Julia Sweig Named UCSC Distinguished Alumni in 2011

July 08, 2011

Leading expert on Latin America policy
Porter College • 1986, B.A. Latin American studies Current position: Nelson and David Rockefeller senior fellow for Latin America studies and director for Latin America studies, Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)
Julia Sweig is an internationally recognized authority on Latin America and U.S. foreign policy, especially with respect to Latin America.

An award-winning and prolific writer, she is the author of Inside the Cuban Revolution: Fidel Castro and the Urban Underground (2002) and Friendly Fire: Losing Friends and Making Enemies in the Anti-American Century (2006). Sweig's most recent book is Cuba: What Everyone Needs to Know (2009). Her writing also appears in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Financial TimesForeign AffairsCigar Aficionado, The Nation and a host of international publications—in Spain, Mexico, Brazil, and Cuba, for example. She is researching a new political biography about the people behind Brazil's new global footprint.

Sweig says that UCSC's interdisciplinary Latin American Studies program provided ideal preparation for her career, and it also gave her the opportunity to work with inspirational faculty who included Saul Landau, Sonia Alvarez, Gabriel Berns, and Jim O'Connor. She notes that she also misses riding her bike up and down the steep UCSC hill, and adds, "I'd love to be back on that bike!"