restricted access Preface and Acknowledgments
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Preface and Acknowledgments Policymakers, scholars, and analysts have pondered for nearly a half century this question: what would a Cuban government look like if it were fully recognized by the United States and engaged in robust economic relations with its large northern neighbor? While we’ve been waiting for an answer, intervening events, such as the end of the cold war and the peaceful transfer of power in Cuba to Fidel Castro’s brother, have not prompted any change in the prevailing status quo. The question remains relevant because of the sustained power and allure that this strategically important island poses in a region rife with uncertainty, and where the stakes for regional progress, peace, and development rest in part with Cuba’s own development. As the island nation seeks to capitalize on its new-found oil reserves and as the United States casts about for energy sources outside the Middle East, these two countries could come together in a manner inconceivable just five years ago. This volume is an outgrowth of several events that have probed Cuba’s energy past and future in depth, beginning with the 2006 annual meeting of the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy (ASCE), where I served as discussant for a paper delivered by former oil executive Jorge R. Piñón titled “Energy: Cuba’s Achilles Heel.” I sat on a panel with Piñón and Juan Belt, one of the Americas’ leading electricity infrastructure analysts. After the meeting, I asked my ASCE colleagues if we couldn’t continue to refine our respective analyses and present the findings at two Cuba-related conferences coming up in 2008. Both Piñon and Belt agreed enthusiastically. Ron Soligo vii 12250-00_FM_rev2.qxd 9/3/10 12:21 PM Page vii viii Preface and Acknowledgments and Amy Myers Jaffe of the James Baker Institute at Rice University were added to broaden our analysis to include the prospects of energy demand in Cuba under varying scenarios. At the second of these meetings,we met with AmbassadorVicki Huddleston (former head of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana and now with the Defense Department), then leading the Brookings project on U.S. Policy toward a Cuba in Transition with Ambassador Carlos Pascual (former vice president and director for Foreign Policy at Brookings and now U.S. ambassador to Mexico), to learn how our own efforts might contribute to the Brookings work. Under the auspices of this Brookings Institution project, a group of distinguished academics, opinion leaders, and international diplomats had been brought together to seek pathways to a strong and effective U.S. policy toward Cuba. The group’s final report concluded that the United States should adopt a policy of critical and constructive engagement, phased in unilaterally. After learning more of our work in the energy sphere, Huddleston, Pascual, and their colleagues working with Brookings readily agreed to publish our findings. This volume, therefore, is an extension of the Brookings project’s analysis by looking concretely at the strategic and material challenges posed by Cuba as a potentially ascendant, albeit mid-level, oil state, and how it might serve as a partner in strategic regional objectives, in terms of both national and energy security interests of the United States. No book can be launched without committed contributors, and I would first like to thank Jorge Piñón, Juan A. Belt, Ronald Soligo, and Amy Myers Jaffe. They represent an august body of experts on the subject of Cuban energy issues. Their collective efforts have made this volume an important contribution to the specifics of Cuban energy development and to the broader discussion of the possibility of a sober and objective dialogue and cooperation with the Cuban regime. Our colleagues at the Brookings Institution—Carlos Pascual, Vicki Huddleston, Ted Piccone, senior fellow and deputy director for Foreign Policy, and especially, Dóra Beszterczey, former research assistant for the U.S. Policy toward a Cuba in Transition project, have been instrumental in coordinating our efforts and guiding us through the editorial process. If the sharing of time and information by former and present officials of Cuba’s energy-related bureaucracies is any indication of what the future of U.S.-Cuban relations might be like, our experience portends an honest, open, and mutually beneficial relationship. Time and again, we have been pleasantly 12250-00_FM_rev2.qxd 9/3/10 12:21 PM Page viii Preface and Acknowledgments ix surprised by the forthrightness of Cuban officials to discuss all facets...


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Subject Headings

  • Energy policy -- Cuba.
  • United States -- Foreign economic relations -- Cuba.
  • Cuba -- Foreign economic relations -- United States.
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