The Cuba Initiative is a project of cooperation between the Václav Havel Program for Human Rights and Democracy at Florida International University and the Inspire America Foundation, a non-profit educational and charitable institution based in Miami. There are several other collaborating institutions: International Platform for Human Rights in Cuba, the Václav Havel Library in Prague, the Václav Havel Library Foundation in New York, Post Bellum Foundation, the Center on Global Economic Governance at Columbia University in New York, and the list of partners at the Cuba Initiative is still growing.

The Cuba Initiative is a project dedicated to the research, exploration, and dissemination of alternatives for Cuba’s future as it transitions toward a more democratic system. It aims to engage the United States, the international community, and Cuban democrats in an ongoing dialogue about the possibilities for Cuba’s future. It speaks directly to the Václav Havel Program for Human Rights and Democracy’s goal of creating opportunities for conversation and exchange about democratic transitions, utilizing in the first place the transformations of Central European countries —Václav Havel’s home turf— after the fall of communism as its experiential basis, both good and bad, for seeking and promoting viable paths to Cuba’s democratic future.

Seen from the FIU institutional perspective

The Cuba Initiative should have a beneficial effect on FIU’s goals of maintaining its Carnegie “Highest Research Activity” designation. Its mission is to serve as a unique platform for scholarly research on both Cuban studies and on the current position of Cuba, as it stands poised to move toward a transition in its governance systems.

One of the principal aims of the Cuba Initiative is to offer FIU students the opportunity to engage and learn from researchers and practitioners associated with this project through presentations and lectures and by interacting with them to create their own, unbiased, responsible and informed point of view.

The Cuba Initiative, embedded in the Václav Havel Program for Human Rights and Democracy, is not the only research project being implemented at FIU in this field. It provides collaborative opportunities for other units existing within the FIU family —like CasaCuba, the Cuban Research Institute (CRI), and the Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC)— and allows these units to further their research and scholarly exchange opportunities about the Cuban transition.

Main focus areas

The Cuba Initiative focuses on five main areas:

  1. International diplomacy
  2. Economics
  3. Law
  4. Cuba in its larger historical context
  5. Voices of Cuban independent civil society

Forms of work

  • Planning of events (conferences, seminars, public discussions, on-site or virtual) focused on the five topics mentioned above.
    Access full recordings of some of our most recent webinars

  • Promotion of research and procurement of articles and studies and, based on that, publication of a concise volume for both scholars and practitioners, sharing research findings and analyses of alternatives for Cuba.
    Access the works produced as part of the Cuba Initiative

  • A substantive part of the mission of the project also revolves around diplomacy, both public and discrete, with the objective to help facilitate dialogue and create effective channels of communication between policy makers operating in the realm of the international community (especially within the triangle of the United States, Latin American democracies and the European Union), to achieve our fundamental goal: to assist Cubans to bring their country on the path of democracy.