Carmelo Mesa-Lago

Carmelo Mesa-Lago

Carmelo Mesa-Lago is Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Economics and Latin American Studies at the University of Pittsburgh.

Voices of Change in Cuba from the Non-State Sector

More than one million Cubans, representing thirty percent of the country’s labor force, currently make up the nonstate sector. These include self-employed workers and micro-entrepreneurs, sharecropping farmers, members of new cooperatives, and buyers and sellers of private dwellings. This development represents a crucial structural reform implemented by Raúl Castro since becoming Cuba’s leader in 2006, and may become the most dynamic economic force for the country’s future. Despite this phenomenon, little has been published about the demographic makeup of this group (age, gender, race, and education), as well as their economic conditions and aspirations.             Based on eighty in-depth interviews recently conducted in Cuba, this book captures actual voices from this evolving economic sector. It details workers’ level of satisfaction with what they do and earn, profits (and how they are allocated between consumption and investment), plans to expand their activities, receiving foreign remittances and microcredit, competition, forms of advertising, and payment of taxes. Perhaps most revealing are the speakers’ views on the obstacles they face and their desires for change and improvement. As such, the book offers fascinating insights into today’s Cuban economy from the nonstate sector, while also reflecting on its potential for development and the obstacles it faces.

Cuban Studies 20

Cuban Studies has been published annually by the University of Pittsburgh Press since 1985. Founded in 1970, it is tahe preeminent journal for scholarly work on Cuba. Each volume includes articles in both English and Spanish, a large book review section, and an exhaustive compilation of recent works in the field.

Cuban Studies 19

Essays in volume 19 approach the provocative issues of religion, freedom of literary expression, and women’s health care. The Catholic church in Cuba today is discussed in terms of its historic role, the current detente in its relations with the government, and the influence of national and international pressures. Protestantism in Cuba is represented by the experience of the Baptist church since Independence. The claim that official censorship toward Cuban artists and intellectuals has been relaxed is rebutted by charges that the situation has grown worse and that the mediocrity rules. U.S. opposition to the Cuban Revolution is interpreted as consistent with a century of North American involvement in Cuban affairs rather than a concern for U.S. national security. Finally, a discussion of health education for women argues that while public health has been greatly improved in Cuba, many myths about women and health remain and continue to shape gender attitudes.

Cuba After the Cold War

Ten original essays by an international team of scholars specializing in Cuba, the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and Latin America focus on the fall of communism in Europe and the transition to a market economy. Major themes of this study are the impact of the USSR's collapse on Cuba, how the historic events in Europe have affected the Central and South American Left, their implications to Cuba, Cuba's policies for confronting the crisis, and potential scenarios for the political and economic transformation of Cuba.

Cuba in the World

Since the 1970s, Cuba has greatly expanded its participation in world affairs. What changes in its leadership, economy, and armed forces explain this increased participation? How do Cuban ties with Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Africa, Israel, and the socialist countries reveal Cuban purposes and affect U.S.-Cuban rapprochement? Cuba in the World addresses these and other important questions in the most comprehensive and authoritative review of Cuban foreign policies since the Revolution.

Social Security in Latin America

Pressure Groups, Stratification, and Inequality

A comprehensive and sophisticated study of the relationship between social security policy and inequality in Latin America. Individual case studies of Chile, Uruguay, Peru, Argentina, and Mexico are presented, that provide a historical analysis of each country's social security policy, the pressure groups involved, the present structure of the systems, and a statistical examination of the inequality among these pressure groups.

Comparative Socialist Systems

Essays on Politics and Economics

“The editors have merged work from two disciplines, economics and political science; in a summary conclusion, a sociologist suggests possible extensions in the comparison of socialist systems for the future. . . . contributes generously to the field.”—Slavic Review