ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Letter from Havana

The recently concluded Third International Conference of Economists in Havana delivered a scathing criticism of the impact of neo-liberalism and market forces on Latin America. This region has seen widespread devastation following the slow down of the US economy - a fall in commodity prices; decline in per capita income have conspired to make it much poorer than it had been in 1980.

Historians will record a triple concatenation of events of singular importance that exercised a formative impact on the debate on globalisation and international economic relations, presently, and in the immediate years ahead. They transpired in the first month of the 21st century in the third millennium in three different geographical locations: Havana, Porto Alegre and Davos. The Third International Conference of Economists (January 29-February 2) held in Havana was a watershed in everything that preceded it. It straddled four major themes: world monetary and debt crises; sustainable and alternative development strategies; economic integration; development processes and their trajectories.

The Havana Conference embraced rigorous analyses of the Cuban economy in the plenary session by leading economic cabinet ministers. No shortcomings in its performance were papered over. These four themes in turn were subdivided into several sub-themes. There were more than a thousand participants including peasant and worker organisations, intellectuals of diverse ideological persuasions, international agencies and non-governmental organisations.

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