Cuban Futures Conference

Council Chamber, TUC Congress House, Great Russell Street, London

Saturday, 3 October 2015, 9:30am

Cuban Futures 2015, Saturday 3 October, 9.30am-5pm
Council Chamber, TUC Congress House, Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3LS

[This Conference has sold out, but there are still tickets available for the Conference Dinner here]

Want to know what’s happening in Cuba and the reality behind the headlines on US-Cuba relations? Then you need to come to the Cuban Futures Conference for a Cuban perspective on what’s really happening in the country.

A great line up of speakers from Cuba, the UK and North America look set to make Cuban Futures the most important conference on Cuba in Britain this year.

The historic opening of Cuban and US embassies in Washington and Havana on 20 July 2015 marks the first step on a long road to normalisation of relations. But what does this mean for Cuba and Cubans living both on and outside the island? How can the two countries have normal relations while the US maintains its illegal blockade and continues to occupy Guantánamo Bay?

These are some of the thought-provoking questions that this one day conference will be asking and we have a great line up of speakers and experts to answer them.

As well as leading speakers form Cuba, the conference brings together other experts on the Cuban Revolution, economy, democracy, trade union rights, US-Cuba relations, and internationalism. Academics, politicians, diplomats, trade union leaders, journalists and authors, as well as Cubans living both in the country and those in the UK will discuss recent developments and the opportunities and threats they pose to the Cuban Revolution.

Cuban Futures Conference

Keynote speakers

Rafael Hernández (Cuba)
Rafael is the editor of Temas, the leading Cuban magazine in the social sciences and the humanities, which is renowned for its contribution to intellectual debate on the island. He is a senior research fellow at the Centro de Investigación de la Cultura Cubana Juan Marinello in Havana and is the author or editor of several books, including Cuba and the Caribbean and United States-Cuban Relations in the Nineties.

Arleen Rodriguez Derivet (Cuba)
Arleen is a prominent Cuban journalist and the Director of Mesa Redonda (Round Table) the most important discussion programme for analysis of national and international debates on Cuban TV, together with a weekly show on Telesur. A former member of the Cuban National Assembly, she has interviewed presidents and some of the most recognised personalities in the political and intellectual realm, inside and outside her country.

Dr Carlos Alzugaray TretoDr Carlos Alzugaray Treto (Cuba)
A former Cuban diplomat, internationally recognised political analyst and university lecturer. His last two diplomatic posts were advisor to the Foreign Minister of Global Political Affairs and Cuba’s ambassador to the European Union.

Her Excellency Teresita Vicente
Her Excellency Teresita Vicente (Cuba/UK)

Teresita is the current ambassador to Britain. Previously to this she was the Cuban ambassador in Canada and has worked in the Cuban Foreign Ministry.

Her Excellency Rocio Maniero (Venezuela/UK)
Rocio is the current Venezuelan ambassador to Britain.

Her Excellency Guisell Morales Echaverry (Nicaragua/UK)
Guisell is the current Nicaraguan ambassador to Britain.

Rt. Hon. Brian WilsonRt. Hon. Brian Wilson (UK)
A former Energy Minister and Labour MP from 1987-2005. Currently chairman of Havana Energy - which has secured the first ever joint venture to build power stations fuelled by biomass from sugar plantations.

Richard Burgon MP
Richard Burgon MP (UK)

Richard was elected MP for Leeds East at the May 2015 general election. He was formally a trade union lawyer and has is a supporter of progressive movements in Latin America.

Keith BolenderKeith Bolender (Canada)
Keith is a lecturer in journalism and the award winning author of two books on Cuba - Voices From the Other Side: An Oral History of Terrorism Against Cuba, and Cuba Under Siege:American Policy, the Revolution and its People.

Antoni Kapcia
Professor Antoni Kapcia (UK)
Antoni is a Professor of Latin American History and Director of the Centre for Research on Cuba, at the University of Nottingham. He has been researching and publishing on aspects of modern and contemporary Cuban history since 1971, his most recent book being Leadership in the Cuban Revolution: The Unseen Story (2014).

Dr Emily KirkDr Emily Kirk (UK)
Emily specialises in International Development and is a lecturer in US-Cuba relations and Cuban history at Nottingham University. Her research focuses on health and well-being in Cuba, with publications in areas including sexual diversity, human rights, medical internationalism and global health.

Dr Steve Ludlam (UK)
Steve is Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of Sheffield. He teaches contemporary Cuban and Latin American politics, visits Cuba regularly, and is a specialist in Cuban employment law. He is a member of the Cuba Research Forum, an editor of the International Journal of Cuban Studies, and an honorary member of the Faculty of Third Age Studies of the University of Havana and of the Cuban National Lawyers Union’s Labour Law section. He is co-editor of Reclaiming Latin America: Experiments in Radical Social Democracy and of Rightwing Politics in the New Latin America: Reaction and Revolt.

Professor Imti Choonara (UK)
Imti is one of the leading paediatric clinical pharmacologists in the world. His research interests include drug toxicity, clinical trials, epidemiology of the use of medicines, inequalities in child health and access to medicines in children. He is interested in international child health and organises an annual workshop in Child health in Cuba.

Lauren Collins (UK)
Lauren has carried out in depth research on democracy and participation in Cuba as part of her studies at Nottingham University.

Linda Perks (UK)
Linda is the London Regional Secretary for trade union Unison, and the Vice President of South East Region Trades Union Congress (SERTUC) who are joint hosts of Cuban Futures 2015.

Workshop themes

As well as plenary sessions exploring the issues making the headlines, workshops will explore underlying themes in more depth including; where exactly blockade legislation stands; how relations with Cuba can never be normalised until the US leaves Guantánamo; how US intervention in Cuban affairs has evolved over the years and how it might manifest itself in the future; the new Labour Code and challenges presented to the Cuban trade union movement by growing self employment, free trade zones, and US funding of ‘independent’ unions; Cuba’s participatory democracy - how does it work and what will the country look like after the 2018 elections when Raúl Castro stands down as President; the role in of ALBA and regional priorities and threats; defending the gains of the Revolution; and more.

What now for the solidarity movement?

What are the biggest threats now facing Cuba? How can the international solidarity movement support Cuba, end the blockade and build support for doing so? A key discussion at the conference will be to discuss the important role that international solidarity still has to play to end the blockade once and for all, and to publicise and help defend the gains of the Cuban Revolution.

CSC believes there is a need to counter the widespread misconception that the blockade is over and that Cuba is no longer under threat from US intervention. Whilst US methods may be changing, the objective of regime change and promoting US interests on the island remain the same. Solidarity activists need to be armed with up to date information to counter new attacks against Cuba both in the media, and the assertion from some commentators on the right and left that, with improving US relations, Cuba should somehow now be obliged to change its political and economic system to one more in keeping with US and European models.

With this in mind, briefing papers will be produced to accompany each session so that delegates have resources to take away and back to organisations or local groups. Full reports from the conference and each workshop will also be produced and made available online following the event.

All day tickets for the conference are now sold out, however we still have spaces at the Conference dinner.

Conference Dinner

Join us for a post conference fundraising dinner at TAS Turkish restaurant in the heart of Bloomsbury. The dinner will provide a relaxing atmosphere to meet informally with other delegates and conference speakers and listen to after dinner speeches. Tickets are £40 and include a Havana Club Rum welcome cocktail, a three course meal with wine, and after dinner tea or coffee. The meal offers a choice of five main course dishes including chicken, lamb, seafood, and vegetarian options.

Please book early to avoid disappointment as there are only limited places at the restaurant.

Book online today here Call 0207 490 5715 or email

Thanks to supporters

Ken Gill, SERTUC, and Nick Burdon

Cuban futures is organised by the Cuba Solidarity Campaign and South East Region TUC International Committee and supported by the Ken Gill Memorial Trust and the Nick Burdon and Denis Blockley Memorial Trust Fund.

With thanks also to:

ASLEF Feltham Electric Branch, Ben Armstrong, Community, CWU, El Societe Grande, GMB Scotland Region, GMB Yorkshire & N Derbyshire Region, Guiseppe Deiddaatzori, Hilary Ivesett, Miss C Howard, Nadia Ellis, Nick Burdon & Denis Blockley Memorial, Rosalind Brunt, RMT, TSSA,UCATT NW Region, Unison City of Sheffield, Unison Gateshead Health Branch, Unison Glasgow City Branch, Unison Hammersmith & Fulham, Unison International, Unison Monmouthshire County Branch, Unison Newcastle City Branch, Unison St Helens & Knowsley Health Branch, Unison West Midlands, Unite (Amicus) Bamber Bridge Branch, Unite Bolton & District Branch, Unite Brighton SE/6246 Branch, Unite Bristol Retired Members Branch, Unite Dartford & North Kent Branch, Unite East Midlands/DE17 Branch, Unite Flyde Coast Branch, Unite LE 1365 Stansted Airport, Unite LE2007 Branch, Unite London & Eastern Region, Unite National, Unite NE/GEO/1 Sheffield East Branch, Unite NE/GEO/29 Durham Geog, Unite NW Region, Unite Preston & S Ribble Branch (0522), Unite Rolls-Royce Coventry Branch, Unite Slough 6235, Unite Social Action Branch (Unite NW389), Unite Sudbury L/E 979 Branch, Unite Tyneside EEES Branch, Unite West Midlands 7685 Branch, Unite Yeovil SW/8007 Branch

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