Pitt Hosts ‘Voices of Change in Cuba’ Book Event

More than one million residents of Cuba, or 30 percent of the labor force, work in the country’s nonstate sector. This dynamic force for change includes self-employed workers and micro-entrepreneurs, sharecropping farmers, members of new cooperatives, and buyers and sellers of private dwellings. The group’s rise represents a key structural reform implemented by Raúl Castro since he became Cuba’s leader in 2006, yet the group has received little scholarly attention.

On October 16, the University of Pittsburgh welcomes back renowned scholar on Cuban studies Carmelo Mesa-Lago to discuss the fascinating
experiences of these workers as told in his latest book, Voices of Change in Cuba from the Non-State Sector (University of Pittsburgh Press 2018). The presentation is a featured event of International Week 2019 on campus.

Mesa-Lago is the former director of Pitt’s Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS) and founding editor of Cuban Studies, the preeminent journal for scholarly work about the country. He has authored 92 books and 300 articles published in seven languages in 34 countries and has been a researcher and lecturer in 40 countries. His latest book features 80 in-depth interviews conducted in Cuba and offers insights into the Cuban economy, policymaking, and the work force’s potential for development as well as the obstacles it faces.

Mesa-Lago’s return to campus shines a light on the scholar’s 45-year relationship with CLAS and Pitt, including his current role as distinguished service professor emeritus of economics and Latin American Studies at the University. Among many other accomplishments, Mesa-Lago served as president of the Latin American Studies Association, editorial board member for six academic journals, and member of the National Academy of Social Insurance. He shares the International Labor Organization Prize on Decent Work with Nelson Mandela.

The Pitt community and public are invited to the free book event on Wednesday, October 16, at 3:30 p.m. in the Alcoa Room of the Barco Law Building. The talk will be followed by a reception. No RSVP is necessary.