The Catholic University of America

Enrique Pumar, chair and associate professor, sociology, was interviewed by Catholic News Service on President Obama's trip to Cuba. See below.

Church Role Need in US-Cuba Relations

From: Catholic News Service (via America)
Date: March 22, 2016
Author: Tom Tracy

... Enrique S. Pumar, an associate professor and chair of the Department of Sociology at The Catholic University of America in Washington, told CNS in an email reply that with the Obama visit, both the U.S. and Cuba "have placed economic and political interests ahead of human rights and more normative concerns. The Obama administration seems to believe that intense commercial relations will change Cuba."

"The U.S. should pressure the Cubans more directly about democracy and human rights now that they have leverage despite the imperfections of our interpretations on these issues," Pumar said.

He also said that there is no evidence that increased commercial relations will benefit the Cuban people directly "at least for now."

Pumar said about 70 percent of the Cuban economy is controlled by the state, as are the labor markets. Average Cuban citizens are "not free to search for jobs on their own," he said, explaining they must go through state agencies "and the state determine their salaries."

"Under these conditions, more trade will benefit foreign investors and the Cuban elite," he added. ...

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