Cuba and the Caribbean: What Now?

Author: David R. Kotok, Post Date: December 19, 2017

Recent changes in US policies toward Cuba have reinvigorated debate over US-Cuba relations. How will these revised policies affect American business, trade, and travel, as well as the well-being of the Cuban people? What does the future hold? Please join Cumberland Advisors, the Global Interdependence Center (GIC), the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, and our panels of leading experts as we discuss money payments, tourism, policy, security, Puerto Rico, and the state of US-Cuba relations and the outlook going forward on Thursday, February 22, 2018, in Sarasota, FL.


Please be our guest.

The discussion lineup is a first-class assemblage with valuable and varied perspectives to share.  Jorge Duany, director of the Cuban Research Institute and professor at Florida International University, and Collin Laverty, president of Cuba Educational Travel, senior partner at Havana Strategies, and a leading expert on US–Cuba relations, and David Seleski, president and CEO of Stonegate Bank (the licensed banker to handle transfers and money payments between Cuba and the US), will also speak. A bipartisan panel discussion with Congressman Carlos Curbelo, who serves Florida’s 26th Congressional District, which includes the Florida Keys, and Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett, who represents the U.S. Virgin Islands will be moderated by Ben White, a CNBC political correspondent and journalist from Politico. Finally, a former US ambassador to Cuba, Vicki Huddleston, is on the program.

Please join us.

Economic and financial issues will be thoroughly discussed. Sara Banaszak of Exxon Mobil, who has expertise in the energy sector along with others will weigh in on everything from Puerto Rico Electric Power, to offshore drilling, to national constraints.

Should the money be spent to transform Puerto Rico’s power grid into a more stable, efficient, and less vulnerable system consisting of batteries and solar arrays? Should the old system simply be updated in the interest of time/money? Or a hybrid solution?

Eugenio Alemán carries the Latin connection; he is senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities. And to round out this discussion we add Steve Kay, director of the Americas Center, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

This full day is designed to inform a broad range of people — tourists, travel agents, investors, policy wonks, and weather-forecasting folks. And those who wish to think about the government’s responsibility and actions in the hurricane-damaged parts of Florida or Texas or Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico or Cuba or elsewhere in the Caribbean, this program will touch on that too. The event is only $50 and includes a Cuban inspired lunch.

Please come.

Speakers for the “Cuba and the Caribbean: What Now? event include:

Karen Holbrook – Executive Vice President at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee and Sr. Advisor to the President at the University of South Florida. She is currently serving as the Executive Vice President at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee and Sr. Advisor to the President at the University of South Florida. Prior to this position, she served as the Interim president at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, after leaving the University of South Florida where she was Senior Vice President for Research and Innovation, then Senior Vice President for Global Affairs and International Research. Before coming to USF, Dr. Holbrook served as president of The Ohio State University from 2002-2007. She was also the senior vice president for academic affairs and provost and professor of cell biology at the University of Georgia, vice president for research and dean of the Graduate School at the University of Florida, and associate dean for research and professor of biological structure and medicine at the University of Washington, School of Medicine.

David Kotok – CIO of Cumberland Advisors. He cofounded Cumberland Advisors in 1973 and has been its chief investment officer since inception. David holds a B.S. in economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, an M.S. in organizational dynamics from the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, and a master’s in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania.

Stephen Kay – Center Director of the Atlanta Fed’s Americas Center. Dr. Kay is part of the financial markets team. His research focuses on political economy and public policy in Latin America. His articles on pension reform in Latin America have appeared in the Journal of Comparative Politics, Foreign Policy Journal, Journal of Aging & Social Policy, Journal of European Social Policy, Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs, International Social Security Review, Latin American Politics and Society, Social Security Bulletin, and the Atlanta Fed’s Economic Review. Dr. Kay is a coeditor of Lessons from Pension Reform in the Americas (with Tapen Sinha, Oxford University Press) and an author of Social Security in Latin America: Pension Reform and the Challenge of Universal Coverage (with Carolina Felix and Tapen Sinha, Cambridge University Press, forthcoming). He has testified twice before committees of the United States Congress on pension reform in Latin America. Dr. Kay received his bachelor’s degree from the University of California and his doctorate in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Donald Rissmiller – Founding Partner of Strategas. Donald has been the firm’s chief economist since 2006, directing its macroeconomic research effort. He oversees Strategas’ high-frequency econometric forecasting and thematic economic research. Mr. Rissmiller’s research has been consistently recognized by Institutional Investor magazine in their annual survey: he was ranked best up and coming economist in 2008, and was third in their 2009 All-America Independent Research Team survey. He is frequently quoted in the financial press.

Partners for this event include the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee (USFSM) the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, and the Global Interdependence Center who’s mission is to encourage the expansion of global dialogue and free trade in order to improve cooperation and understanding among nations, with the goal of reducing international conflicts and improving worldwide living standards.

For a list of sponsors and a link for registration, please visit USF Sarasota-Manatee’s website.


USF Sarasota-Manatee:

Event Details
Date: Thursday, February 22, 2018
Time: 08:00 AM – 03:00 PM

Event Location
University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, Selby Auditorium
8350 N. Tamiami Trail
Sarasota, FL 34243

Bob Bunting of the Climate Adaptation & Mitigation Center (CAC) , a friend and accomplished professor whose expertise includes hurricanes, joined our small, fact-finding group on a trip to Key West and five other Keys that were hit by Hurricane Irma. Here is his narrative of the trip, which he has agreed to share with our readers. We thank Bob for joining us and reflecting on his findings:

SNN, The Suncoast News Network, accepted Cumberland Advisors’ offer to accompany us to the Florida Keys and document the dire conditions that so many residents and the fishing guide community that we hold dear endured and continue to struggle under. See their news footage here:

Photos of Cuba from 2017 and of Florida Keys after Irma.

cumber map
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