Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Cuba Wars

With the 50 year mark of the Cuban Revolution approaching (January 1st), I'm taking the time to read what Cuba experts are saying, gather my thoughts about US-Cuba relations, and see in what direction Mambi Watch will go in the new year. I've been busy as well with other things, but I hope to post new material soon.

In the meantime, PRI's The World recently released an audio interview with Daniel P. Erikson, senior associate for U.S. policy and director of Caribbean programs at the Inter-American Dialogue, concerning his new book The Cuba Wars: Fidel Castro, the United States, and the Next Revolution.

According to the summary, Erikson's book is based on "more than a dozen trips to Cuba since 2001 and more than fifty interviews of major players in Washington, Havana, and Miami." I have not read the book yet, but the reviews are enticingly good, and the PRI interview is excellent. Here's some quotes:

"Well, I think that the rationale for the [economic] sanctions [towards Cuba] has changed over time... when the Cold War ended in the early 1990s, then the [US] rhetoric really began to shift much more towards democracy and human rights and trying to bring an end to the Castro government.

"Unfortunately, however, the sanctions have not been particularly effective in trying to hasten some form of political change in Cuba. I think, if anything, they've probably done the opposite. I would argue that isolation from the United States has actually been one of the core political strategies of the Cuban government that has allowed it to stay in power for decades."

[Click here for the PRI interview, and here for a slightly extended online version.]