Tuesday, June 9, 2015
Following the dramatic December 2014 announcement by President Obama, the U.S. and Cuba are working toward normalized diplomatic relations for the first time in a half century. Prior to the announcement, among the few points of U.S. engagement with Cuba had been in marine research and conservation. With the announcement, the opportunities to expand collaborative marine research, conservation and education are profound and immediate. And the imperative could not be greater. While significant marine resource degradation has been documented throughout the wider Caribbean region, in contrast, Cuba offers an underwater oasis of healthy coral reef ecosystems. Collaborative U.S.-Cuban efforts can ensure protection of healthy reefs, and further may provide important insight on protecting and restoring coral reefs throughout the Caribbean. At the same time, normalized relations will open new channels of commerce and tourism and put new pressures on marine resources. This panel will explore the prospect of normalized diplomatic relations for continued and expanded collaboration and examine new opportunities and threats as we approach a post-embargo world.
Science Writer, New York Times and Writer-In-Residence, Brown University
The Honorable Sheldon Whitehouse
U.S. Senate, Rhode Island and Co-Chair, U.S. Senate Oceans Caucus
Ambassador José Ramón Cabañas Rodríguez
Chief of Mission of the Cuban Interests Section, Embassy of Switzerland
Ambassador David A. Balton
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oceans and Fisheries, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, U.S. Department of State
Robert Muse, J.D.
Attorney, Law Offices of Robert Muse
David E. Guggenheim, Ph.D.
President, Ocean Doctor