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Visiting University of Havana professors to lecture on impact of Cuban embargo

February 23, 2017

Three visiting professors from the University of Havana, Cuba, will present a lecture March 8 on the Cuban embargo: Zarezka Martinez Remigio, secretary general and professor of criminal law; Ivonne Perez Gutierrez, professor of civil and procedural law; and Maritza McCormack Bequer, professor of agrarian law.

The lecture, titled “The Impact of the Blockade on Cuban Society and Perspectives on the New Policy on Foreign Investment in Cuba," will be held from 11 a.m.-noon in Cartwright Hall, Room 201. It is free and open to the public.

Drake University Law School is hosting the three professors March 6-10. In addition to the public lecture, the professors will guest teach as part of Professor Neil Hamilton’s course International Agricultural Development & Law: Cuba.

They will also meet with Drake students and faculty, the Hispanic Latino Law Student Society, and the International Law Society, as well as visit the Iowa Legislature and Iowa State Capitol.

About the speakers:

  • Zarezka Martinez Remigio is an expert in penal and criminal law. She previously served as head of the Department of Penal Sciences and Criminology and as vice dean of distance education faculty at the University of Havana. Remigio has been a visiting professor at institutions in Cape Verde, Bolivia, Venezuela, France, China, and Mexico. She is a member of the Cuban Society of Penal Sciences and has published articles in national and international journals.
  • Ivonne Perez Gutierrez is an expert in procedural and civil law. From 2001-2012, she served as representative of the National Union of Jurists of Cuba at the United Nations Commission for Human Rights. She has also been a member of the group that writes amendments to the Family Code of Cuba. Gutierrez is now secretary of the Cuban Society of Procedural Law and director of the National Union of Jurists of Cuba’s Cubalex publication.
  • Maritza McCormack Bequer is an expert in agrarian, family, and environmental law. She has been involved with various agrarian law organizations, including being a founding member and president of the Scientific Society of Agrarian Law in Cuba. In addition, Bequer is on the editorial boards of multiple national and international publications and has published books and articles in countries including Argentina, Ecuador, Brazil, Mexico, Spain, and Italy.

“The professors are all highly accomplished in their respective fields of law, and we’re excited to welcome them to campus to share their knowledge with faculty, students, and the community,” said Jerry Anderson, dean of Drake Law School.

Drake Law School has a long-standing partnership with the University of Havana.

Since 2011, Bequer and Hamilton have collaborated on pioneering research to study parallels between Cuba’s agrarian land reform program and the challenges faced by new farmers in the United States. Bequer visited Drake in 2013, becoming the first-ever Cuban law professor to receive permission to travel to the United States since the Cuban embargo began in 1962.

In 2012, a group of 18 Drake Law students led by Hamilton became the first U.S. group to visit Cuba to study agricultural law. Since then, the Law School has organized four additional student trips to learn about agricultural development, meet with Cuban agricultural lawyers, tour cooperative organic farms, and more.

Most recently, officials at Drake and the University of Havana signed a long-term agreement in 2015 to enhance the educational opportunities between the two universities. The partnership emphasizes special programs, research, and exchange of faculty, staff, and students.

“This partnership is a fine example of Drake becoming a truly global institution of higher education,” said Drake President Marty Martin at the time of the signing. “Cuba, given its unique place in the world and emerging relationship with the United States, offers a particularly appealing partnership.”

For more information, contact Ellen Yee, professor of law and director of international programs, at 515-271-1914 or ellen.yee@drake.edu.