Geopolitical & Socioeconomic

The Legacy of Fidel Castro

  • SCI Belgrave Square, 14/15 Belgrave Square, London

Following the death of Fidel Castro on 25th November last year, this conference will look at the legacy of one of the world's most significant, but also divisive, political figures. After leading the Cuban Revolution to victory in 1959, Fidel Castro went on to become the longest serving political leader of the 20th Century before handing over to his brother, Raúl, in 2008 citing health reasons. In this time he survived over 600 CIA assassination plots. To his detractors he was viewed as a ruthless autocrat whose close links to the Soviet Union brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. To his supporters, he was a revolutionary hero who created an alternative political vision in the 20th Century and stood up to the power of Washington. Cuba remains a communist state today.

Following the death of Fidel Castro on 25th November last year, this conference will look at the legacy of one of the world's most significant, but also divisive, political figures.  After leading the Cuban Revolution to victory in 1959, Fidel Castro went on to become the longest serving political leader of the 20th Century before handing over to his brother, Raúl, in 2008 citing health reasons. In this time he survived over 600 CIA assassination plots. To his detractors he was viewed as a ruthless autocrat whose close links to the Soviet Union brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. To his supporters, he was a revolutionary hero who created an alternative political vision in the 20th Century and stood up to the power of Washington. Cuba remains a communist state today.

Assessing Castro's legacy is a complex task but this conference brings together three panels to debate his domestic, regional and global legacies with speakers from every side of the debate. We are delighted to welcome the following speakers:

Antoni Kapcia, Professor of Latin American history at the University of Nottingham, and author of Cuba In Revolution;

Peter Hitchens, journalist, author and broadcaster, currently at The Mail on Sunday, winner of the Orwell Prize in political journalism in 2010;

Ken Livingstone, British politician and former Mayor of London;

Dr Helen Yaffe, Fellow, Economic History at LSE, and author of Che Guevara: The Economics of Revolution;

Dr Steve Ludlam, Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of Sheffield, member of the Cuba Research Forum, and author of Reclaiming 'Our America': Radical Social Democracy in Latin America;

Paul Webster Hare (via video link), Lecturer in International Relations at The Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, former British Ambassador to Cuba (2001-04), and author of Moncada: A Cuban Story;

Alina Garcia-Lapuerta, author of La Belle Créole: The Cuban Countess Who Captivated Havana, Madrid, and Paris.

Programme:

8.30am - Registration

9.00 - Welcoming remarks

9.10-10.10 - Domestic legacy panel with Professor Antoni Kapcia, Dr Helen Yaffe and Alina Garcia-Lapuerta

10.10 - Coffee break

10.30 - 11.30 - Regional legacy panel with Dr Steve Ludlam and Paul Webster Hare

11.30 - 12.30 - Global legacy panel with Peter Hitchens and Ken Livingstone

There will be a light sandwich lunch to follow the discussions.

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