That Infernal Little Cuban Republic: The United States and the Cuban Revolution

That Infernal Little Cuban Republic: The United States and the Cuban Revolution

That Infernal Little Cuban Republic: The United States and the Cuban Revolution

That Infernal Little Cuban Republic: The United States and the Cuban Revolution


Cuba has regularly given Washington a headache, Lars Schoultz observes in his comprehensive chronicle of U. S. policy toward the Cuban Revolution. Seeking relief, even the most patient U. S. officials have often been tempted to repeat what an exasperated President Theodore Roosevelt told a friend in 1906: "I am so angry with that infernal little Cuban republic that I would like to wipe its people off the face of the earth."

Certainly that has been true since 1959, when a group of rebels led by Fidel Castro ousted Fulgencio Batista, a dictator known for his friendly ties to the United States, and proceeded to cause more trouble than anyone could have imagined. Using a rich array of documents and firsthand interviews with U. S. and Cuban officials, Schoultz tells the story of the attempts and failures of ten U. S. administrations to end the Cuban Revolution. He covers everything from the legendary 1960s plot to assassinate Castro using a rigged ballpoint pen to the message that recently ran across the electronic billboard of the U. S. interests section in Havana: "Communism doesn't work because people like to own stuff"--a comment attributed to the late rocker Frank Zappa.

Schoultz argues that despite the overwhelming advantage in size and power that the United States enjoys over its neighbor, the Cubans' historical insistence on their right to self-determination has inevitably irritated American administrations, influenced both U. S. domestic politics and foreign policy, and led to a freeze in diplomatic relations of unprecedented longevity. Schoultz's analysis illuminates what has been a highly unproductive foreign policy and points to fresh prospects as a new century of U. S.-Cuban relations begins.


Imagine living in a neighborhood where the family across the street irritates you. It's a wide street, fortunately, so most of the time you can simply ignore them, but every so often they do something annoying— your kids go over to play with theirs and wobble back home with the marijuana giggles, or these neighbors welcome some out-of-town houseguests who are clearly up to no good, placing you nervously on guard until you see them leave. Or what about that morning when you awoke to discover that a few of their many children had pitched a tent in your front yard, complaining they can no longer endure living at home? They apparently intend to stay forever.

Then imagine that you try not to let all this bother you. You understand that these neighbors haven't had your advantages. They come from different stock—a “tropical” people, outwardly cheerful but hopelessly emotional and pathologically frenetic, investing most of their energy in billowy arm-waving and oral pyrotechnics. Style is fairly insignificant, of course, but when combined with the irresponsible behavior, it all adds up, sometimes to the point where you simply cannot take any more. That's when you march across the street to set them straight. Usually, you don't have to do anything more than raise your voice—they know the consequences when you get angry, so they quickly promise to behave better. Yet can they? Probably not without your help, which requires lots of solid advice and sometimes a modest loan but also makes you feel good. After you've set . . .

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