2016 Cuba experts list

FIU, located in the heart of Miami’s Cuban-American community, has a wide array of experts on Cuba and the U.S.-Cuba policy. Many of them are available for interviews in English and Spanish.

Members of the FIU Media Relations team are available to assist in contacting experts:

  • Maydel Santana-Bravo, director: 305-348-1555, santanam@fiu.edu
  • Madeline Baró, assoc. director: 305-310-9665, mbaro@fiu.edu
  • Dianne Fernandez, broadcast media specialist: 305-608-4870, dfernand37@fiu.edu
  • Amy Ellis, communications manager, Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs: 305-348-5360, amy.ellis@fiu.edu

Jorge Duany
Jorge Duany is director of the Cuban Research Institute and a professor of anthropology. Before coming to FIU, he served as acting dean of the College of Social Sciences and professor of anthropology at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras. He previously served as director of UPR’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology and director of the journal Revista de Ciencias Sociales. He earned his Ph.D. in Latin American Studies, specializing in anthropology, at the University of California, Berkeley. He also holds an M.A. in social sciences from the University of Chicago and a B.A. in psychology from Columbia University. Duany has published extensively on migration, ethnicity, race, nationalism, and transnationalism in the Caribbean and the United States. He is available for Spanish language interviews.
305-348-7274 (Office)

Frank Mora
Frank Mora is the director of the Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center. Prior to coming to FIU, Mora served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Western Hemisphere. During the last twenty years Mora worked as a consultant to the Library of Congress, U.S. Department of the Air Force, Department of the Army, the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), the National Democratic Institute, U.S. State Department, the Organization of American States, and U.S. Southern Command. Mora is the author or editor of five books and numerous academic and policy articles, book chapters, and monographs on hemispheric security, U.S.-Latin American relations, civil-military relations, Cuban politics and military, and Latin American foreign policy. He is a recipient of the Outstanding Public Service Award, Department of Defense (2011). He is available for Spanish language interviews.
305-348-2894 (Office)

Eduardo Gamarra
Political science Professor Eduardo Gamarra has done research on the regional dynamics of Latin America, including Cuba’s role. As an expert on Bolivia and the Andean region, he has followed closely the alliances formed by the Castro brothers, Bolivian President Evo Morales and Venezuelan leaders. 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. He is available for Spanish language interviews.
305-348-1718 (Office)
786-253-4898 (Cell)

Guillermo Grenier
Sociology Professor Guillermo Grenier has been one of the lead researchers in charge of the FIU Cuba Poll FIU, which he has been conducting since 1991. The poll measures the attitudes and opinions of Cuban-Americans in South Florida on issues ranging from their support for the U.S. embargo, to their party preference. In addition to the poll, he 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. He is available for Spanish language interviews.
305-348-3217 (Office)
305-388-6469 (Home)

Brian Fonseca
Brian Fonseca is director of the Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy at FIU’s Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs. He joined FIU after serving as the senior research manager for socio-cultural analysis at United States Southern Command. Fonseca can address the role and importance of the Cuban military, as well as political and international relations matters related to Cuba and the region.
305-348-7420 (Office)
305-218-6323 (Cell)

Brian Latell
Brian Latell is an adjunct professor at the Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy who served 35 years with the CIA and National Intelligence Council, advising the White House and Congress on Latin American and the Caribbean. He frequently advised U.S. and foreign government policy making organizations and leaders, including presidents and ministers. He has authored several books on Cuba and Fidel Castro, including History Will Absolve Me: Fidel Castro: Life and Legacy (2016), Castro’s Secrets: Cuban Intelligence, the CIA and the Assassination of John F. Kennedy (2012), and After Fidel: Raul Castro and the Future of Cuba’s Revolution (2005). Before coming to FIU, he taught Latin America and American foreign policy at Georgetown University and was a Senior Research Associate in Cuba studies at the University of Miami.
305-348-2977 (Office)

Randy Pestana
Randy Pestana serves as a Policy Analyst at FIU’s Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy, where he is tasked with coordinating the Academic-Defense partnership with U.S. Southern Command. Mr. Pestana specializes in International Relations with major focuses on U.S. Foreign Policy, Security Studies, and Electoral Politics. The majority of his work has been linked to Governance and Security, with a particular focus on democratic institutions, national security strategy, civil-military relations, and rule of law.  Mr. Pestana also serves as an Adjunct Professor for FIU’s Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs and FIU’s Honors College. Mr. Pestana holds a M.A. in Latin American and Caribbean Studies with a Graduate Certificate in National Security Studies from FIU. He is available for Spanish language interviews.
305-348-0114 (Office)

Hugh Gladwin
Hugh Gladwin, associate professor in FIU’s Department of Global and Sociocultural Studies, has been one of the lead researchers of the FIU Cuba Poll since 1991. The poll’s 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.
305-348-7420 (Office)

Michael Bustamante
Michael J. Bustamante is assistant professor of Latin American history, specializing in modern Cuba, Cuban America and the Caribbean. Bustamante previously served as a research associate for Latin America Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C. He comments frequently on contemporary Cuban and Cuban-American affairs for publications like Foreign Affairs and media outlets like Al-Jazeera America. Since 2013, he has served as a study leader the Smithsonian Institution’s people-to-people trips to Cuba.
305-348-2035 (Office)

Danielle Clealand
Dr. Clealand received her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Political Science, an M.A. from New York University in Latin American and Caribbean Studies and a B.A. from Tufts University in International Relations. Her research focuses on comparative racial politics, racial ideology, nationalism, group consciousness and racial attitudes throughout the Americas. Dr. Clealand is finishing work on her book manuscript, Uncovering the Power of Race: Racial Ideology and Black Consciousness in Contemporary Cuba. Uncovering the Power of Race examines the social norms with regard to race that the Cuban Revolution’s racial ideology has created. Dr. Clealand has taught courses such as Caribbean Politics, Black Politics in the Americas, Latin American Politics and Race and Politics in the United States. Before joining the faculty at Florida International University, she was a visiting fellow at the Center for African American Studies at Princeton University. She is available for Spanish language interviews.
305-348-3295 (Office)

Sebastian Arcos
Sebastian Arcos is the assistant director of the Cuban Research Institute. Arco’s father and uncle were active participants in Castro’s revolutionary movement and briefly held important governmental positions, but were soon disillusioned by the new regime’s totalitarian nature. His entire family was arrested and sent to prison for attempting to leave Cuba illegally in 1981. In 1987 he joined the Cuban Committee for Human Rights (CCPDH), the first independent Cuban human rights organization, and was part of the CCPDH team who met with the Special Group from the UN Commission on Human Rights who visited the island in 1988.  He was finally allowed to leave Cuba in 1992.  For three consecutive years (1995, 1996, 1997) Sebastian was part of the Freedom House delegation to the U.N. Human Rights Commission in Geneva, Switzerland.  He later advised the U.S. Department of State on issues concerning human rights in Cuba between 1998 and 2000. He is available for Spanish language interviews.
305-348-7250 (Office)
305-431-4576 (Mobile)

Juan Carlos Gómez
Juan Carlos Gómez is director of the Carlos A. Costa Immigration and Human Rights Clinic. He has been defending the rights of individuals in immigration matters for the last twenty years. During this time, he has represented persons before the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, the United States Departments of Justice and Homeland Security in complex immigration matters. Within the field of immigration law, he has helped thousands of individuals in situations including removal and deportation proceedings, family immigration, and the transfer of professionals and executives to the United States. Mr. Gómez counsels international and national corporations on compliance with immigration laws. He also has coordinated teams of attorneys in multi-forum conflicts to effectively resolve clients’ problems. As an attorney for a Central American Refugee Project, he coordinated the representation of thousands individuals in the Southeastern United States in a national class action. He has represented refugees from every part of the world where there have been conflicts over the last two decades. As director of East Little Havana Legal Services, he led a team of attorneys to resolve the series of problems faced by clients in a holistic manner. Mr. Gómez is a highly sought out attorney by other immigration attorneys for consultation on complex matters. In addition to having taught at a law school, he frequently lectures on immigration matters before professional organizations.
305-348-3179 (Office)

Pedro A. Freyre
Pedro Freyre is an adjunct professor at FIU’s College of Law and is member FIU’s President’s Council. Freyre is also a nationally recognized authority on the U.S. Embargo on Cuba. He advises U.S.-based companies on the types of business transactions that are legal in Cuba under the U.S. embargo, helps U.S. entities that are engaged in authorized activities in connection with entering the Cuban market and advises foreign entities that are involved in Cuba business on implications with U.S. law. As chair of Akerman Senterfitt’s International Practice, Freyre also focuses extensively on inbound foreign investment in the U.S. and outbound U.S. investment in Latin America. His work includes project construction and financing involving governmental and private entities in Latin America, Europe, and Africa, acquisitions and dispositions, environmental regulation, international transactions, cross-border due diligence, insurance regulation, and corporate representation. He regularly provides compliance counseling and training in connection with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). He is available for Spanish language interviews.

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’s capital markets in the 1990s. He has also published two books on Cuba and has a third coming out this fall from Transaction Press. He is available for Spanish language interviews.
305-348-3283 (Office)
305-915-0063 (Mobile)

Jose Gabilondo
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. He is available for Spanish language interviews.
305-348-5943 (Office)
305-710-5656 (Mobile)

Jorge Luis Esquirol
Esquirol teaches international law, comparative law and commercial law at FIU.  He has a doctoral degree in law (S.J.D.) from Harvard Law School, focusing on Latin American legal systems. Professor Esquirol is fluent in English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish.
305-348-8343 (Office)

Marifeli Perez-Stable
A professor of sociology in the Department of Global & Sociocultural Studies in the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs, Marifeli Pérez-Stable has published widely on Cuban and Latin American politics. Most recently, she authored “The United States and Cuba: Intimate Enemies” (2011) and The Cuban RevolutionOrigins, Course, and Legacy,” 3rd edition (2012). Her opinion pieces have appeared in El País (Spain), El Clarín (Argentina), Financial Times (UK),  Excelsior (Mexico), El Nuevo Herald, and The Miami Herald. From 2004 to 2009, she served as vice president for democratic governance at the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington, D.C. She chaired the Task Force on Memory, Truth, and Justice which issued the 2003 report, “Cuban National Reconciliation.” She is available for Spanish language interviews.  For more information, visit http://MarifeliPerez-Stable.com.
305-348-2258 (Office)
305-793-8974 (Mobile)

Brian Fonseca
Brian Fonseca is director of the Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy at FIU’s Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs. With nearly 20 years’ experience in military affairs, Fonseca served as a defense intelligence analyst at United States Southern Command. His work focuses on general security trends and he has published on transnational organized crime, extra hemispheric actors (China, Russia, and Iran), institutional crisis in Latin America (prisons, police, and militaries), political instability and governance in the Americas.
305-348-7420 (Office)
305-218-6323 (Cell)

Ana Roca
Ana Roca is a professor of Spanish and Linguistics in the Department of Modern Languages. Roca’s research interests include Spanish in the United States, problems in language learning, language planning, Spanish-English bilingualism, sociolinguistics, and Spanish applied linguistics. Specifically, she is interested in sociolinguistic and pedagogical issues related to U.S. Spanish language and culture, the teaching of Spanish as a heritage language, and foreign language education policy issues. She is available for Spanish language interviews.
305-562-8397 (Cell)

Ediberto Román
Ediberto Román is a law professor with an interest in immigration law and reform. He is a nationally-acclaimed scholar and award-winning educator with broad teaching interests and an extensive scholarship portfolio. Before entering academia, he specialized in securities and antitrust litigation at several Wall Street law firms. He is available for Spanish language interviews.
305-348-2444 (Office)

Juan Antonio Bueno
Juan Antonio Bueno is professor of landscape architecture at FIU. He is a registered landscape architect and professional engineer in Florida. Academically, his research focuses on the South Florida landscapes, the Spanish patio and cloister, and the natural and cultural landscapes of Havana, including the research, planning and design project for the urban region of Havana and its landscapes.
305-348-0003 (Office)

John H. Thomas
John H. Thomas was a practicing maritime attorney in Miami, Florida for more than 30 years before joining the FIU faculty in 2009.  He teaches hospitality and tourism law courses at the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. He is co-author of the article, “Future Hospitality and Tourism Business in Cuba: Opportunities and Obstacles,” accepted for publication in the Cornell Hospitality Reports. His principal interests include cruise lines, environmental protection, business organizations and labor issues in the development of tourism in Cuba.
305-919-4544 (Office)

Andrea Jean Queeley
Ana Jean Queeley is a  professor in the Department of Global and Sociocultural Studies program. Queeley’s research interests include Caribbean migration, Cuba, African diaspora, race, social inequality, black popular culture and anthropological fieldwork. Specifically, her research concerns African Diasporic subject formation, migration and the negotiation of globalized structural inequalities. Situating these processes within the specificities of national and international political moments, she explores questions of social hierarchy and diversity within the African diaspora. She is particularly interested in the social and economic conditions under which racialized subjects assert their cultural identities and how such assertions shift over time. Queeley has conducted research in eastern Cuba among people of English-speaking Caribbean descent in which she explores narratives of “jamaicano” identity and the reemergence of Anglophone Caribbean institutions during Cuba’s Special Period. She has also conducted research in the urban United States ans is intrigued by the extent to which racialized categories are disrupted and/or reinforced by the globalization and mass consumption of multi-rooted black popular culture.
305-348-6289 (Office)

Grenville Draper 
Grenville Draper, a professor in the Department of Earth and Environment, has studied the geology and tectonics of the Greater Antilles, including Cuba, for more than 30 years. His research focuses on how movements of that part of the Earth’s crust relates to the development of mineral 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 100 articles and books. He is available for Spanish language interviews.
305-348-3087 (Office)

Jennifer Gebelein
Geographer Jennifer Gebelein is an affiliated research professor in the Department of Earth and Environment. Since 2002 the Cuban Research Institute has awarded her three grants to travel to Cuba to conduct her research assessing land cover and land use change through time. She conducts analyses on how various factors like deforestation, logging and mining activities are impacting the environment on the island. Her field research culminated in the book publication titled: “A Geographic Perspective of Cuban Landscapes,” published by Springer Press in December 2012.  More recently she has also published an article in Springer’s “Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics” titled “Cuban Agriculture”, which is a brief and more focused review of how agricultural practices have changed in Cuba.
305-348-1859 (Office)

Javier Francisco-Ortega
Javier Francisco-Ortega is a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences with an interest in the Caribbean and has conducted research projects with members of the Caribbean Botanical Gardens for Conservation network. The network  includes Cuban colleagues from the Instituto de Ecología y Sistemática and the Jardín Botánico Nacional. His laboratory is located in Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. He is available for Spanish language interviews.
305-348-2080 (Office)