LASA Congress Concludes in New York

New York, May 30 (Prensa Latina) The 34th Congress of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA) will conclude here on Monday, after four days of debates, lectures and academic meetings on the region and its challenges.

Hundreds of researchers and experts in Latin America’s situation have gathered at the New York Hilton Midtown since last Friday to analyze political, cultural and economic issues such as integration, inclusive development, poverty, identity, the impact of neoliberalism, the situation of the left wing and relations with the United States.

Like in previous meetings of LASA, an organization founded 50 years ago and made up of about 12,000 members, Cuba was the issue that raised most expectations at the 2016 forum, with the incentive of a new Havana-Washington scenario after the reestablishment of diplomatic relations last year. In statements to Prensa Latina, Lisandro Perez, co-president of the Cuba Section of the Association, pointed out that more than 90 panels dealt about Cuba-related issues.

According to the experts, the reestablishment of relations between the two countries must help to further boost the academic contacts that have taken place since the 1970s.

Perez, a professor of Cuban origin at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, highlighted the importance of exchanges among experts on Cuba who live in the country and abroad.

For her part, Milagros Martinez, a co-president and researcher at the University of Havana, noted the record presence of 250 Cuban scholars at a LASA congress, although the United States denied visas to some 50 experts.

The Cuban professor described the world’s largest professional organization as a bridge, and noted that the new scenario between Havana and Washington must contribute to academic rapprochement.

Martinez told Prensa Latina that the Cuba issue raises intense debates, both in the country and abroad, given the update of the island’s economic model, the Latin American context and the resumption of relations with the United States.

Over the weekend, several events were held with high participation by delegates at the 34th LASA Congress, including a session on the achievements in Cuba-US relations, which was attended by Cuban Foreign Ministry top official Josefina Vidal and Ambassadors Jose Ramon Cabañas and Jeffrey DeLaurentis.

On Sunday, Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis took the floor to speak about regional integration.

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