Cover image for Cuba : confronting the U.S. embargo
Cuba : confronting the U.S. embargo
Schwab, Peter, 1940-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
xiii, 226 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HF1500.5.U5 S38 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
HF1500.5.U5 S38 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Cuba: Confronting the US Embargo details and analyses the effects of the US embargo on Cuban society and the response of Cuba and its population to overcoming its consequences. Although the embargo disrupts and harms almost all aspects of life concentration focuses on those sectors most affected. The book is framed by the issue of human rights - from both the Cuban and the US perspective - an ideological gulf which underpins the political differences that exist between the two countries, and which raises the question of how extensively the implementation of the embargo violates the human rights of Cuba and its citizens.

Author Notes

Peter Schwab is Professor of Political Science at Purchase College, the State University of New York

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The American economic embargo against Cuba, now in its fifth decade, remains a controversial issue both in the U.S. and abroad. Certainly, reasonable people can disagree on this issue on political, economic, or even moral grounds. Unfortunately, Schwab, a professor of political science at the State University of New York, has offered only a biased and often absurd screed against the embargo and against U.S. policies toward Cuba in general. In his view, the sinkhole that is the Cuban economy is due primarily to the embargo. Even the pervasive repression of independent political activity in Cuba is viewed as a response to American hostility. Of course, Cuban ideological rigidity, corruption, and "revolutionary" arrogance are ignored or glossed over. Nevertheless, this work does have value, shedding light on the ordinary lives of Cubans and providing interesting insights into Cuba's relations with the international community. Thus, the rampant biases, one-sided and extreme statements, and occasional mindless hostility toward American positions severely limit what could have been a useful analysis of an ongoing controversy. --Jay Freeman

Publisher's Weekly Review

The Soviet Union is history, but Castro still reigns, cigar intact, in Cuba. Schwab, a professor of political science at SUNY-Purchase, eloquently delineates the human toll of an American policy that‘however one feels about Castro‘most would call a failure. If Schwab seems a little anachronistic and credulous in his acceptance of Castro's justification for his dictatorship (weren't similar defenses mustered on behalf of the "People's Democracies" of Eastern Europe?), his book is a smoothly written account of the effects of the U.S. embargo. He reviews the history of U.S. hegemony over the Caribbean and recaps the Cuban revolution (its achievements, shortcomings and American efforts to topple it), and he assesses prospects for Cuba after Castro. Despite its manifest failure to bring an end to the Castro regime, the embargo, first imposed in 1960, remains in place, its impact augmented by the collapse of the Cuban economy following the dissolution of the Eastern bloc. Interestingly, one of the ways Castro dealt with his country's economic anxiety in the 1990s was to relax restrictions on religion and allow a papal visit in 1998. Schwab focuses on the devastating effects of the embargo on Cubans' health care and nutrition and forcefully condemns the U.S. for claiming to uphold human rights while sponsoring a policy that "imposes starvation on an entire people." His distinction between the Western notion of human rights‘civil and political rights‘and what he calls the socialist or Third World concept of economic and social rights is a clear expression of an old and durable argument that, as Schwab asserts, seems likely to outlive its Cold War origins. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Choice Review

Most books on Cuba depict Fidel Castro as saint or sinner, with little unbiased analysis of what really has happened in Cuba and between Cuba and the US since 1959. A close reading of this work, however, reveals that it is indeed a careful analysis of the sins committed by both sides in the struggle that has continued since Castro seized power in Cuba. Schwab (Purchase College, SUNY) examines the US embargo on goods to Cuba and finds it to be both counterproductive and, in the case of medicines, immoral. At the same time, however, Schwab examines Castro's human rights record in Cuba and faults that record as violating the human rights of the Cuban people. Perhaps the best chapter in the book is the discussion of Castro's crackdown on human rights and the subsequent opposition engendered by Castro's actions. The existence of a small but brave group of human rights activists in Cuba, who continue to defy the Castro regime, goes largely unnoticed in the US. In addition to examining domestic and social issues, Schwab also discusses the effects of the embargo on regional and international relations and foreign policy issues. Recommended for upper-division undergraduate through faculty audiences. E. A. Duff; emeritus, Randolph-Macon Woman's College

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. v
Prefacep. vii
1 Introduction: The Embargo and Human Rights-- U.S. and Cuban Perspectivesp. 1
2 The United States, Cuba, and the Eastern Caribbeanp. 19
3 A War against Public Healthp. 53
4 Starving the Cuban Peoplep. 79
5 The Question of Religionp. 103
6 Political Dissentp. 133
7 Conclusion: Cuba's Future and the Embargop. 163
Notesp. 189
Bibliographyp. 205
Indexp. 217