Monday, June 8, 2020

Cuban Physicians Abroad Face Lack of Pay During Pandemic

Having served as Antonio Madero Professor for the Study of Mexico at Harvard University, Dr. Jorge I. Domínguez also had a research emphasis on Cuban politics and society. Dr. Jorge I. Domínguez continues to maintain a strong interest in developments in the Communist island nation during a time of pandemic and increased economic hardship.

The export of medical support and knowledge is a key hard currency earner for Cuba, but a recent article in the Miami Herald brought attention to a claim by several Cuban physicians working in Algeria that they had not received pay since March. This came just after Algeria made public that it pays $70 million to Cuba each year for the services of nearly 900 doctors, which amounts to $79,000 annually for each physician procured.

Of this amount, physicians receive approximately $900 a month, with $350 directly deposited into their Cuban bank accounts and the rest disbursed to the Cuban government in Algerian dinars. According to one physician, Cuba states as a reason for this the need to make investments in education and health. Though the physicians endure crowded conditions and have restricted movements while abroad, they largely accept this arrangement for the sake of their families. Their own earnings in hard-currency exceed the payments they would have received while working in Cuba. Thus, such service can be financially beneficial for the health-care personnel serving abroad even if they only receive a small fraction of what Algeria pays Cuba for their services.

Algeria has had a medical services provision arrangement with Cuba since the 1960s, but Cuban physicians recently expressed surprise at learning how much was actually paid for their services. The current situation, with no payments coming from a Cuban government strapped for cash, means that in many cases the physicians are simply subsisting on the food the hospitals provide them.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Routledge’s United States and Mexico: Between Partnership and Conflict

A Harvard professor for more than 45 years, Jorge I Dominguez also holds both a master of arts and a doctorate in political science from the esteemed university. An expert on the internal policies and international relations of Mexico and Cuba, Jorge Dominguez has written widely on related subjects.

One of his books is The United States and Mexico: Between Partnership and Conflict. Co-authored with R. Fernández de Castron, this book begins in the early 1800s and chronicles conflicts between the US and Mexico through the modern era. Routledge first published The United States and Mexico as part of its Contemporary Inter-American Relations series in 2001. The book is currently in its second edition from 2009.

Taking a complex and in-depth look at US/Mexico relations over the decades, The United States and Mexico highlights the vital trade partnership and close relationship between two countries that share one of the longest continuous land boarders in the world. It also examines their frequently tense migration relations, as well as problematic issues such as drug trafficking, trade agreements, and various economic/environmental concerns.

Friday, May 1, 2020

Mexico’s President Moves to Increase Mexico’s Minimum Wage

A former professor at Harvard University, Dr. Jorge I. Dominguez also served as Antonio Madero Professor for the Study of Mexico. Focused on economic and trade trends, Dr. Jorge I. Dominguez continues to maintain a strong interest in developments in Mexico.

A recent Forbes article drew attention to a second recent move by president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to increase the minimum wage, this time by 20 percent. The aim is to address persistent inequalities. Despite Mexico’s economic transformation over the past three decades, in which manufacturing and exports have soared and investment has been made in areas such as automotive, electronics, and aerospace, wages are among the lowest in the OECD.

Unlike most industrial countries, Mexico still has a minimum wage that is extremely low relative to the overall economy. With the average minimum wage worker earning just $2,000 in 2018, this has allowed the country to compete with countries such as China when it comes to labor intensive, low productivity jobs. Unfortunately, a corollary impact has been a stunted market for services and goods domestically.

The new minimum wage for 2020 is 123.22 pesos per day (approximately $6.50), which if properly enforced will raise wages for approximately 10 million Mexicans.

A major issue is that many Mexican workers have informal employment with family-run businesses and receive cash salaries that are not officially reported. This may prevent the move from having its intended effect in generating broad improvements for a large segment of the population. It also remains to be seen whether the minimum wage hike will dampen activity in the formal employment sector or increase inflation.

Friday, January 10, 2020

China Moves to Boost Investment and Trade Presence in South America

Sunday, April 7, 2019

A Layman’s Look at Collective Security

Jorge Dominguez currently focuses on his work in comparative politics and international relations in Latin America. Until his retirement in 2018, he served Harvard University since 1972 as a professor as well as director and chair of various departments. Among Jorge Dominguez's achievements is his involvement in the World Peace Foundation as a member of the Steering Committee for the project on Collective Securities in the Americas.

Collective security is the term used for different states' collective efforts to attempt to prevent or mitigate wars. The expression was first coined in the 1930s. In a collective security arrangement, the security of every member state becomes a concern for all member states. As a result, all member states act together to deal with the threat.

Collective security is considered to be the most viable approach in order to achieve international peace, as it is designed to protect not just one state but all states part of the agreement. The United Nations and League of Nations were both founded on the collective security principle.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

What Does the Inter-American Dialogue Do

Jorge Dominguez has actively worked in international relations, focusing on Latin American affairs. With an extensive professional background, Jorge Dominguez also became a member of the Inter-American Dialogue from 1983 to 2018.

For over 30 years, the Inter-American Dialogue has continuously been involved in shaping policy debate, devising solutions, and encouraging cooperation among states in the Western Hemisphere. 

The Inter-American Dialogue is made up of more than 100 distinguished professionals and citizens from the United States and Canada, as well as Latin American, European, and Caribbean countries and states. These members actively participate in the organization’s work through advancing debate and sharing information. 

Based in Washington, DC, Inter-American Dialogue takes pride in its reach, influence, and quality of analysis. It partners with premier institutions around the world in various areas crucial to development including energy, education, migration, and rule of law, among others. 

As a network of global leaders, the Inter-American Dialogue engages its members to drive democracy, social equity, and prosperity, particularly among the Caribbean and Latin American states.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

The Ladies in White - A Group Focused on Freedom of Conscience

A scholar expert in recent Latin American history and politics, Jorge Dominguez, PhD, served for 12 years as the Antonio Madero Professor for the Study of Mexico at Harvard University. He is the author or editor of scores of articles, book chapters, and books in his field. In addition to Mexico, Dr. Jorge Dominguez maintains a strong research interest in Cuba.

In May 2016, Latin America Advisor published a dialogue including Dr. Dominguez and other experts on the subject of United States President Barack Obama’s historic visit to Cuba. In the course of the conversation, Dr. Dominguez mentioned how the president had called Cuba’s denial of human rights to the world’s attention. In particular, President Obama met with dissidents, among them the “Ladies in White.”

These “Damas de Blanco” have spent a decade and a half protesting the detention of the country’s political prisoners in a quietly pointed way. Every Sunday, dressed all in white, they leave Havana’s Santa Rita Church and march through the streets as a living symbol of innocence and of the freedom denied their countrymen.

In 2005, the Ladies in White received the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, given annually to reflect the values of the late Russian dissident Andrey Sakharov. It took eight years, but in 2013, the Cuban regime at last allowed these women to travel to Brussels to claim their award.