Questions about Cuba? FIU experts have answers!

Located in the heart of Miami’s Cuban-American community, Florida International University is a hub for research that encompasses all aspects of the Cuban experience, on and off the island.

For questions or assistance in contacting any of the following experts, please call the Office of Media Relations:

Maydel Santana-Bravo: 305-348-1555,
Yusila Ramirez: 305-348-2716,
Madeline Baro: 305-348-2234,


Juan Carlos Espinosa
786-218-9518 (Mobile)
Associate Dean and Fellow of the Honors College, Juan Carlos Espinosa, is a political scientist by training specializing in comparative politics, civil-military relations, and Latin American issues. He has published works on numerous topics, including “Problems of Post Communism” and “Cuba In Transition.” He recently completed a manuscript on the emergence of state and civil society in Cuba, and is currently conducting research on the potential role of the Cuban military in a regime transition.

Marifeli Perez-Stable
305-793-8974 (Mobile)
Sociology Professor Marifeli Perez-Stable, chaired the Task Force on Memory, Truth, and Justice, a project funded by the Ford foundation. The task force issued the report Cuban National Reconciliation, in April 2003. She is vice president for democratic governance at the Inter-American Dialogue and is an editorial contributor to The Miami Herald and its Spanish language sister paper el Nuevo Herald, El País (Spain), El Clarín (Argentina), and Excelsior (Mexico). She is the author of “The Cuban Revolution: Origins, Course, and Legacy” and “Cuba en el Siglo XXI: Ensayos sobre la transición.:

Antonio Jorge
305-854-9801 (Home)
305-335-4872 (Mobile)
Professor emeritus of political economy, Antonio Jorge, is a former vice minister of finance for the Cuban government and chief economist for the Cuban National Association of Manufacturers. Jorge was also president of the Collegium of Cuban Economists in Cuba from 1960-1961. He has written and edited more than 20 books and dozens of monographs and other academic papers on issues ranging from Latin America’s external debt, to ethics and economics and the Cuban economy.


Sebastian Arcos
305-431-4576 (Mobile)
Sebastian Arcos, a former Cuban political prisoner, has testified several times before the U.N. Human Rights Commission in Geneva, Switzerland. He joined the Cuban Committee for Human Rights (CCPDH), the first independent Cuban human rights organization, in 1987. Arcos is in charge of community outreach at FIU’s Department of International Studies. His father, Sebastian Arcos Bergnes, and uncle, Gustavo Arcos Bergnes, were close collaborators of Fidel Castro, and soon after 1959 became prominent leaders of the democratic opposition against his regime. Sebastian Sr. died in Miami in 1997 as a result of an illness developed while in prison. Gustavo passed away this summer in Havana.


Damian Fernandez
International Relations Professor Damian Fernandez is the director of the Cuban Research Institute at FIU’s Latin American and Caribbean Center (LACC). Prof. Fernandez’s research interests include Cuban politics and international relations of Latin America. He studies the role of emotions in politics. His books include “Cuba and the Politics of Passion” and edited “Cuba Transnational” and co-edited anthology on Cuban national identity. In recent years he has conducted research in Cuba, Brazil, Peru, Honduras, Panama and several Caribbean countries.

Guillermo Grenier
305-388-6469 (Home)
Sociology Professor Guillermo Grenier has been one of the lead investigators in charge of the Cuba Poll FIU has been conducting since 1991. The poll measures the attitudes and opinions of Cuban-Americans in South Florida in issues raging from their support for the embargo, to their party preference. In addition to the poll, Prof. Grenier is the author of books such as “Miami Now: Immigration, Ethnicity and Social Change;” “Legacy of Exile: Cubans in the United States;” and “This Land is Our Land: Newcomers and Established Residents in Miami,” in which he is a co-author. He has also written numerous articles on labor and ethnic issues in the United States.

Hugh Gladwin
305-608-9961 (Mobile)
Hugh Gladwin, director of the Institute for Public Opinion Research at FIU’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, has conducted polls on the political opinions of Cuban-Americans dating back to 1991. The polls questions range from whether exiles would consider going back to Cuba, to their attitudes on the United States Embargo on the island. Gladwin is professor of sociology and anthropology and concentrates on statistical analysis of opinions and political trends. His work also includes analysis of sociological impacts of hurricanes and consumer preferences. The 2004 Cuba Poll is available at The next edition of the Poll is expected in the spring of 2007.

Lisandro Perez
305 348-3344
Sociology Professor Lisandro Pérez, founded FIU’s Cuban Research Institute in 1991 and served as its director until 2003. From 1991 to 1992 he directed a project funded by the U.S. Department of State on the Cuban transition. He has also served as the editor of the journal Cuban Studies and is the co-author of the book “The Legacy of Exile: Cubans in the United States.” During the 2004-2005 academic year Pérez was a fellow at the Center for Scholars and Writers of the New York Public Library, where he carried out research for his current writing project, a book on the Cuban community in New York City during the nineteenth century.


Eduardo Gamarra
786-253-4898 (Mobile)
Political Science Professor Eduardo Gamarra has done research on the regional dynamics of Latin America, including Cuba’s role. As an expert in Bolivia and the Andean region, he has followed closely the alliances formed by Fidel Castro, Bolivian President Evo Morales and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Gamarra has also studied drug trafficking in the Caribbean and the effects of American policies in the regional dynamics. He has testified in front of the U.S. Congress several times and is the author of more than half a dozen books and more than forty academic articles on Latin America.


Dario Moreno
305-444-2874 (Mobile)
Political Science Professor Dario Moreno is the director of FIU’s Metropolitan Center. He conducts research on Cuban-American politics, Miami politics and Florida politics. He is a contributing editor to the Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy. He has also conducted extensive research in Central America, including the region’s relationship with Fidel Castro’s regime. He has been a Pew Scholar at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a Fulbright scholar in Costa Rica.


Alex Stepick
Anthropologist, Alex Stepick, is the director of the Immigration and Ethnicity Institute and a professor of Anthropology and Sociology at FIU. He has been conducting research on the impact of immigration in Miami for the past 20 years. As an author, he has published several articles on Cuban immigration and co-authored “City on the Edge,” a book on how immigration has changed Miami. Stepick received his B.A in Anthropology at the University of California at Santa Cruz and his Ph.D. in Social Sciences at the University of California Irvine. He had his postdoctoral fellowship at Duke University and was a visiting professor at the Johns Hopkins University and a Fulbright Fellow in Mexico.


Jose Gabilondo
305- 348-5943
305-710-5656 (Mobile)
Law Professor Jose Gabilondo, has done research on the Cuban Central Bank, expropriation claims settlements, and foreign investment in Cuba. Gabilondo has conducted field research in Havana and Santiago, Cuba. He has also worked with the U.S. Treasury and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and has studied the impact of the research travel bans to Cuba.

Antonio Jorge
305-854-9801 (Home)
305-335-4872 (Mobile)
Professor emeritus of political economy, Antonio Jorge, is a former vice minister of finance for the Cuban government and chief economist for the Cuban National Association of Manufacturers. Jorge was also president of the Collegium of Cuban Economists in Cuba from 1960-1961. He has written and edited more than 20 books and dozens of monographs and other academic papers on issues ranging from Latin America’s external debt, to ethics and economics and the Cuban economy.

Jorge Salazar-Carrillo
Economics Professor Jorge Salazar-Carrillo is director of FIU’s Center of Economic Research. Salazar is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a consultant for both the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). His areas of interest include economic integration, international trade and finance and labor economics. He has conducted research on Venezuela’s oil sector and Latin America’ss capital markets in the 1990s.


Uva de Aragón
305-553-8084 (Home)
786-877-9016 (Mobile)
Professor Uva de Aragón, is associate director of the Cuban Research Institute, has had an active role on academic relations with Cuba. In 2004, she took a group of students to Cuba as part of a class she teaches on the humanities in Cuba. Aragón, also a poet and fiction writer, served as assistant editor for Cuban Studies from 1998 to 2004 and has published extensively in newspapers, magazines and journals.


John Virtue
305-865-2399 (Home)
John Virtue is the director of the International Media Center. One of the center’s projects trains independent journalists in Cuba to understand news judgment, journalistic ethics and how to write for an external audience. Virtue has taught some of these courses on the island itself and worked with several independent journalists who since have been jailed for practicing their profession. Virtue is a former foreign correspondent for United Press International in Brazil, Venezuela and Mexico. Before joining FIU in 1989, Virtue was executive editor of El Mundo newspaper in San Juan, Puerto Rico.


Juan Martínez
Art Historian, Juan Martínez is the director of the Art and Art History Department. In the fall of 2007 he will publish a book on modern Cuban painter Carlos Enriquez. Martínez is currently working on Cuban-American artist Maria Brito. In addition to his numerous published works, he has been the curator of Cuban art exhibits at Lowe Art Museum and the Wolfson Art Gallery. Martínez received his M.A. and Ph.D in Art History from Florida State University where his dissertation was titled “Cuban Art and National Identity, The vanguardia Painters: 1920 – 1940’s”


Nicolas Quintana
786-263-0111 (Home)
Architecture Professor Nicolas Quintana, is the director of the project Havana and its Landscapes, currently underway at FIU’s School of Architecture. The project’s goal is to create a series of rural, urban, environmental and architectural guidelines that would protect the city’s character during the transition period, while still addressing critical issues such as the acute housing shortage the city suffers. Prof. Quintana, who specializes in urbanism, has collaborated closely with architects of the caliber Charles-Edouard Jeanneret, widely known as Le Corbusier, and Walter Adolph Gropius.

Eudel Eduardo Cepero
Environmental scientist Eudel Eduardo Cepero, is a research analyst with the FIU Applied Research Center at Florida International University. Cepero has done work focusing on Cuba and its environment. From 2005 to 2006 he was an environmental consulting associate for the Havana and its Landscapes Project, which is researching Havana’s environmental issues and evaluating potential impact of projects. He has published two opinion pieces in el Nuevo Herald: “El Exxon Valdez de Castro” and “La isla del desierto.”

Grenville Draper
Professor in the Department of Earth Sciences, Grenville Draper, has studied the geology tectonics of the Greater Antilles, including Cuba, for more then 30 years. His research focuses on how movements of that part of the Earth’s crust relates to the development of minerals resources and seismic activity. Draper made his first visit to Cuba in 1989 and helped organize the 13th Caribbean Geological conference that was held in Pinar del Rio in 1992. As the leader of the International Geological Correlation Project 364, he facilitated international field workshops, some of which were in Cuba, involving scientists from the Caribbean. Draper is the author of more than 80 articles and books.

Jennifer Gebelein
Geographer, Jennfer Gebelein, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of International Relations. For several years she has focused on Cuba’s geography. Since 2002 the Cuban Research Institute has awarded her three grants to travel to Cuba to conduct her research. With the Geographic Information Systems spatial data she conducts analyses on how various factors like water quality, sediment transports, logging and mining activities might be adversely impacting the environment on the island. She received her M.A in marine affairs from the University of Miami and her Ph.D. in geography from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Gebelein is currently finishing her first book “A Naturalist’s Perspective of Cuba.”


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