Fifty Years of Revolution: Perspectives on Cuba, the United States, and the World

Fifty Years of Revolution: Perspectives on Cuba, the United States, and the World

Fifty Years of Revolution: Perspectives on Cuba, the United States, and the World

Fifty Years of Revolution: Perspectives on Cuba, the United States, and the World

Synopsis

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.

Excerpt

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, and many citizens in both countries were fully conscious of the special, sometimes explosive nature of their historic connection.

Cold war sparks flashing over decades had steadily illuminated agitated calculations of threat and heated calls for vigilance—from the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis to the conflicts in Angola, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, and El Salvador, for example. In addition—and significantly—historically more distant experiences gave added resonance to the mutual sensitivities of Cubans and Americans toward each other. After all, more than a century of problematic interaction preceded the triumph of the 1959 revolution, and historians in both countries have long since fleshed out a many-chaptered saga: pre–Monroe Doctrine speculation about the way a “ripe fruit” island might fall into the U.S. lap, the turn-of-the-twentieth-century military occupation that hemmed in Cuba’s drive for genuine independence (using the Platt Amendment as a sword of Damocles), and the interventions that continued to limit Cuban sovereignty across the decades.

Whether a reminder was needed or not, however, the fiftieth anniversary of the 1959 revolution highlighted the drama inherent in the CubanU.S. saga—and served as a highly appropriate occasion for reviewing its history. The completion of this particular half century provided a valuable opportunity for cool reflection. Among other things, for example, assessment could now be richly informed by both significantly expanded archival evidence and the retrospective insights of many key participants in the fraught encounters that unfolded after the revolution’s initial triumph.

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