Voices of Change in Cuba
(University of Pittsburgh Press, March 2018)
“This book is the most comprehensive and well thought-out account of Cuba’s new private sector. It presents a wealth of information that had never before been compiled so systematically."
Jorge I. Domínguez, Professor of Government, Harvard University
“A unique treasure. A triumph of scholarship in a country where fieldwork is notoriously difficult to carry out."
Mitchell A. Seligson, Founder of Latin American Public Opinion Project, Vanderbilt University
“This book should be read carefully because is of great utility for those interested in Cuba’s non-state sector. It will be required reading for our society, and hopefully motivates researchers to engage in similar projects."Omar Everleny Pérez Villanueva, former Director Center for the Study of Cuban Economy, University of Havana, coeditor of Miradas a la Economía Cubana: Análisis del Sector no Estatal
“A model of innovative academic collaboration between US and Cuban-based scholars, this book is both quantitatively rigorous and qualitatively path breaking. An essential, timely resource for Cuban policymakers and all those interested in Cuba."
Archibald Ritter, Professor Emeritus of Economics, Carleton University Canada, and Ted Henken, Associate Professor of Sociology, Baruch College; co-authors of Entrepreneurial Cuba
“For its scholarly rigor, immense readability and policy-making applications, this is a pioneering volume. It takes a ‘ground-up’ approach relying on interviews with Cubans that speak for themselves."
Lillian Guerra, Waldo Neikirk Professor of Cuban and Caribbean History, University of Florida
“The authors capture the interest of the reader through a careful analysis and the testimonies of the protagonists, providing an accurate view of the daily problems of the Cuban society… one of the most significant contributions to the economic and social history of that nation."
Consuelo Naranjo Orovio, Professor and Director Institute of History, Spain’s Higher Council of Scientific Research
“The most authoritative, complete and fact-based analysis of Cuba's nascent private sector. A required reading for those interested in the progress and challenges of Cuba's reform process."
Jorge Pérez-López, former Economist, U.S. Department of Labor, author of Cuba's Second Economy
“A totally original approach to Cuba’s economy and society. A pioneer book… supported by an excellent field work and reliable statistics and information, a reference volume that will be key to understand the future of Cuba and the evolution of its reforms."
Carlos Malamud, Principal Researcher on Latin America, Royal Institute Elcano of International Studies, Madrid
“This excellent book arrives in a crucial moment. It shows new evidence and a variety of experiences among the micro-entrepreneurs of the new economy. ¡A great accomplishment!"
Pavel Vidal Alejandro, Professor of Economics, Universidad Pontificia Javeriana, Colombia
“This book is of indisputably importance to understand today Cuba because it examines the emergent non-state economic sector and the obstacles that the state erects to its expansion. It synthetizes the difficult transit of a centrally planned economy to one of socialist market in the 21st century."
Rafael Rojas, History Department, CIDE, Mexico City
“This book, in a sharp and meticulous manner, significantly advances our knowledge with rigor and depth. It reveals what the non-economic sector thinks for the country’s future, and provides evidence of the opening happening in Cuba’s academic world towards more economic freedom."
Prof. Manuel Alcántara, Director de FLACSO, Universidad de Salamanca, Spain
"A welcome addition to the literature on the Cuban socialist economy of today. The 80 intensive interviews represent a unique accomplishment, given the continuing restrictions to economic freedom."
Alejandro Portes, former President American Sociological Association
“Few analysts like Mesa-Lago, profoundly knowledgeable of Cuba’s economy and society, are in the position to immerse in Cuba’s new reality and interpret it, with empathy and rigor. This book, well-documented and vibrant, is indispensable to become acquainted with the Cuba emerging from a process of change."
José Antonio Alonso, Professor of Applied Economics Universidad Complutense Spain
“Carmelo Mesa-Lago represents, in his magna oeuvre and impeccable trajectory, Cuba’s national conscience. In this book, he and his colleagues document the current Cuba, the one that could have been, and still may become.”
Enrique Krauze, Editor of Letras Libres, Mexico City
“This book gathers the scarce data available on those in the non-state sector, based on answers from interviews with them, so that they are no longer unknown.”
Antonio Santamaría García, Researcher Institute of History, Higher Council of Scientific Research, Spain
“This timely book casts light on one of the most important yet so far little analyzed effects of Raul Castro’s economic reforms. It brings together a wealth of detail on the growth of Cuba’s non-state sector, enriched by the voices of Cubans working in this emerging economy. A most welcome contribution to the scholarship on contemporary Cuba.”
Maxine Molyneux, Professor of Sociology, University College London
Voces de Cambio en el Sector no Estatal Cubano
(Madrid: Editorial Iberamericana Vervuert, 2016)
“Los autores logran atrapar el interés del lector a través de un estudio cuidadoso y de los testimonios de los protagonistas. Una de las mejores contribuciones a la historia social y económica de Cuba.”
Consuelo Naranjo Orovio, Profesora y Directora del Instituto de Historia, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, España
“Una aproximación totalmente original a la economía y a la sociedad cubana, un trabajo pionero apoyado en una excelente labor de campo y en estadísticas fiables, una obra de referencia que será clave para entender el futuro de la Isla y la evolución de sus reformas."
Carlos Malamud, Investigador Principal en América Latina Instituto Elcano de Estudios Internacionales, Madrid
“Pocos analistas como Mesa-Lago, profundo conocedor de la economía y la sociedad cubana, están en condiciones de sumergirse en la nueva realidad, e interpretarla desde la cercanía y con rigor analítico. Un estudio documentado y vivo, imprescindible para conocer la Cuba que nace de esos procesos de cambio."
José Antonio Alonso, Catedrático de Economía Aplicada, Universidad Complutense
“Voces del cambio debe leerse con detenimiento pues es de gran utilidad para los interesados en el importante sector no estatal, y servirá de guía para futuros trabajos. Lectura obligada para nuestra sociedad, y espero sea motivadora a que muchos otros investigadores emprendan proyectos similares."
Omar Everleny Pérez Villanueva, ex Director del Centro de Estudios de la Economía Cubana, coeditor de Miradas a la Economía Cubana: Análisis del Sector no Estatal
“Este libro es el más integral y sesudo análisis del nuevo sector privado en Cuba con detalles abundantes e informativos. Ofrece una riqueza de información que nunca antes se había compilado tan sistemáticamente."
Jorge I. Domínguez, Profesor de Gobierno Universidad de Harvard
“Un modelo innovador de colaboración académica entre estadounidenses y cubanos residentes, cuantitativamente riguroso y abridor de senderos. Una fuente esencial para los decisores de política en la Isla y para todos los interesados en Cuba."
Archibald Ritter, Profesor Emérito de Economía Universidad de Carleton Canadá, y Ted Henken, Profesor Asociado de Sociología en Baruch College; coautores de Entrepreneurial Cuba
“Por su rigor académico, amenidad de estilo y valor para la decisión de políticas, esta es una obra pionera, con un enfoque de ‘abajo hacia arriba’ apoyado en entrevistas con cubanos que hablan por sí mismos."
Lillian Guerra, Profesora de Historia Cubana y del Caribe, Universidad de Florida
“Este excelente libro nos llega en un momento definitorio… cualifica y cuantifica con rigor una muestra de participantes en el sector no estatal, identifica sus problemas y expectativas, y propone nuevas políticas basadas en sus ‘voces’. ¡Un importante logro!”
Pavel Vidal Alejandro, Profesor de Economía, Universidad Pontificia Javeriana, Colombia
“Un tesoro único porque documenta la transformación más importante en la economía de Cuba en el último medio siglo. Un triunfo académico en un país donde el trabajo de campo es notoriamente difícil de llevar a cabo."
Mitchell A. Seligson, Profesor Ciencia Política Universidad de Vanderbilt, Fundador del Proyecto de Opinión Pública Latinoamericana
“Mesa-Lago representa, en su magna obra y en su trayectoria impecable, la conciencia nacional de Cuba. En este libro, él y sus colegas documentan la Cuba real y la que todavía puede devenir."
Enrique Krauze, Director de Letras Libres, México
"Una adición valiosa a la literatura de la economía socialista de Cuba actual. Sus 80 entrevistas intensivas representan un logro único."
Alejandro Portes, Profesor de Sociología Universidad de Princeton, ex Presidente de la Asociación de Sociología de EEUU
“Este libro de manera aguda y cuidadosa es un avance de suma importancia en el tema…. revela qué piensa un sector tan relevante para el futuro del país como la economía no estatal, y evidencia la apertura que se viene dando en el mundo académico cubano hacia pautas de mayor libertad."
Manuel Alcántara, Director de FLACSO y Profesor Ciencia Política, Universidad de Salamanca
“El análisis más serio y comprensivo del emergente sector privado en Cuba. Una contribución trascendental y basada en hechos. Lectura requerida para todos los interesados en el progreso y los desafíos del proceso de reformas cubano."
Jorge Pérez-López, ex Economista Depto. de Trabajo de EEUU, autor de Cuba's Second Economy
“Este libro es de una importancia indudable para comprender el presente cubano porque describe la emergencia del sector no estatal en la economía, así como los obstáculos que el Estado interpone a su crecimiento. Sintetiza las dificultades del tránsito de una economía planificada a un socialismo de mercado en la Cuba del siglo XXI."
Rafael Rojas, Profesor de Historia, CIDE, Ciudad México
“Voces de cambio da la palabra a los trabajadores y empresarios privados que han progresado en Cuba con un sinfín de dificultades. Reúne la información disponible sobre aquellos y la completa con el análisis de una serie de entrevistas que logra que hoy ya no sean tan desconocidos."
Antonio Santamaría García, Investigador Instituto de Historia, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, España
Cuba Under Castro: Assessing the Reforms
(with J. Pérez-López, Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 2013)
"Excellent book! The first deep study on the Cuban reforms. Rigorously worked, lucidly structured, timely, challenging and balanced."
Pedro Monreal, Cuban Economist, UNESCO Caribbean Office, Paris
"Since the start of the Cuban reforms, the world expected a concrete and objective analysis of their scope and depth. We have it now thanks to this book."
Victor Bulmer-Thomas, University College, London
"Everything you wanted to know about Cuba, but didn't know where to find it. It must be read by anyone who wants to understand Cuba’s current situation."
Gabriel Tortella, Professor Emeritus of Economic History, University of Alcalá de Henares
"A serious, profound, conscious and realistic book that follows the Cuban economy for more than 50 years, with wisdom and conclusions that lead us to a reflection of our reality."
Omar Everleny Perez Villanueva, Center for the Study of the Cuban Economy, University of Havana
"A master class of economic and social history of Cuba focused on the last six years. A work of reference for social scientists and for anyone interested in Cuba."
Consuelo Naranjo, Director Institute of History, Higher Council of Scientific Studies, Madrid
"An x-ray of today’s Cuban society. A required reading for those who want to understand where Cuba is moving."
Alejandro de la Fuente, Chair in Latin American History, Harvard University
"Finally an interpretation of the complex Cuban reforms that appears like it has been written here, documented, unbiased and analytical."
Rafael Hernández, Director of the journal Temas, Havana
"The best study on Cuba’s economy and social welfare in the last 20 years, the most complete and objective." Kanako Yamaoka, Senior Researcher, Institute of Developing Economies, Tokyo
"Supported by the laborious job of elaboration and interpretation of indicators, built in a prodigious manner from many diverse available sources, written in a clear and simple language, but with scientific rigor."
Velia Cecilia Bobes, Professor FLACSO, Mexico City
"An exceptional book, a balanced analysis of the Cuban economy, professional use of numerous sources and data with diverse origin, and provision of rigorous contributions from social scientists in the Island and abroad."
Carlos Romero, Professor of Political Science, Universidad Central de Venezuela, Caracas
"One of those few works that, since its inception, becomes a classic."
Armando Chaguaceda, Universidad Veracruzana
"The definitive survey, analysis and evaluation of Cuba’s economic and social policies and development under Raúl Castro. The best starting point for any observer, analyst, researcher or scholar trying to understand Cuba’s economy."
Archibald Ritter, Professor of Economics, Carleton University, Ottawa
"The most wide-ranging, provocative, deeply researched and complete discussion of the nature, political underpinnings and impact of Raúl Castro's economic reforms available today."
Lillian Guerra, Professor of Caribbean History University of Florida-Gainesville
World Crisis Effects on Social Security in Latin America and the Caribbean: Lessons and Policies
(London, Institute for the Study of the Americas, 2010)
Efectos de la Crisis Global sobre la Seguridad Social en Salud y Pensiones en América Latina y el Caribe
(Santiago, CEPAL Serie de Políticas Sociales, No. 150, 2009)
(London, Institute for the Study of the Americas, 2010)
Efectos de la Crisis Global sobre la Seguridad Social en Salud y Pensiones en América Latina y el Caribe
(Santiago, CEPAL Serie de Políticas Sociales, No. 150, 2009)
“This volume offers a broad regional perspective on the experiences of 25 Latin American and Caribbean countries… it encompass a historical dimension – with lessons from earlier crises – [and] analyses the three major components of social security: pensions, health care and social assistance. Who better than Mesa-Lago – the “master of social security in Latin America” –could have taken on such a daunting challenge? Indeed, this work follows up and judiciously complements his  outstanding encyclopaedic analysis of pension and health-care reforms in this region in the past two decades. [The book] special significance…resides in the contribution it makes to understanding the multiple factors at stake, highlighting how these countries recovered from earlier crises and… how and why they have fared better in the current one. [It] contains lessons for all countries that have adopted stimulus packages…. Mesa-Lago warns that many such rescue packages have not placed sufficient emphasis on social protection [and] points out that… close to nothing has been published about [the crisis] effects on social security. So he undertakes to fill the gap. Mesa-Lago’s taxonomy… identifies three groups of countries according to the level of development of their social protection systems [and] how each performed during the crises, highlighting in great detail the wide range of intra- and inter-group differences and policy outcomes. A highly didactic and well-structured concluding chapter recapitulates the main findings and policy recommendations for the future sustainability of social protections, broader coverage of the population, adequacy of benefits, reduced administrative costs, improved regulation, transparency and information… a useful guide to policies that have worked and those that have failed. The detailed information about their various outcomes both within and across countries is particularly helpful, providing a useful “tool box” in the quest for a balanced and socially equitable recovery from the crisis.”
Hedva Sarfati, Former ILO Director of Industrial Relations and Labor Administration,
International Labour Review
“Carmelo Mesa-Lago attempts in this short but informative and ambitious book... to determine the impact of the world crisis on social security (health and pensions) in Latin America and offer policy recommendations [with] a useful methodology to explore the short-, medium- and long-term evolution of social security. [Three] general messages from his detailed analysis are particularly clear: poor countries are likely to suffer more than the rest and will have more difficulties in implementing successful; policy experimentation and policymakers’ decisions still matter; and the length and depth of the global crisis will determine the severity of its social consequences. Increasing attention to public debt levels and “sound” economic policy in OECD countries may trigger a new era of macroeconomic austerity and minimalist approaches to social security… far from the ambitious redistributive agenda that Mesa-Lago has been promoting during his whole career.”
Diego Sánchez-Ancochea, University of Oxford, Journal of Latin American Studies
“Carmelo Mesa-Lago, a leading social security expert and social policy analyst… recently has played an eminent role in the activities of the ILO and ISSA in Geneva. This book evaluates the impact of the global financial-economic crisis on social security, analyzing on a comparative basis the areas of pensions, health care and social assistance in 25 Latin American and Caribbean countries. The book is doubtless one of the earliest reactions in the academic world to the crisis… passing the available information through the grid of his regular analytical framework for evaluating social security schemes… an interesting attempt at presenting policy recommendations based on careful and systematic analysis of facts.”
Vladimir Rys, Social Security Study Center, University of Geneva, Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare
“The latest work published by Professor Mesa-Lago, one of the leading experts on social security in Latin America, is a concise and sagacious analysis of the impact of the world economic crisis on social security systems in Latin America and the Caribbean. An indispensable to learn what is happening on social protection in [that region], guided by the best who can show it."
Diego Valero, Director of NOVASTEC, Revista ADC21
Reassembling Social Security: A Survey of Pension and Health
Care Reforms in Latin America (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008)
“A treasure trove that marries an analytical approach with deep, wide-ranging and long-standing understanding of country experiences. A must have for anyone interested in the tortuous path of social security reforms in Latin America and an up-to-date assessment of their outcomes.”
Nicholas Barr, Professor of Public Economics, London School of Economics and Political Science
“This book is an outstanding achievement. Few could have written a book on welfare reform in Latin America with the depth of knowledge, acute understanding and easy accessibility that Mesa-Lago is able to use to illuminate on this subject. Our understanding of welfare reforms in the region is in large part due to his work. A wonderful bequest for those researching this area.”
Armando Barrientos, Brooks World Poverty Institute, University of Manchester
“Because pensions and heath care not only concentrate most of Latin American social policy agenda but also have extremely relevant economic and fiscal consequences, this book is a must for everyone interested in a comprehensive view of this heterogeneous region.”
Fabio M. Bertranou, Senior Social Security Specialist ILO, Chile
“Without a doubt, Dr. Mesa-Lago's study is the most comprehensive, critical and accurate account of the evolution of social security systems—including an impact evaluation of recent reforms—in the 20 Latin American countries. A must read for policy-makers and scholars interested in social security systems.”
Núria Homedes, Director of Global Health, School of Public Health, University of Texas-Houston, and Antonio Ugalde, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, University of Texas-Austin
"This book is an elegant and well-researched tour-de-force of Latin American pension and health care reforms and their impacts. Drawing on five decades of work on social security systems in the region, Mesa-Lago bridges the gap between pensions and health care through a cross-cutting analysis of vexing policy issues. This book will become an invaluable asset for all those grappling with the complexities of social policies in Latin America”
Gerard M. La Forgia, Lead Health Specialist, World Bank
"Carmelo Mesa-Lago is one of the masters on economics of social security in Latin America. In the last three decades, his ideas, books and accurate papers had influenced many generations of social economists and policy makers in every country of the region. This book is a new masterpiece that will contribute to update the knowledge about the achievements and challenges of the last generation of reforms on social security in Latin America."
André Medici, Senior Social Development Specialist, Inter American Development Bank
“This critical and knowledgeable book is more than timely... The author is the doyen of Latin American social policy; for 30 years his meticulousness, his thorough knowledge of the region and his extensive network of former students have enabled him to write the best-informed and profound publications on Latin American social policy… always managing to remain independent of the changing political fashions and to keep the necessary professional distance. While cautioning against the extreme stratification of the state-run social security systems in Latin America in his first, 1978, book, Mesa-Lago later became almost the only expert denouncing pension privatisation … Mesa-Lago’s new volume represents the essence of his life’s work in the area of social policy… [His] insightful and compact analysis—that this review could only touch upon—is a must-read, not only for scholars of Latin American social policy… Oxford University Press should consider a paperback edition… which would support the author’s main concern: to convince many readers that a comprehensive, unified and equitable social security system need not remain a utopia in Latin America and elsewhere."
Katharina Müller, Mannheim University of Applied Sciences, Germany, Peripherie