Power to the People: Energy and the Cuban Nuclear Program

Power to the People: Energy and the Cuban Nuclear Program

Power to the People: Energy and the Cuban Nuclear Program

Power to the People: Energy and the Cuban Nuclear Program

Synopsis

Analyzing energy development in Cuba both before and after the Cold War this book also discusses the risks and opportunities associated with the development and expansion of the Cuban energy sector. Topics covered include: * energy security * energy requirements * the impact of Russian assistance * international energy cooperation * American opposition to Cuban efforts * future investments.

Excerpt

My interest in Cuba’s nuclear program began innocently enough in 1991 with a request by William C. Potter, the director at Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) at the Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS) to assist a visiting Russian scholar, Alexander Belkin, with a research paper. in my capacity as the project manager at cns of the then “Emerging Nuclear Suppliers Project,” I was familiar with stories and reports that Cuba was attempting to build a nuclear reactor. I was also aware that a recent defector was claiming that the construction was unsafe and that Cuba was also secretly building a nuclear weapons capability. My collaboration with Belkin resulted in a journal article and a trip in 1992 to Cuba. During that trip all of my requests for interviews and materials related to the nuclear program were fruitless. I did visit Cienfuegos, the provincial capital, and met with nuclear officials at their office in town, but I got no closer to the Juragua construction site than a ten-kilometer view across the bay.

I maintained my research interest in the program and eventually received funding to visit the island again in 1995. I was interested in assessing the impact of Cuba’s loss of their economic support from the former Soviet Union and its successor, the Russian Federation, on its effort to complete construction of the nuclear reactor at Juragua. Rather than subject myself to the vagaries of the Cuban bureaucracy, I decided that I would go only when I could have a reasonable assurance that I would be able to conduct field research. Thus I waited one year until I was given the “proper” visa and assurances from officials that I could successfully address my research objectives in Cuba. I arrived in January 1996 to a pleasant surprise. At my initial meeting with government officials at the Ministerio de Relacíones Extranjeras (MINREX) I was informed that all of my requests for interviews with officials in myriad government agencies associated with the nuclear program had been approved. the next ten days would open a world of discovery to the complexity of Cuba’s grandest technological undertaking since the revolution. Moreover, I also discovered that the

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