USFSM will host a forum for state House and Senate candidates.

USF Sarasota-Manatee seminar, diplomat to discuss Cuba relations

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: August 14, 2017

USF Sarasota-Manatee seminar, diplomat to discuss Cuba relations

Vicki Huddleston                                     Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

SARASOTA, Fla. (Aug. 14, 2017) – The slowing of U.S.-Cuba relations in recent months is prompting questions about business with the island and travel options.

To help figure out the next steps, USF Sarasota-Manatee will host a seminar, “What Now, Cuba?” on Sept. 11, from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at USFSM’s Selby Auditorium, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

The half-day session explores the implications of America’s revised Cuba policies and features talks by former U.S. diplomat Vicki Huddleston and Don Rissmiller, chief economist at New York-based Strategas Research Partners.

Huddleston, U.S. ambassador to Mali, 2002-05, and Madagascar, 1995-97, served as chief of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana from 1999 to 2002. Her talk, “Myths, Contradictions, and Lies: Bush, Obama, Trump,” will examine how the normalizing of relations between Cuba and the United States slowed in recent months, pushing Cuba toward closer military and economic ties with Russia and China. All this, she says, to curry favor with Cuban-American legislators.

In addition to Huddleston and Rissmiller, Jorge Duany, director of the Cuban Research Institute at Florida International University, will address audience members, along with a panel of noted financial and Cuba experts.

USF Sarasota-Manatee seminar, diplomat to discuss Cuba relations

David R. Kotok

Those panelists include David Seleski, president of Stonegate Bank; Collin Laverty, president of Cuba Educational Travel; Harry Vanden, professor emeritus of government and international affairs at USF; and Stephen Kay, director of the Americas Center at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. The Americas Center seeks to understand, cooperate with and respond to changes in Latin American, Caribbean and Spanish financial institutions and markets.

David Kotok, chief investment officer at Cumberland Advisors, and Dr. Karen Holbrook, senior advisor to USF System President Dr. Judy Genshaft and executive vice president of USFSM, will provide opening remarks.

USF Sarasota-Manatee seminar, diplomat to discuss Cuba relations

Dr. Karen Holbrook

“We are exceedingly grateful to Cumberland for its partnerships with USF Sarasota-Manatee and look forward to an exciting discussion with these many experts,” Dr. Holbrook said.

The seminar costs $50 and comes with lunch. For more information or to register, visit

Sponsoring the event are: Cumberland Advisors, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, the Global Interdependence Center, ResearchOne, USF World and USF Sarasota-Manatee.

Read more news stories below or view as a list