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Fifty Years of Revolution

Perspectives on Cuba, the United States, and the World

Soraya M. Castro Mariño

Publication Year: 2012

In the years since the Cuban Revolution in 1959, eleven men have served as president of the United States, arguably the most powerful nation on earth. Yet none of them has been able to effect any significant change in the stalemate between the United States and Cuba, its closest neighbor not to share a land border.

Fifty Years of Revolution features contributions from an international Who's Who gallery of leading scholars. The volume adopts a uniquely nonpartisan attitude, a departure from this topic's generally divisive nature.

Emerging from a series of meetings, conference panels, and lectures, the book coheres more strongly than the typical essay collection. Organized to analyze--not describe--Cuba’s foreign relations, the work examines sanctions, the embargo, regime change, Guantánamo, the exile community, and more.

Drawing from personal experiences as well as recently declassified documents, these essays update, summarize, and explain one of the prickliest political issues in the Western Hemisphere today.

Published by: University Press of Florida

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v-vi


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pp. vii

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pp. 1-10

It did not take the fiftieth anniversary of the Cuban Revolution to prompt awareness of the drama and significance inherent in the relationship between Cuba and the United States. Long before 2009, political leaders, scholars, media observers..

Part I. Cuba in the Global Context

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1. U.S. Policy toward Latin America since 1959: How Exceptional Is Cuba?

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pp. 13-29

U.S. policy toward revolutionary Cuba has differed from its policy toward the rest of Latin America. The United States suspended normal diplomatic relations with the island’s revolutionary government on January 3, 1961, and when President Eisenhower...

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2. An Island on the Doorstep of the World: Cuba’s Place in U.S. Global Visions

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pp. 30-51

The United States was a “Great Power” with global ambitions long before Fidel Castro’s forces took control of Havana in 1959—and there has always been a deeper saga at the core of the old and complex Cuban-U.S. relationship. While contemplation of the Cuban Revolution’s fiftieth anniversary has a way of prompting...

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3. “Flicking the Eagle’s Feathers”?: Cuba, Revolution, and the International System

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pp. 52-71

In many ways the twentieth century was a century of revolutions. Despite the long shadow of two global clashes, for some the endless conflicts surrounding the two world wars are what shed more light on the nature of the international arena...

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4. Havana and Moscow: The Washington Factor

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pp. 72-89

During the cold war Cuba was able to break traditional international relations thinking and obtain a disproportionately large amount of power in geopolitics for a small Caribbean island. The character of the Cuban leader Fidel Castro was important in explaining this phenomenon, but Havana’s relationship with..

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5. Does the Canada-Cuba Relationship Offer Any Lessons for Washington?

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pp. 90-116

These noticeably and largely uncharacteristically blunt remarks by a senior U.S. State Department official are emblematic of how Washington has consistently viewed the Canada-Cuba relationship since 1959. It also nicely encapsulates the decades-long U.S. approach to Cuba—that is, no truck or trade with...

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6. The European Union and Cuba

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pp. 117-134

Fifty years after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution and the establishment of a Marxist-Leninist regime in Cuba, the two fundamental dimensions of this historical phenomenon are the survival of the system created by Fidel Castro and the U.S. policy designed to terminate it. Less known is the relationship...

Part II. Cuba and the United States, 1959–2009

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7. The Personal Is Political: Animus and Malice in the U.S. Policy toward Cuba, 1959–2009

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pp. 137-166

For almost fifty years the United States has pursued a policy designed to remove the government of Fidel Castro from power. The policy persisted after the transfer of power from Fidel Castro to Raúl Castro. It passed from one presidential administration to another, through ten successive administrations—three...

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8. The Eisenhower-Castro Years: The United States, Cuba, and the Challenges of Change

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pp. 167-183

The aftermath of World War II brought changes in international relations that would continue until the end of the twentieth century. The 1940s and 1950s saw the United States emerge as a power focused on building and consolidating its hegemony on a global scale, implementing new models and mechanisms for...

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9. The Kennedy-Castro Years

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pp. 184-198

With less than 0.2 percent of the earth’s population, and occupying less than 0.1 percent of its landmass, Cuba rarely dominates the headlines. Yet in the fall of 1962, Cuba was the most important place in the world. Soviet Chairman Nikita Khrushchev’s attempt to sneak strategic nuclear missiles into Cuba caught U.S. President John Fitzgerald Kennedy off guard and precipitated the...

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10. The Johnson-Nixon-Castro Years: Superpower Containment of Cuba

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pp. 199-222

At a meeting of the National Security Council in February 1959, Allen W. Dulles, director of the CIA, asserted that “the new Cuban officials had to be treated more or less like children. They had to be led rather than rebuffed. If they were rebuffed, like children, they were capable of doing almost anything.”1, Deputy...

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11. The Nixon-Ford-Castro Years

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pp. 223-236

The years of Richard Nixon’s and Gerald Ford’s presidencies proved to be an important period in U.S.-Cuban relations. A comprehensive review of U.S. foreign policy—influenced by both international and domestic factors—included a reassessment of the policy toward Cuba that involved both Congress...

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12. The Carter-Castro Years: A Unique Opportunity

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pp. 237-260

Fidel Castro stuck his long, pale index finger in my chest. “Pastor,” he said with his intimidating voice, “you don’t have to tell me about the policy of the United States. I know the policy. I have people at the highest levels of your government.” The words...

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13. The Reagan-Castro Years: The “New Right” and Its Anti-Cuban Obsession

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pp. 261-278

Nothing essential was modified in the issues that framed the dispute between the United States and Cuba when Ronald Reagan assumed the presidency of the United States on January 20, 1981. What did radically change was the concept that the new administration in the United States had already...

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14. The George H. W. Bush–Clinton–Castro Years: From the Cold War to the Colder War (1989–2001)

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pp. 279-302

Hundreds of thousands of Cuban troops deployed to nearly every corner of the globe—that seemed to be the nightmare of every U.S. administration from the mid-1970s to the end of the 1980s. From its own perspective, President...

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15. The George W. Bush–Castro Years

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pp. 303-332

On November 22, 2000, as Cuban Americans menacingly demonstrated outside the Stephen P. Clark Government Center, the Miami-Dade County Canvassing Board abruptly cut short its effort to hand-count 10,750 votes that machines had not recorded. A full tally of the “undercounted” ballots arguably could...

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16. The New Cuban American Politics: Passion, Affection, Dollars, and the Emergence of MiHavana

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pp. 333-346

Much has been written about the impact of Cuban Americans on U.S. policy toward Cuba. From scholarly and journalistic accounts a portrait emerges of a single-minded ethnic enclave whose power has commandeered (some would say hijacked) Washington’s decisions vis-à-vis the island. The...

Part III. Visions of the Future

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17. Transitology, Realpolitik—and Todo lo Contrario: Old and New Futures in U.S.-Cuban Relations

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pp. 349-358

Castro’s Final Hour (1992) by the award-winning Miami Herald journalist Andrés Oppenheimer, once touted as “the definitive book on Cuba in the past decade” (Dallas Morning News), is now sold on the Internet as a collectible.1 Paradoxically...

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18. U.S.-Cuban Relations: Prospects for Cooperative Coexistence

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pp. 359-373

On January 2, 2009, the Cuban government celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of its revolutionary birth and a half century of survival in the face of unmitigated hostility from the United States. Although the world changed dramatically over those decades, the fundamental conflict between Havana and Washington...

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19. The Time for Cuba Is Coming

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pp. 374-382

What Cuba has accomplished since the end of its 1959 revolution to the present is historic. One hundred years from now books will refer to the history of Latin America and, in particular, the history of Cuba as a fundamental component of what happened to the continent during the latter half of the twentieth...


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pp. 383-400

List of Contributors

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pp. 401-408


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pp. 409-423

Further Reading

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E-ISBN-13: 9780813043616
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813040233
Print-ISBN-10: 081304023X

Page Count: 400
Publication Year: 2012

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Cuba -- History -- Revolution, 1959.
  • Cuba -- Foreign relations.
  • Cuba -- Foreign relations -- United States.
  • United States -- Foreign relations -- Cuba.
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