics and violence on issues ranging from capital punishment to combat trauma. He was national correspondent for Salon.com and has written for the New York Times Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, The Guardian and numerous other publications worldwide. Shapiro’s most recent book is “Shaking the Foundations: 200 Years of Investigative Journalism in America.” He is co-author of “Legal Lynching: The Death Penalty and America's Future,” with Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. He teaches investigative journalism at Yale University, and has been featured as a commentator on the BBC, CNN, Fox News and NPR.
Archbishop Thomas Wenski was born and raised in Florida, studying at St. John Vianney Minor Seminary in Miami and later at St. Vincent de Paul Major Seminary in Boynton Beach. He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Miami on May 15, 1976. He earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy (1972), and Master of Divinity (1975) from the Boynton Beach Seminary and in 1993 a Master of Arts in Sociology from Fordham University in New York.
Archbishop Wenski served three years as associate pastor of Corpus Christi Church, a mainly Hispanic parish in Miami. In 1979, after briefly ministering in Haiti, he was assigned to the newly established Haitian Apostolate of the Archdiocese. He was associate director and then director of the Pierre Toussaint Haitian Catholic Center in Miami from that time to his appointment as a Bishop in 1997. He also served concurrently as pastor of three Haitian mission parishes in the Archdiocese-Notre-Dame d'Haiti in Miami, Divine Mercy in Fort Lauderdale, and St. Joseph in Pompano Beach.
In January 1996, the then Father Wenski was appointed the Archdiocese Director of Catholic Charities, one of the largest Catholic social service agencies in the United States. In this capacity he helped forge a collaborative relationship with Caritas Cuba, the social service arm of the Catholic Church in Cuba. Since early 1996 he has traveled to Cuba on many occasions on behalf of the Church. In late 1996, he spearheaded a relief operation that delivered over 150,000 pounds of food to Caritas Cuba for distribution to people left homeless by hurricane Lily. This was the first time that Cubans in Miami participated in a humanitarian relief effort directed to Cuba. In subsequent years, similar relief efforts were also directed to Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and the countries of Central America and Colombia.
Appointed auxiliary Bishop of Miami on June 24, 1997, he was ordained to the episcopacy on September 3, 1997. Besides his duties in the Archdiocese of Miami, where he served on numerous boards including Catholic Hospice, Catholic Charities, Catholic Charities Legal Services, and St. Thomas University, and later as Coadjutor Bishop and Ordinary of Orlando, he also served as chair of CLINIC (Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.) (1998-2001), chair of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops' Committee on Migration (2001-2004); and chair of the conference's Committee on International Policy (2004-2008) and currently he continues as a consultant to the Committee on Migration, and a member of the Conference's Secretariat for the Church in Latin America and the committee for International Justice and Peace. On behalf of his work on these committees, he has traveled to the Congo and the Great Lakes region of Africa, the Caribbean, and Central and South America as well as to Israel and the West Bank (Palestinian Authority).
Pope John Paul II appointed Bishop Wenski as coadjutor bishop of the Diocese of Orlando on July 1, 2003. Bishop Wenski assumed the role of the fourth bishop of the Diocese of Orlando on November 13, 2004. On April 20, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him the fourth Archbishop of Miami and Metropolitan of the Province of Miami (which includes the seven dioceses of the State of Florida). On June 1, 2010, Bishop Thomas Wenski was installed as Archbishop of Miami.
In addition to English, Archbishop Wenski speaks Haitian Creole and Spanish fluently and preaches and celebrates Mass regularly in both languages. He learned Spanish while still a seminarian and worked with various Spanish speaking groups including Cubans, Puerto Ricans and Mexicans during his seminary training and early years as a priest. He also has a limited knowledge of Polish, the language of his immigrant father and Polish American mother.
James Williams is Director of Public Policy of Trimpa Group, a consulting firm that focuses on progressive philanthropic and political investment advising, and government relations. Williams manages a portfolio of state and federal government relations, strategic political consulting, and philanthropic and political investment advising for institutional and individual clients.
Before joining Trimpa Group, Williams served as a consultant to the Bonner Group, a leading progressive fundraising consulting firm in Washington, DC, where he oversaw major donor relations and political fundraising. Previously, he coordinated partnerships and fundraising for the German Marshall Fund of the United States, an international public policy and grantmaking institution dedicated to improving transatlantic relations. James has also worked for the John Kerry for President campaign.
Williams serves on the Washington D.C. Advisory Board of the New Leaders Council and as a board member of the Project On Middle East Democracy, a non-partisan organization dedicated to examining how genuine democracies can develop in the Middle East.