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The Cuba-U.S. Bilateral Relationship: New Pathways and Policy Choices
August 29

The Cuba-U.S. Bilateral Relationship: New Pathways and Policy Choices

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Join the American Security Project on Thursday, August 29 at noon for a panel discussion on the newly released book The Cuba-U.S. Bilateral Relationship: New Pathways and Policy Choices, recently published by the Oxford University Press.

The book examines the evolving political, economic and legal relationship between the two countries in light of the rapprochement that began during the later years of the Obama presidency.  By examining the relationship from three perspectives, the book provides insight into the key areas that policymakers and politicians will need to address as the relationship continues to evolve.  Among the topics to be covered are property rights, the legacy of Helms-Burton for current and future relations, and political change (or not) in Cuba.

Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis will introduce and provide opening remarks to our panel of editors and contributors: Michael J. Kelly, JD (Creighton University School of Law), Erika Moreno, PhD (Creighton University, Department of Political Science and International Relations), Richard Witmer, PhD (Creighton University, Department of Political Science and International Relations), and contributing author Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado, PhD (University of Nebraska, Omaha, Department of Political Science).

The American Security Project’s Cuba Engagement program has sought to rebuild a closer relationship between the governments of the United States and Cuba and build a long-lasting relationship between the people of the United States and the people of Cuba. In March 2017, ASP brought a delegation of retired senior military leaders to Havana for a a four day fact-finding trip to Havana. ASP has advocated for reduced tensions and increased engagement across the Florida Straits.

The panel discussion will be moderated by Andrew Holland, COO of the American Security Project. Please arrive at noon for registration and lunch. The discussion will begin promptly at 12:30pm. It will be held at the offices of The American Security Project, 1201 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC on August 29th, 2019.


Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis has had a distinguished 28-year career in the Foreign Service, serving most recently as Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Havana from 2015-2017. Before his posting in Cuba, he was Ambassador for Special Political Affairs at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. His previous positions include Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs and Minister Counselor for Political Affairs and Security Council Coordinator at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. He is currently a Distinguished Resident Fellow at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

Michael J. Kelly, JD: Professor Kelly coordinates the International and Comparative Law Program and the GOAL Master’s Program at Creighton University School of Law. Professor Kelly has been on the front lines of Cuba policy as an expert on the international law of expropriations. Professor Kelly wrote the grant that USAID awarded to the School of Law calling for creation of a model Cuba/U.S. bilateral property claims settlement tribunal which can be used to settle the claims of companies and citizens whose property was confiscated by the Castro regime when it came to power in 1959. Professor Kelly and the team of six law and political science faculty tasked with building this model reported out their recommendations as a book on The Resolution of Outstanding Property Claims Between Cuba & the United States (Creighton University Press 2007). He testified in Congress in 2010 on this issue as it relates to lifting the embargo on Cuba.

Erika Moreno, PhD: Dr. Moreno is the Chair, Department of Political Science and International Relations at the Creighton University College of Arts and Sciences. She is trained as a comparative political scientist, with a specialization in Latin American politics.  Her scholarly interests focus on democratic institutions and interbranch relations and their implications for democratic accountability and representation. Although her primary focus is democracy and its institutions, she has also worked on topics that have addressed stability of regimes (democracy and autocracy), political transitions, and the role of regime characteristics on economic outcomes.

Richard Witmer, PhD: Dr. Witmer has teaching and research interest in American politics and American Indian politics and policy, which he often combines in his work.  Within American politics, he specializes in Congress, interest groups, voting and elections, and US-Cuban relations.  His interest in American Indian politics and policy includes the mobilization of Indian nations and voters, political incorporation, compacting policy, and tribal/federal and tribal/state relations.

Jonathan C. Benjamin-Alvarado, PhD: Dr. Benjamin-Alvarado is the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at the University of Nebraska, Omaha. He is the author of Power to the People:  Energy and the Cuban Nuclear Program published by Routledge Press and the editor of Cuba’s Energy Future: Strategic Approaches to Cooperation published by the Brookings Institution Press.

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