The Institute of World Politics is pleased to welcome Dr. Tania C. Mastrapa as a research professor in Cuban and Latin American studies. "We are certain that her expertise will further the Institute's mission and our students' proficiency in this critical, though under-appreciated, area of study," says IWP president John Lenczowski.
Dr. Mastrapa is a former guest lecturer at the Institute, having spoken at IWP's Kosciuszko Chair Spring Symposium in May 2011. She comments:
As a student of international relations, I was surprised to discover that most classmates had virtually no interest, knowledge or understanding of Latin America's ethnic and racial diversity. Latin Americans are not biologically, economically and politically indistinguishable. An acute cognizance of this reality is crucial to the formation of U.S. policy on immigration and national security. Current migration patterns to Latin America indicate that the region's geographical proximity provides a beachhead for sponsors of terrorism particularly in Venezuela. Transnational drug and human trafficking organizations are permitted to operate and enabled by Latin American governments. Fugitives from U.S. justice find safe harbor in countries like Cuba. I hope that students at IWP will benefit from research and lectures on these issues so that they may enter or return to the workforce with more in depth knowledge and superior skills to those from other graduate programs.
A key component of transitional justice is the restoration of private property rights, especially through the return of original properties to owners and heirs. The satisfactory resolution of claims on confiscated property in Cuba will provide justice for historical owners, an incentive for exiles to return and participate in a new Cuba and an increased probability of domestic Cubans who remain to rebuild their families' returned farms and businesses. Efforts by Communist elites and others to sell confiscated assets through sketchy privatization schemes will establish a market built on stolen property.
I am thrilled to join such a prestigious roster of intellectuals at The Institute of World Politics.
Dr. Mastrapa is a specialist in Communist and post-Communist property reform in Europe and Latin America. She is the founder of Mastrapa Consultants, a practice that focuses on the areas of privatization and confiscated property in Cuba. She also assists prospective foreign investors seeking to avoid trafficking in confiscated property on the island. Dr. Mastrapa and her co-author are under contract with Ashgate to publish their upcoming book The Evolution of Private Property in Cuba: Lessons from Albania, Estonia and Russia. She has also published works on art looting, property claims, compensation taxation, and transitional justice.
Dr. Mastrapa speaks frequently throughout Europe and North America about post Communist property restitution. Her academic and research interests include exile studies, immigration, and transitional justice.