USF Sarasota-Manatee Seminar Looks At U.S. Relations With Cuba, Caribbean

Feb 21, 2018

Relations between the U.S. and Cuba are currently strained following a mysterious incident that injured two dozen American diplomatic personnel on the island. In addition, President Donald Trump reversed policies created by the Obama administration to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba.

A seminar taking place Thursday at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, “Cuba and the Caribbean: What Now?” will examine what's next for the region. 

"We're going to cover a variety of topics that are important to investors, entrepreneurs, travelers, anybody that may have an interest in Cuba or Caribbean affairs," said Shawn Ahearn, director of communications and marketing for USF Sarasota-Manatee. 

The closing session features a bipartisan discussion with Republican Congressman Carlos Curbelo, who serves Florida’s 26th Congressional District, and Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett, a Democrat who represents the U.S. Virgin Islands. It will be moderated by Ben White, a CNBC political correspondent and journalist from Politico.

Other speakers scheduled earlier are Vicki Huddleston, who served as U.S. Ambassador to Mali, and Stephen Kay, director of the Americas Center at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

"We've tried to bring in experts from around the country in a variety of topics and really set up a full, rich day of information-sharing," Ahearn said.

Topics will include the region’s history, the changing economic and political climate, potential investment opportunities and recovery efforts from last year’s hurricanes. 

"So there's a lot of different topics that can be covered," Ahearn said. "There's a lot of different people that are excited about the possibility of traveling to Cuba now that the borders are somewhat open and there's more opportunities in that area. Somebody that may just have family there and they're concerned about the state of affairs there (should attend)." 

Registration starts at 8 a.m., the cost to attend is $50. For more information, visit