Cuba Initiative

Cuba Initiative

Following the historic thaw of relations between the United States and Cuba announced in December 2014, Indiana University launched a Cuba Initiative that has resulted in a number of trips of Indiana University delegations to Cuba, visiting speakers from Cuba at IU Bloomington, and an institutional partnership between Indiana University and the Universidad Central "Marta Abreu" de Las Villas (UCLV), in Santa Clara.

Located in the center of Cuba, Santa Clara has been a sister city of Bloomington since 1999. UCLV is the second research university in Cuba, after the Universidad de Havana, offering 52 majors, 44 M.A., and 29 programs. IU's institutional partnership includes a short-term study abroad program in Santa Clara and research collaborations between faculty from UCLV and IU.

The Cuba Initiative is spearheaded by Gerardo González, the former dean of the School of Education and Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the School of Education. It consists of a group of scholars with active research in Cuba, as well as of people traveling to Cuba for research, with students, or for community support. Currently, there are three faculty-led study abroad programs at IU taking students to Cuba (offered through SPEA, the Kelley School of Business, and the College of Arts and Sciences). If you are interested in joining the group, please contact

Upcoming Events

Cuban Memory Wars: Retrospective Politics in Revolution and Exile

September 22, 2023, 9:30-10:30am ET

September is National Hispanic Heritage Month. The University of Miami's Michael Bustamante and Dean Emeritus Gerardo Gonzalez will focus on Bustamante's new book: Cuban Memory Wars. It will be used to reflect upon Cubans' contested memories of the Revolution's roots and results over its first twenty years, and at the intersection of official discourse and popular experience. 

Join us in the conversation! Register here.



Cuba Relations: Between Reform and Retrenchment

September 22, 2023, 11am ET

HLS Shreve Auditorium, 355 N. Eagleson Ave.

An in-person keynote lecture about current events in Cuba by Dr. Michael Bustamante and response by Dr. Miriam Escudero (IU).

Live-streaming available with registration. 
The Cuba Diaspora and U.S.-Cuban Relations in 2023

Friday, September 22nd, 2023, 2pm GA 2134

A conversation with Michael Bustamante (U of Miami), moderated by Arlene Diaz (IU-History)
Dr. Michael J Bustamante from the University of Miami and Dr. Arlene Diaz from the Department of History will discuss the current status of relations between the United States and Cuba.

Michael Bustamante - Associate Professor of History and the Emilio Bacardí Moreau Chair in Cuban and Cuban-American Studies at the University of Miami will lead the discussion “The Cuban Diaspora and U.S. - Cuban Relations in 2023.” Moderated by Arlene Diaz from the Department of History.

Cuba Initiative Faculty


  • Catching up with Cuba: Conducta. (Screening of Ernesto Daranas Serrano's 2014 film). Organized by CUBAmistad with CLACS support.
  • Catching up with Cuba: Ghost Town to Havana. (Screening of Eugene Corr's 2015 film). Organized by CUBAmistad with CLACS support.
  • "A Hundred Years of Migration (1917-2017): Stories of Caribbean Exile and Diaspora." Research conference.
  • "Defamiliarized Sketches of the Cuban-Soviet Imaginary." Jacqueline Loss (Dept. of Spanish, University of Connecticut).
  • Intimations of Mortality: The Cemetery in Post-Soviet Cuban Film. Vicky Unruh (Dept. of Spanish and Portuguese, University of Kansas). Co-sponsored by the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.
  • Gerard Aching Book Reading. Co-sponsored by the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies, the College Arts and Humanities Institute, and IU Press.
  • Cuban Diplomat Carlos Alzugaray Treto. Co-sponsored by the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, the School of Education, and the Office of the Vice President of International Affairs.
  • Cultural Policies and Creative Entrepreneurship: Comparative Explorations in Mexico and Cuba. Lázaro Rodríguez Oliva (Transformatorio Cultural para el Desarrollo). Co-sponsored by Kelley School of Business.
  • Lunch with Cuban Tour Guide and Tourism Expert. Alicia Pérez Viera. Co-organized with Professor Keith Dayton and his course Global Business Initiatives.

  • SPEA in Cuba
  • Kelley School of Business, Global Business Immersion
  • Modern Cuba, College of Arts and Sciences

CUBAmistad is a sister-city project linking Bloomington, Indiana, USA and Santa Clara, Cuba. Its goal is to encourage dialogue and understanding between citizens of Cuba and the USA. They meet at 6:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of every month in the Showers Building/City Hall, 401 N. Morton St., in Bloomington. Everyone is welcome to attend.

  • Cuba Educational Travel: "Eye-opening Cuba exchange allows student to re-evaluate US embargo on Cuba" - May 30, 2019
  • School of Education News: "González recounts journey from Cuba to the United States in new book" - August 8, 2018
  • Indiana Daily Student: "Looking back on the Cuban Missile Crisis 55 Years Later" - November 16, 2017
  • The Gitmo Observer: "Indiana University Students Travel to Guantanamo Bay Despite Trump Administration Cuba Travel Warning" - October 5, 2017
  • IU Kokomo News: "Professor offers political expertise in Cuba" - September 22, 2017
  • IUPUI Newsroom: "IUPUI students, researchers begin collaboration with Cuban university to study neglected diseases" - November 21, 2016
  • IU Media Space: CIBER Focus: "Inside Look at Cuba's Economy: Tourism Industry and Beyond" with Alicia Perez Vera - April 12, 2016
  • IU Media Space: CIBER Focus: "Part 3 of U.S.-Cuba Relations: Beyond the Cold War Past to Partnership" with Dr. Carlos Alzugara y Treto - November 18, 2015
  • IU Media Space: CIBER Focus: "Part 2 of U.S.-Cuba Relations: Economic and Legal Provisions" with Professor David Fidler - October 27, 2015
  • IU Media Space: CIBER Focus: "Part 1 of U.S.-Cuba Relations: The Past and Present" with Professor Nick Cullather - October 23, 2015
  • IU Media Space: CIBER Focus: "Shifiting Dynamics in Cuba and 'SPEA in Cuba' Program" with Professor Daniel Preston - August 27, 2015
  • IU Viewpoints Blog: "Just ahead of Obama, SPEA students visit Havana"
  • "IU students reflect on trip to Cuba"
  • 93.1FM WIBC: "15 IU Students Headed To Cuba For Spring Break"
  • Indy Channel: "IU School of Education Dean Gerardo Gonzalez reacts to new US-Cuba diplomatic policies"
  • IU Viewpoints Blog: "IU professor: Easing of Cuba travel restrictions good news for scholars"
  • Indiana Daily Student: "IU joins effort in relationship with Cuba"
  • World Post: "Give U.S.-Cuba Thaw a Chance"
  • The Conversation: "Why American academics are building ties with Cuba"
  • Indiana Daily Student: "Experts weigh in on Cuba visit"
  • IU Bloomington Newsroom: "Indiana University experts comment on President Obama's visit to Cuba"