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Cuba in a Global Context

International Relations, Internationalism, and Transnationalism

Catherine Krull

Publication Year: 2014

Cuba in a Global Context examines the unlikely prominence of the island nation's geopolitical role. The contributors to this volume explore the myriad ways in which Cuba has not only maintained but often increased its reach and influence in Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.

From the beginning, the Castro regime established a foreign policy that would legitimize the revolutionary government, if not in the eyes of the United States at least in the eyes of other global actors. The essays in this volume shed new light on Cuban diplomacy with communist China as well as with Western governments such as Great Britain and Canada.

In recent years, Cubans have improved their lives in the face of the ongoing U.S. embargo. The promotion of increased economic and political cooperation between Cuba and Venezuela served as a catalyst for the Petrocaribe group. Links established with countries in the Caribbean and Central America have increased tourism, medical diplomacy, and food sovereignty across the region. Cuban transnationalism has also succeeded in creating people-to-people contacts involving those who have remained on the island and members of the Cuban diaspora. While the specifics of Cuba's international relations are likely to change as new leaders take over, the role of Cubans working to assert their sovereignty has undoubtedly impacted every corner of the globe.

Published by: University Press of Florida


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pp. C-ii

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. iii-iv


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-x

On January 1, 1959, a popular rebellion in Cuba ousted a repressive military dictatorship to the general approval and acclaim of all. As the revolutionary processes deepened, as the scope of reform expanded and crossed thresholds never before breeched, as the new prime minister, Fidel Castro, challenged long-established premises about property and privilege in Cuba,...

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pp. xi-xiv

The genesis of this book lies in an international conference on Cuba at the fiftieth anniversary of its revolution held at Queen’s University in 2009. Organized by Soraya Castro (Havana University), Louis A. Pérez Jr. (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), Susan Eckstein (Boston University), and me...

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Introduction: Cuba in a Global Context

Catherine Krull

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pp. 1-24

For more than half a century Cuba has occupied a unique position in global affairs, with a steadfast prominence that at first glance might seem unlikely for a small, developing island country nestled in the Caribbean. Indeed, Cuba has long had a significant, highly active place not just in the foreground of international relations—where Cubans found themselves at the center of the...

Part I. International Relations

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1. Disaster, Disease, and Environmental Degradation: U.S.-Cuban Cooperation as a Bridge to Reconciliation

William M. LeoGrande and Marguerite Rose Jiménez

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pp. 27-43

How do countries locked in a cycle of hostility lasting half a century move toward reconciliation? One answer, suggested by scholars and practitioners alike, is through gradual, incremental steps. During the Cold War, international relations scholars seeking to de-escalate the arms race recommended confidence-building measures—actions designed to reduce uncertainty...

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2. A Model Servant: The Revolutionary Armed Forces and Cuban Foreign Policy

Hal Klepak

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pp. 44-57

Any political science text dealing with the role of the armed forces will tend to emphasize their central role as servants of the foreign policy of a given state. The reality is often that, but it is surely equally the case that in vast portions of the world their key roles have been focused internally as much or more than externally....

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3. Cuba’s Monumental Children: Operation Peter Pan and the Intimacies of Foreign Policy

Karen Dubinsky

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pp. 58-74

As common sense tells us, and political scientists are beginning to analyze, the alleged separation of children from political citizenship is one of the mainstays of our world. “The concept of the ‘political,’” writes Helen Brocklehurst, “is formulated . . . as if separate from children. The contribution children may make to a community is often not recognized as political until it is invited to...

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4. The Role of the Courts in Shaping U.S. Policy toward Cuba

Stanley J. Murphy

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pp. 75-88

Although legislative and executive actions provide the first definition of U.S. national policy toward Cuba, the courts are often where the ultimate contours of that policy are drawn. Virtually every statute, regulation, or executive action related to Cuba leads to the filing of a lawsuit or lawsuits, and the decisions in those cases have a substantial impact on the nature of the relationship ...

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5. Cuban-Chinese Relations after the End of the Cold War

Carlos Alzugaray Treto

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pp. 89-108

In the relatively short period of twenty years since the end of the Cold War, China has become one of Cuba’s main strategic allies. Simultaneously, the Caribbean nation has turned into one of the Middle Kingdom’s most significant partners in the Western Hemisphere. From a political standpoint, Cuba and China share two important traits: their political leaders openly proclaim ...

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6. “Complicated and Far-Reaching”: The Historical Foundations of Canadian Policy toward Cuba

Asa McKercher

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pp. 109-124

Over several weeks in early 1962 Canada and the United States argued publicly over Cuba. Speaking to reporters in Vancouver, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., an aide to U.S. president John Kennedy, charged Canada with aiding and abetting Cuban revolutionary activity throughout Latin America. A few days later, while addressing an Organization of American States (OAS) summit, U.S. Secretary ...

Part II. Internationalism

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7. The Cuba-Venezuela Alliance and Its Continental Impact

Max Azicri

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pp. 127-143

For more than ten years now—since at least 1999—Cuba and Venezuela have worked together to establish a remarkable partnership based on mutual reinforcement of sociopolitical forces and historical, ideological, and personal friendship factors cemented by geographical proximity. Although the Cuban socialist regime and the Venezuelan Bolivarian process remain systemically...

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8. Santeria Commerce and the Unofficial Networks of Interpersonal Internationalism

Kevin M. Delgado

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pp. 144-159

In 2000, I spent four months in the Cuban city of Matanzas studying sacred Afro-Cuban drumming with legendary musician Cha-Chá (Esteban Vega Bacallao, 1925–2007). As the owner of prestigious drums sacred to the Santeria religion, Cha-Chá regularly employed several men of varying ages who were ritually “sworn” to his drums. The youngest of these men were in their...

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9. The Promise of Globalization: Sustainable Tourism Development and Environmental Policy in Cuba

Ricardo Pérez

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pp. 160-175

With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Eastern European socialist bloc at the start of the 1990s, Cuba suffered a major economic and political setback that forced the island government to consider alternative options for socioeconomic development and reinsertion into a globalized economy. According to estimates, in 1990 commercial trade between the Council for Mutual...

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10. The Heart of the Matter: The Impact of Cuban Medical Internationalism in the Global South

Robert Huish

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pp. 176-191

See if you can guess who said this:
Our nation supports a lot of different things. We develop water, we do economic development, we do education all over the world, we do joint research, we train soldiers, we provide weapons, and we even give money. But there is nothing more powerful that we do than to administer to the ...

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11. Cuba’s Revolutionary Agro-Ecological Movement: Learning from the Experience of Food Sovereignty

Efe Can Gürcan

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pp. 192-207

The global food crisis of 2005–8—which drove an estimated 75 million people to hunger and another 125 million people to extreme poverty1—is but a specific instance of a far more general phenomenon: the breaking up of the existing neoliberal agro-food order, which has itself been trapped in a perpetual state of emergency. An examination of the sociocultural aspects of the food crisis ...

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12. Postcards from Abroad: The Cuban Special Period through Spanish Eyes

Ana Serra

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pp. 208-224

Since the time of the Special Period (roughly 1990–2005), Cuba has attracted international attention as the last bastion of socialism in the Western world. Spain is arguably among the countries that have evidenced the greatest interest in Cuba. A 1993 Cuban government decree allowing Cuban writers and artists to publish and exhibit their work abroad opened the Spanish market to Cubans ...

Part III. Transnationalism

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13. Transnationalism and the Havana Cigar: Commodity Chains, Networks, and Knowledge Circulation

Jean Stubbs

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pp. 227-242

After the 1959 Cuban revolution, when the United States declared its trade embargo on Cuba, the race was on to produce a quality “Havana cigar” and leaf elsewhere in the Caribbean. This was a new twist to a long history. By the mid-nineteenth century the handmade “Havana” had become world famous as the luxury cigar, and while by the mid-twentieth century, in Cuba and the ...

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14. Through the Eyes of Foreign Filmmakers: Contradictions and Paradigms of Cuban Cinema after the Revolution

María Caridad Cumaná

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pp. 243-256

The global impact of the Cuban revolution emerged on the sociopolitical map of the 1960s in several different ways. Artists, politicians, sociologists, philosophers, athletes, and celebrities from many countries were curious to visit the island to see for themselves the feat of a group of bearded youngsters under the leadership of a lawyer-turned-leader of the independence...

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15. Cubans in Spain: Transnational Connections and Memories

Mette Louise Berg

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pp. 257-270

The relationship between Cuba and its post-1959 diaspora has been characterized by antagonism and mutual recrimination—and that is especially the case in relations between the Cuban government and the Miami-based exile community in the United States. Indeed, a wealthy and politically powerful sector of Cubans living in the United States has been so successful in monopolizing...

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16. Oral History and Constructions of Racial Memory

Yvette Louis

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pp. 271-286

In 1891 José Martí, Cuba’s most prominent and popular intellectual, wrote, “There is no racial hatred because there are no races.” The Cuban revolution would later take up Martí’s call and revive his status as icon in its own campaign to eradicate racial inequality. The Preamble of the Cuban Constitution ends with a quotation from Martí: “I want the first law of our Republic to be ...

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17. Cubans without Borders: From the Buildup to the Breakdown of a Socially Constructed Wall across the Florida Straits

Susan Eckstein

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pp. 287-301

In recent decades Latin Americans have accounted for about half of all immigrants to the United States, and once in the States these newcomers tend to remain deeply enmeshed in ties with their homeland. In particular, they often generously share earnings in their new country with friends, and especially family, back home, even when they struggle to make do in their new land....

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18. Ernesto Che Guevara, Dispositions, and Education for Transnational Social Justice

John D. Holst

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pp. 302-318

As part of its accreditation process, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)—the largest and most important accrediting body for U.S. teacher education programs—requires the identification of a set of dispositions, along with knowledge and skills, as core standards of evaluation in the preparation of teachers. NCATE, now with more than six hundred...

List of Contributors

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pp. 319-324


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pp. 325-335

E-ISBN-13: 9780813048628
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813049106

Page Count: 352
Publication Year: 2014