The RAND Forum on Cuba

The RAND Forum on Cuba

The RAND Forum on Cuba

The RAND Forum on Cuba

Excerpt

In February, April, and May 1998, members of the policy community gathered together to participate in "The RAND Forum on Cuba." The participants consisted of Congressional staff members, State Department and NSC officials, members of the intelligence community, former Ambassadors and other former government officials, non-government foreign policy generalists, academic specialists on Cuba, and representatives of non-governmental organizations dealing with Cuba. The purpose of the Forum was to: (1) increase the awareness of participants concerning recent Cuban developments and trends; (2) convince generalists in particular that Cuba is a serious foreign--and not just a domestic--policy problem for the United States; and (3) advance the policy debate over Cuba and, if possible, work toward a policy consensus among the participants.

The Forum was held in three one and one-half day sessions in Washington, D. C.. Guided by a Moderator, each of the sessions was interactive whereby some thirty-five to forty participants were asked to discuss the Cuba issue according to three separate but related areas based on an agenda and list of questions. In the first session, held February 19-20, participants examined developments and trends in present-day Cuba. In the second, held April 16-17, they focused on U. S. interests in Cuba and the effect on those interests of different transition outcomes in a post‐ Castro Cuba. In the last session, on May 28-29, the participants assessed current U. S. policy and different policy alternatives.

The Forum's first and second sessions started off with academic specialists who served as "Lead Discussants" to help frame the issues, with representatives of NGOs and policy organizations performing that function in the May session. All sessions had two "Commentators" who synthesized the previous day's deliberations and findings, and made their own observations.

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