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.

Cuban Studies 18

Essays in volume 18 include discussions of Cuba’s approach to the Latin American debt crisis, its two-century-old race problem and its impact on Cuba’s relations with Africa, differences between urban and rural living conditions and development, and the recent housing situation in Cuba. Examinations of scholarly research include a survey of major historical works on Cuba ofver the past twenty-five years and an analysis of how the revolution has affected the scholar’s craft and access to manuscripts and archives. The Debate section features comments on discussions in Cuban Studies 17 of sex and gender relations in today’s Cuba, as well as the ongoing issue of Cuba’s economic planning and management system.

Cuban Studies 17

The feature section of Cuban Studies 17 focuses on gender inequality. Topics include ideological limitations on the study of gender, women as workers in pre- and postrevolutionary Cuba and as emigres in the United States, and female characters in Cuban novels, 1950-1967. A section on Afro-Cubanism explores the African ethnologic and linguistic roots of Cuban blacks and includes a literary analysis of Fernando Ortiz’s Los negros brujos. Research Notes describes an opinion survey on U.S. policy toward Cuba in the House of Representatives and the relation between size and efficiency in Cuban sugar mills. The discussion began in Cuban Studies 16 of Cuba’s economic planning and management system is continued in the Debate section.

Cuban Studies 16

This is the first volume of Cuban Studies as an annual book publication; it was previously published as a journal by the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Latin American Studies. A special collection of articles, edited by Enrico Mario Santi, focuses on the emergence of Cuban identity and nationality. Others discuss the impact of Cuba’s new economic planning system since 1976 and the problems facing joint ventures in Cuba, while the concept of “Cubanology” is scrutinized in a spirited interchange of ideas in the Debate section.

Do Options Exist ?

The Reform of Pension and Health Care Systems in Latin America

This timely volume brings together specialists on the reform of social security systems to analyze the similarities and differences of those health care and pension reforms that have taken place since the early 1990s and suggests possible gains through recent or contemplated revisions to those systems.

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.

Ascent to Bankruptcy

Financing Social Security in Latin America

In 1990, Carmelo Mesa-Lago, the foremost authority on social security in Latin America, concluded that all of the region's programs were imperiled, especially those in the most advanced nations. His study of twenty countries, originally sponsored by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America, critically reviews major financial problems, low and uneven population coverage, erosion in benefits, increasing costs, and the impact of social security on development.

In words that eerily echo current U.S. debates, Mesa-Lago analyzes virtually all social insurance programs: old age, disability and survivors' pensions; health care; occupational hazards; family allowances; and unemployment. For social security specialists, this impressive study will serve as a comprehensive regional handbook on the legal, administrative, and financial features of Latin America's programs. Students of comparative policy and applied economics will find Mesa-Lago's methodology, analytical framework, and policy recommendations invaluable.

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

Revolutionary Change in Cuba

Cuba has been transformed more radically within one decade than almost any society in recent history. Yet the Cuban Revolution is poorly understood abroad because of its physical and political isolation, the controversies between adherents of the old and new regimes, and the murky skirmishes of the cold war.This collection of essays is a comprehensive and authoritative study of almost all major aspects of socialist Cuba. It draws together the talents of the ablest group of Cuban specialists ever represented in a single volume.