Cuban political philosopher to discuss inequality in Cuba with URI professor Oct. 5

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KINGSTON, R.I. – October 3, 2016 — Humberto Miranda, a political philosopher who studies and writes about politics and economy in Latin America will be part of a conversation with University of Rhode Island Economics Professor Richard McIntyre on “Inequality and the Cuban Dream” Wednesday, Oct. 5.

The lecture is free and open to the public and it will be held in the Doody Auditorium, Swan Hall, 60 Upper College Road on the Kingston Campus from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The program is being held in conjunction with the University’s Honors Colloquium, “Inequality and the American Dream.”

“We are going to have a conversation,” said McIntyre, chair of the Department of Economics, who along with Political Science Professor Maureen Moakley brought the first class of URI students to Cuba after U.S. President Barack Obama normalized relations with the country.

“I am going to ask him questions about Cuban economic inequality, particularly the periods before the revolution, during the revolution and after the pullout of the Soviet Union. I will ask him about inequality before the revolution, what the revolution tried to accomplish, and how the relationship with the United States affected those accomplishments. We’ll also talk about what has happened before and after the reopening of diplomatic relations with Cuba.”

McIntyre said, “one of the goals of the revolution of 1959 was to reduce inequality. In 1958, the poorest 40 percent of the country received only 6.5 percent of the country’s income, while the richest 5 percent received 26.5 percent. By 1978, the poorest 40 percent of the country received 24.8 percent of the country’s income, while the richest 5 percent received only 11 percent.

“Today, the new U.S. policy allows Cuban Americans to send money back to family members in Cuba. Most of them, though, are wealthier, white Cuban Americans living in Miami, and so we expect to see an economic divide develop between white and non-white Cubans,” McIntyre said.

“Even before the opening with the U.S., Cuba had decided to promote tourism,” McIntyre said. “With tourism becoming a more important part of the Cuban economy, it has also brought with it prostitution, gambling and drugs. One of the successes leaders of the revolution point to is that it virtually eliminated prostitution and other social problems.”

Since 1995, Miranda has spoken about many of Cuba’s most serious issues. These include the Cuban economy, the impacts of globalization, and structural adjustment policies in Latin America.

Miranda, a political philosopher at the Institute of Philosophy in Havana, has visited the University of Rhode Island twice before. This semester, Miranda is here for two months teaching two courses and working with McIntyre on some common research projects.

Olivia Ross, an intern in the Marketing and Communications Department at URI and public relations major, wrote this press release.