Imagining Cuba in a Post-Embargo Era: Ideas from the Cuban Diaspora in Texas
Friday, January 30 • 2:00 PM (CT)
The announcement of the normalization of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States in December 17 has since generated a great frenzy of speculation and opinion in world media regarding what Cuba would be like if the U.S. embargo is finally lifted. In response to this media overload, LLILAS is inviting key academic members of the Cuban Diaspora in Texas--the community most affected by these developments in our state--to come together in a round table to speak out their views, hopes, and reservations. "Imagining Cuba in a Post-Embargo Era" will reunite Cuban artists and specialists who are Texas residents currently working on cultural history, feminism, prison writing, energy, and afro-diaspora issues in the island and abroad. The event is meant both to inform the public and to promote a conversation among Cuban nationals themselves across all sorts of borders.
• Mabel Cuesta is assistant professor of Spanish Caribbean literature at the University of Houston. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Hispanic Literatures from the University of Havana (1999) and a doctorate from City University of New York (2011). Her scholarly work has been widely published in peer-reviewed journals in Cuba, the United States, Mexico, Honduras, Canada, Brazil, Colombia, and Spain. She is the author of Bajo el cielo de Dublín (Ediciones Vigía, 2013); Cuba post-soviética: un cuerpo narrado en clave de mujer (Cuarto Propio, 2012); Inscrita bajo sospecha (Betania, 2010); Cuaderno de la fiancée (Ediciones Vigía, 2005); and Confesiones on line (Aldabón, 2003). Her short stories have been collected in anthologies such as Las musas inquietantes (Ediciones Unión, 2003); La hora 0 (Ediciones Matanzas, 2005); Havana Noir (Akashic Books, 2007); Two Shores: Voices in Lesbian Narratives (Grup Elles, 2008), Dos Orillas: Voces en la narrativa lésbica (Grup Elles, 2008) and Nosotras dos (Ediciones Unión, 2011), as well as in the literary journals Words Without Borders, Conexos, and Surco Sur. Her poems have been also collected in Antología de la poesía cubana del exilio (Aduana Vieja, 2011).
• Michael Hernández-Miranda is a graduate student and Spanish instructor at Texas A&M University in College Station, where he currently resides. He hails from the eastern region of Cuba. His research and teaching interests are centered around Cuban/Caribbean literature, Latin American literature, and exile studies. He has published four books of poems and several essays and articles in magazines in more than eleven countries.
• Poet and filmmaker Leonardo Guevara Navarro holds a master’s degree in Latin American literature and cinema from the University of Iowa. He is the author of two Cuban-published books of poems, and his poetry has been featured in numerous anthologies. Guevara Navarro filmed, produced, and directed La Habana de Ulises (2007), a documentary film on discrimination against Afro-Cubans in Habana and racism in Cuba He currently teaches visual and performing arts in Austin, Texas.
• Martha M. Montejo Pizarro is a PhD candidate on Hispanic Studies at Texas A&M University, as well as a journalist and editor. She holds a BA in social communication from the University of Havana (1996). She is writing her dissertation, titled “Flotar en la viscosidad: Literatura cubana de los 90” (Floating in Viscosity: Cuban Literature of the 90s). Her latest publication is “Trilogía sucia de La Habana: Manual para descanonizar,” published in Rio Grande Review (University of Texas at El Paso); and her piece titled “Alfileres para juntar una poética: Entrevista a Reina María Rodríguez” is under review for publication in Hispanic Review (University of Pennsylvania). Her interests include Latin American and Caribbean literature and cultural studies, as well as at the Spanish Golden Age and transatlantic studies.
• Francisco Morán is a poet, essayist, and associate professor of Latin American literature at Southern Methodist University. He is the author of "Julián del Casal o los pliegues del deseo" (essay, Verbum, 2008), "Martí, la justicia infinita" (essay, Verbum, 2014) and recipient of the XIX Luis Cernuda Prize (Seville, 1999). He is editor of the weekly online publication La Habana Elegante (www.habanaelegante.com). Morán served as editor of Island of My Hunger / Isla de mi hambre: Bilingual Anthology of Contemporary Cuban Poetry (City Lights, 2007).
• Jorge R. Piñón is interim director of the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy in the Jackson School of Geosciences at The University of Texas at Austin. A Cuban-American who arrived in the U.S. at a young age in 1960, has had a long career in the international oil and gas industry. He is recognized as an expert on Cuba’s energy sector, as well as on the island’s future economic transition challenges and opportunities. An adviser and a member of the Cuba task force at The Brookings Institution, as well as co-author of Cuba’s Energy Future: Strategic Approaches to Cooperation (Brookings Institution Press, 2010), Piñón has testified before a number U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives committees and served on Cuba-related panels.
• Rafael E. Saumell-Muñoz is professor of Spanish at Sam Houston State University. He holds a degree from Universidad de La Habana (1978), where he studied French linguistics, and from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri (1994), where he earned a PhD in Spanish. He is author or co-author of numerous scholarly essays, articles, and books. Saumell-Muñoz worked as scriptwriter and director at El Instituto Cubano de Radio y TV (ICRT) and is a former member of UNEAC (Cuban Writers and Artists Union). For political reasons, his book La corte del supremo espectáculo: Radio y TV en Cuba 1922–1978 (Editorial Unión) was reduced to pulp following his arrest, which was ordered by the Cuban State Security Police, due to the political content attributed to a collection of short-stories he wrote but never published. Released from prison in 1986, he has lived in the United States since 1988.