We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Democracy Delayed

The Case of Castro's Cuba

Juan J. López

Publication Year: 2002

With the dissolution of the Soviet Union, foreign policy analysts and international relations scholars expected communist Cuba to undergo transitions to democracy and to markets as had the Eastern European nations of the former Soviet bloc. But more than a decade after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Castro remains in power, with no sign that the Cuban government or economy is moving toward liberalization. In Democracy Delayed, political scientist Juan López offers a searching and detailed analysis of the factors behind Cuba's failure to liberalize. López begins by comparing the political systems of three Eastern European states—the former German Democratic Republic, Czechoslovakia, and Romania—with that of Cuba, in order to identify the differences that have allowed Castro to maintain his hold over the government and the economy. López also shows the various conditions promoting change, including the development of civil society groups in Cuba, and discusses why some U.S. policies help the possibility of democratization in Cuba while others hinder it. While the Catholic Church in Poland and the Protestant Church in East Germany fostered change, the Catholic Church in Cuba has not taken a defiant stance against authoritarianism but seems instead to be biding its time until Castro is out of the picture. In conclusion, López argues that a political transition in Cuba is possible even under the government of Fidel Castro. Some necessary conditions have been missing, but it is possible that U.S. policies could lay the groundwork for democratic charge.

Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

pdf iconDownload PDF (49.8 KB)


pdf iconDownload PDF (46.9 KB)
pp. vii-viii

read more

Preface and Acknowledgments

pdf iconDownload PDF (35.8 KB)
pp. ix-xii

As I was revising my dissertation on the political economy of Argentina to submit it to a publisher, momentous developments were taking place in Cuba. Civil society was being re-created after a long period of near extinction. The Castro regime showed signs of weakness. It faced a severe economic crisis and had lost its Soviet patron. ...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (136.2 KB)
pp. xiii-xxxvi

In the immediate aftermath of the fall of communist dictatorships in Eastern Europe, a widespread expectation emerged that the domino effect would reach the Caribbean without much delay. As the Castro dictatorship nonetheless endured, explanations for its staying power proliferated. ...

read more

1. The Castro Regime and Political Transition

pdf iconDownload PDF (153.8 KB)
pp. 1-28

Major theoretical works on transitions to democracy concur that dictatorships tend to fall when faced with crises. From the perspective of the model of transitions based on the experiences of Latin America and Southern Europe, Przeworski observes that splits in authoritarian power blocs are induced by signs of an imminent crisis, ...

read more

2. Civil Society and Repression

pdf iconDownload PDF (137.7 KB)
pp. 29-54

Two objections to the argument that a transition from below is possible in Cuba are that, in contrast to Eastern European countries, civil society in Cuba is too “weak” and government repression is too strong. These objections are usually presented as two sides of the same coin, with the alleged weakness of civil society explained in terms of the degree of repression. ...

read more

3. Political Efficacy and Independent Communication

pdf iconDownload PDF (160.0 KB)
pp. 55-84

The concept of political efficacy was introduced to political science by Angus Campbell in 1954.1 It has been defined as “the feeling that individual political action does have or can have an impact upon the political process.”2 There is strong empirical evidence supporting the association between a feeling of efficacy and political participation.3 ...

read more

4. Assistance to Civil Society

pdf iconDownload PDF (124.2 KB)
pp. 85-109

Civil society activists can help develop a widespread sense of political efficacy in a population by conveying messages and information to that population. Citizens can be encouraged to participate in acts of defiance against a regime. Also, activists can inform people about outrageous acts committed by the authorities, and wrath can move people to engage in public protests. ...

read more

5. U.S. Policies toward Cuba

pdf iconDownload PDF (88.0 KB)
pp. 110-124

Before discussing the policies toward Cuba during the presidency of Bill Clinton, I want to provide an overview of the Cuba policies of previous American administrations since 1959. Doing so will identify the policy goals over time and whether anything changed in the Clinton years. ...

read more

6. The Economic Embargo

pdf iconDownload PDF (170.9 KB)
pp. 125-158

Whether the United States should maintain its economic embargo on the Castro government has been a controversial issue for a long time, but since the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (Libertad) Act of 1996, commonly known as the Helms–Burton Act, was enacted in March 1996, the degree of contention has reached an unprecedented degree of intensity.1 ...

read more

7. Conclusions

pdf iconDownload PDF (100.8 KB)
pp. 159-181

Some scholars analyzing the demise of communist rule in Eastern Europe argue that the problems those dictatorships faced were so severe that they had to fall.1 Yet while those problems or underlying conditions were necessary for the transitions, they were not sufficient. The list of conditions presented was incomplete. ...


pdf iconDownload PDF (181.9 KB)
pp. 182-216


pdf iconDownload PDF (77.3 KB)
pp. 217-226


pdf iconDownload PDF (438.3 KB)
pp. 227-232

E-ISBN-13: 9780801877728
E-ISBN-10: 0801877725
Print-ISBN-13: 9780801870460
Print-ISBN-10: 0801870461

Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2002