Following controversy UM postpones event but the drive for engagement with the Castro regime continues.
UM’s drive to engage with the Castro dictatorship continues.
The University of Miami has been under a cloud of controversy following the announcement that the Institute for Cuban and Cuban American Studies (ICCAS) would be closed, then back tracked that it would remain open with a new director. Furthermore that the founding director Professor Jaime Suchlicki was not retiring but resigning in protest over the direction Cuba Studies would take under the new UM President, Julio Frenk.
As the weeks go by the claims made by Professor Suchlicki’s about the University of Miami going in a different direction that requires placating the dictatorship in Cuba becomes more evident. The University of Miami has produced a so-called “special report” Cuba and the Caribbean that has a clear editorial line and a slanted poll that makes no mention of human rights or dissidents.
ICCAS had a track record of serious scholarship that debunked Castro regime propaganda and opened its doors to Cuban dissidents from the island. This included important studies and books on the nature of health care and education in Cuba that no doubt irritated the Cuban dictatorship. The shuttering of ICCAS and replacement of the entire faculty of the the institute is troubling and an assault on academic freedom, but makes sense if the priority is having a relationship with the communist regime in Cuba that does not tolerate critical academic inquiry. Dr. Suchlicki resigned from the University of Miami but continues his highly respected academic inquiry into Cuba at the new Cuban Studies Institute, along Jose Azel and Pedro Roig, faculty who were also forced out of ICCAS despite their academic credentials and numerous publications.
One would hope that a serious academic institution would challenge communist propaganda in an academic setting with an exchange of differing views with the goal of getting at the existing reality. Unfortunately what had been planned at the Department of Public Health Science at the University of Miami was a one sided presentation by Professor Roberto C. Villafranca, MD, MS, PhD of the University of Medical Sciences in Matanzas, Cuba. The flier reproduced below is an uncritical repetition of Castro government propaganda. There is plenty of evidence that the Cuban Public Health System has serious problems that are not reported in the official statistics provided.
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