Toronto, Canada, Oct 6. -Cuba, its reality, and its relations with its environment will be the focus of discussion by numerous academics at the Congress of the Latin America Studies Association, which opens today.
LASA 2010 is a mega-event of some 5,000 scholars on Latin American and Caribbean, and this year, some 1,000 papers will be presented on a wide variety of topics in hundreds of panels, workshops, and lectures.
From Havana, 80 experts in the social sciences travelled to Toronto for exchanges and discussions with their colleagues from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, and from various European and Asian countries.
Due to Washington's refusal to grant visas to the Cuban academicians, the LASA decided to hold its congresses outside of the United States so that the Cubans could attend, said LASA president Professor John Coatsworth.
That U.S. government refusal has made LASA aware of the need to give special attention to Cuban participation, to ensure that LASA members have the unique opportunity to meet and exchange with their Cuban colleagues.
"Nobody can deny the extraordinary interest in the socialist experiment in Cuba, and in its independent and sovereign foreign policy," Coatsworth said.
The conflict with the United States, its effects and prospects will be the focus of discussion, but other topics will be addressed as well, such as aspects of Cuban history, economy, religion, culture, film, theater, and society.
"The Cuba issue is very attractive because of Cuba's particular characteristics compared to other Latin American countries," said Ramón Sánchez Noda, who is leading the Cuban delegation to the congress.
One of the scheduled panels that has sparked great interest "Cuba, the Caribbean and the United States in the Era of Obama." Another is "United States-Cuba Dialogue, Lessons from the Past, Prospects for the Future."
The David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies and Harvard University propose the topic "Debating Cuba-U.S. Relations: Are We Playing Ball?"
Sánchez Noda confirmed that the event's book exhibition will include a presentation of the historic work "The Strategic Victory," by the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro. (Prensa Latina)