2004 Conference

July 16 and 17, 2004
University of Miami, Florida International University, St. Thomas University

July 16 – Bill Cosford Cinema, 2nd Floor, Memorial Building, University of Miami

2:00pm - Welcome

  • Holly Ackerman, University of Miami
  • Damián Fernández , Florida International University
  • María R. Domínguez, St. Thomas University

2:15pm – 3:45pm – Panel: The Balsero Crisis 10 Years Later: Policy Lessons Learned or Not?

Professor María R. Domínguez, J.D., Human Rights Institute, St. Thomas University, Moderator

The National Perspective:

  • Frank Angones, Angones, Hunter & Associates
  • Jonelle Jones, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, International Affairs Branch
  • Ken Leutbecker, Former Head, Community Relations Service, U.S. Justice Department
  • Bob Martínez, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida

State & Local Perspectives:

  • Mark Schlakman, Program Director, Liberty in the Balance Project, Florida State University Center for the Advancement of Human Rights


  • Bruce Marmar, JD, Supervisor of Adjudications, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

4:00pm – 5:25pm – Panel: In their own words: Rafters’ experience and adaptation

  • Mr. Guarioné Díaz, President, Cuban-American National Council and Presidentially appointed Ombudsman at Guantánamo, Moderator & Discussant
  • Dr. Filiberto Carbot, MD, a rafter who experienced detention at Guantánamo
  • Mr. Roberto Morales, a rafter who came directly from Cuba to Florida prior to the opening of Guantánamo
  • Ms. Lizbet Martínez, a rafter who experienced detention at Guantánamo as a child

5:30pm – 7:00pm - Reception & Exhibit Opening
Cuban Heritage Collection Pavilion, 2nd Floor, Richter Library

  • William Walker, University Librarian, University of Miami
  • Steve Stein, Professor, Department of History, Sr. Associate Dean for Interdisciplinary Programs and Interim Director, Center for Latin American Studies, University of Miami

Saturday, July 17, 2004, Graham Center, Room 243, Florida International University

Panel 1: 9:00am – 11:00am

  • Holly Ackerman, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Richter Library, University of Miami, Balseros: Then and Now.
  • Kelly Greenhill, Ph.D., Visiting Fellow, Stanford University Institute for International Studies, Engineered Migration as a Political Weapon of the Weak: Explaining the 1994 Cuban Balseros Crisis.
  • Felix Masud-Piloto, Ph.D., Associate Professor, De Paul University, Welcome to Guantánamo? The Balsero Crisis in Historical Perspective.
  • Guillermo Grenier, Ph.D., Director, Florida Center for Labor Research and Studies and Associate Professor of Sociology, Florida International University, The Balseros: Comparisons with Prior Cuban Migrants.


  • Lisandro Pérez, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Director, International Migration Initiative, Florida International University.
  • Damián Fernández, Ph.D., Professor of International Relations and Director, Cuban Research Institute, Florida International University.

Panel 2: 11:15am - 1:00pm

  • Ted Henken, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Sociology, Baruch College, City University of New York, Balseros, Lancheros, and El Bombo: Cuban Immigration to the United States since the 1994 Rafter Crisis and the Persistence of Special Treatment.
  • Lillian Manzor, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Foreign Languages & Literature, University of Miami, En fin, el mar: Staging the Balsero Trauma in Greater Cuba.
  • Jorge Duany, Ph.D., University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras, Beyond the Rafters: The Recent Past and Near Future of Cuban Migration.
  • Ms. Elizabeth Campisi, ABD, State University of New York, Albany, Guantánamo: "Safe Haven" or Traumatic Interlude?


  • Rafael Rojas, Professor of History, Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas, Mexico D.F. and Co-Director, Encuentro de la Cultura Cubana.
  • Uva de Aragón, Ph.D., Associate Director, Cuban Research Institute, Florida International University
Balseros 10 Years Later cover
Contributors & Participants
Holly Ackerman is an Assistant Professor and the Social Sciences Librarian at Richter Library, University of Miami. Her research interests include comparative migration studies and the Cuban diaspora. She has published articles in Cuban Studies, Encuentro de la Cultura Cubana and Cuba in Transition, and is the author of The Cuban Balseros: Voyage of Uncertainty. She recently completed an annotated bibliography on Moderate Politics in Cuba: 1952-1965. Dr. Ackerman is a co-organizer of the conference.
Uva de Aragon is the Associate Director of the Cuban Research Institute at FIU. A noted poet, Dr. De Aragon is the author of Memoria de Silencio and Repensando a Marti.
Betsy Campisi is a doctoral candidate in Anthropology at the State University of New York Albany who is writing her dissertation on the balseros' journey to the U.S. She worked with the balseros in Guantánamo for a year as an employee of the Community Relations Service of the Justice Department. She has worked as a policy analyst for governmental agencies, and was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras. She holds Master's degrees in Latin American and Caribbean Studies and Public Policy.
Filiberto Carbot and his family left Cuba in a small boat in 1994 and were interned at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantánamo Bay Cuba. Dr. Carbot was a Radiologist in Matanzas, Cuba and works as an x-ray technician in Miami.
Mr. Diaz is the President of the Cuban-American National Council, a private non-profit agency that serves immigrants, emerging leaders and individuals in need from all races and nationalities. During 1994-1995 he served as a Presidentially appointed liaison between rafters in the Guantánamo camps and the U.S. government.
Jorge Duany is Associate Professor of Anthropology and former Editor of the Revista de Ciencias Sociales at the University of Puerto Rico in Río Piedras. Among many publications, he is coauthor of El Barrio Gandul: Economía subterránea y migraciín indocumentada en Puerto Rico and Cubans in Puerto Rico.
Damián Fernandez is a Professor of International Studies and Director of the Cuban Research Institute at FIU. His research interests include Cuban politics and international relations of Latin America. His books include Cuba and the Politics of Passion and Cuba, the elusive nation: interpretations of national identity. He is currently editing a book entitled Cuba Transnational. He is a co-organizer of the conference.
Kelly M. Greenhill is a Visiting Fellow at the Stanford University Institute for International Studies and holds a Ph.D. from the Department of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Greenhill’s research has appeared in a variety of books and journals, including Security Studies, and International Migration. She is a former intern with Massachusetts Senator John Kerry.
Guillermo J. Grenier is the Director of the Florida Center for Labor Research and Studies and Associate Professor of Sociology at Florida International University. He is the author of Inhuman Relations: Quality Circles and Anti-Unionism in American Industry. His other books include Employee Participation and Labor Law in the American Workplace; Miami Now: Immigration, Ethnicity and Social Change; Newcomers in the Workplace: Immigrants and the Restructuring of the U.S. Economy; and This Land is Our Land: Newcomers and Established Residents in Miami.
Ted Henken is an Assistant Professor of Sociology, Black and Hispanic Studies at Baruch College, City University of New York and holds a Ph.D. from Tulane University. He has written widely about the informal economy and the Cuban tourist industry. His articles have appeared in Cuban Studies and Cuba in Transition. He is the author of Notes from the Underground A Brief Guide to Havana and Santiago’s Paladares, Bed & Breakfasts, and Night Life.
Lillian Manzor is an Associate Professor, Foreign Languages & Literature, University of Miami. She is the author of Borges/Escher, CoBrA/Cobra: Un Encuentro Posmodernoand Latinas on Stage. She is Associate Master at Pearson Residential College and advisor for the living and learning program La Casa Cultural. She is actively involved in developing US-Cuba cultural dialogues through theater and performance.
Felix Masud-Piloto, is an Associate Professor of History and the Director of the Latino Studies Research Institute at DePaul University in Chicago, as well as the editor of the Latino journal Dialogo. He is the author of several books including, From welcomed exiles to illegal immigrants: Cuban migration to the U.S., 1959-1995.
Lisandro Perez is Professor of Sociology at FIU and led the Cuban Research Institute from its founding in 1991 until 2003. Perez is now the Director of a new International Migration Initiative at FIU. Dr. Perez is the author of many books and articles on Cuban immigration including, The legacy of exile: Cubans in the United States and Transition in Cuba: new challenges for US policy.
Rafael Rojas is a Professor of History at the Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas in Mexico City and the Co-Director of Encuentro de la Cultura Cubanaz published in Madrid. Included among his publications are El arte de la espera (Madrid, Colibrí, 1998), Isla sin fin (Miami, Universal, 1998), Un banquete canónico (México, FCE, 2000), José Martí: la invención de Cuba (Madrid, Colibrí, 2000) y Cuba mexicana: Historia de una anexión imposible (México, SRE, 2001).
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