Cover image for Cuba : what everyone needs to know
Cuba : what everyone needs to know
Sweig, Julia.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, [2009]

Physical Description:
xxii, 279 pages ; 22 cm
From the Publisher: Ever since Fidel Castro assumed power in Cuba in 1959, Americans have obsessed about the nation ninety miles south of the Florida Keys. America's fixation on the tropical socialist republic has only grown over the years, fueled in part by successive waves of Cuban immigration and Castro's larger-than-life persona. Cubans are now a major ethnic group in Florida, and the exile community is so powerful that every American president has kowtowed to it. But what do most Americans really know about Cuba itself? In Cuba: What Everyone Needs to Know, Julia Sweig, one of America's leading experts on Cuba and Latin America, presents a concise and remarkably accessible portrait of the small island nation's unique place on the world stage over the past fifty years. Yet it is authoritative as well. Following a scene-setting introduction that describes the dynamics unleashed since summer 2006 when Fidel Castro transferred provisional power to his brother Raul, the book looks backward toward Cuba's history since the Spanish American War before shifting to more recent times. Focusing equally on Cuba's role in world affairs and its own social and political transformations, Sweig divides the book chronologically into the pre-Fidel era, the period between the 1959 revolution and the fall of the Soviet Union, the post-Cold War era, and-finally-the looming post-Fidel era. Informative, pithy, and lucidly written, it will serve as the best compact reference on Cuba's internal politics, its often fraught relationship with the United States, and its shifting relationship with the global community.
Acknowledgments -- Introduction -- Cuba Before 1959 -- What were the main features of Cuban life during Spanish colonial rule? -- How did Cuba's independence movement gain momentum, and what was its relationship to abolition? -- Who was Jose Marti? -- How did Cuba's final war for independence begin? -- Why did the United States intervene and how did the Cuban war of independence come to be known as the Spanish-American war? -- What kind of independence did Cuba gain and what was the Platt amendment? -- What were the early years of Cuban independence like and how did the Platt amendment impact Cuba's political culture? -- Why does the United States have a naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba? -- What was the political climate out of which Fulgencio Batista first emerged? -- How did Cuban politics and US-Cuban relations evolve between 1934 and 1952? -- What were the origins of the Cuban revolution? How did it succeed? -- What role did women play in the Cuban insurrection? -- How did race relations figure into Cuba's political development during the prerevolutionary period? -- Beyond the realms of politics and economics, how closely intertwined had Cuban and American culture become by the 1950s? -- Cuban Revolution And The Cold War, 1959-91 -- Domestic -- Why did the Batista regime collapse? -- What was so special about Fidel Castro? -- What did the Communist party have to do with it all and were the Soviets involved? -- After Fidel took power, what happened to the other revolutionary groups? -- What did Che Guevara do after 1959? -- What did the first revolutionary cabinet look like? -- Was Castro really a communist? -- So, did communism mean no democracy? -- How did the revolution organize Cuban society? -- Why did Cubans start leaving for exile? -- What kind of backlash was there to the revolution's radicalization? -- What kind of benefits did the revolution deliver and to whom? -- How did race factor into the equation? -- In a notoriously patriarchal society, how did women fare under the revolution? -- What kind of space did the regime allow for intellectuals and artists? -- How did the regime deal with its adversaries in the exile community? -- How did the revolution handle religion? -- Why did the revolution make such a big deal out of sports? -- What about Cuba's human rights record during this period? -- Why did King Sugar continue to dominate Cuba's economy after the revolution? -- What were the main economic features of Cuba's integration with the Soviet bloc? -- What was "rectification"? how did Fidel and Raul Castro view the prospect of market reforms in the 1980s? -- Who was General Arnaldo Ochoa and why was he executed? -- US-Cuba -- Was there ever a chance that the United States would react well to Cuban revolutionaries? -- How much weight did US economic interests have in driving the two countries apart? -- What really happened when Castro visited Washington in 1959? -- Why did the Bay of Pigs invasion fail? -- After the invasion fiasco, did the United States continue covert operations against Cuba and how did the United States involve Cuban exiles? -- What was the Cuban missile crisis? -- How did US attempts to overthrow Castro play inside of Cuba? -- What was the scope of US economic sanctions? -- How successful was the United States in isolating Cuba in the 1960s and into the 1970s? -- What's the story behind the Kissinger/Ford secret diplomacy with Cuba in 1974? -- How did Jimmy Carter's administration approach Cuba? -- What was the Mariel boat lift? -- Why did Reagan toughen up US policy toward Cuba? -- What did Reagan do to crack down on Cuba? -- Who was Jorge Mas Canosa? -- How did the Cuban American national foundation emerge? -- What is Radio Marti? -- Cuba In The World -- Why did Fidel, Che and the other revolutionaries think they would succeed in spreading revolution in the third world? -- What were the basic objectives of the Cuban Revolution's foreign policy? -- Where was Cuba's foreign policy focused during the early years of the revolution and how did Che Guevara fit into the mix? -- How did Latin American governments react to Cuba's armed internationalism? -- How did Cuba's presence in southern Africa evolve? -- What was Cuba's role in the Horn of Africa and the Ethiopia/Somalia conflict? -- How did Cuba's foreign policy in the Middle East evolve? -- How did world events shape Cuba's relationship with the Soviet Union? -- What were the key features of Cuba's involvement in Central America and the Caribbean in the 1980s? --

Cuban Revolution After The Cold War, 1991-2006 -- Domestic -- How did the collapse of the Berlin Wall and dissolution of the Soviet bloc affect Cuba? -- How did Cuba adapt at home to the loss of Soviet subsides and global realignment brought by the Cold War's end? -- Why didn't the regime collapse? -- What were the regime's economic reforms, and why were they so limited? -- What kind of foreign investment began in Cuba, what consequences did this investment bring to the island, and how did authorities respond? -- Did Cuba attempt to emulate any other economic models during this period? -- How did artists manage to pull off such a cultural boom in the 1990s? -- What caused the 1994 balsero refugee crisis? -- How did the Cuban health care system fare in this period? -- How did Cuba cope with HIV/AIDS? -- How did human rights fare more generally during this period? -- What was the Varela project and what is it significance? -- What kind of space did the regime permit for intellectuals, especially those involved in debates over economic reform? -- How did space for organized religion evolve during this period? -- Who was Elian Gonzalez and what was his significance to Cuba and US-Cuban relations? -- How did the Elian Gonzalez affair influence Cuba's domestic politics? -- Does Cuban art and music provide an arena and space for critical expression? -- US-Cuba -- How did the United States react to the end of the Soviet era in Cuba? -- What was the Cuban democracy act, who was behind it, and what did the law intend to accomplish? -- How did the United States and Cuba resolve the 1994 refugee crisis? -- How did Cuban American activists and members of Congress react to these agreements? -- Was a broader US opening toward Cuba in the cards? -- What was Brothers to the rescue, and why did Cuba shoot down two of its planes? -- How did the United States respond? -- How did Cuba respond to Helms-Burton? -- After the dust settled from the shoot-down and Helms-Burton, how did Cuba policy take shape during Bill Clinton's second term? -- How did the death of Jorge Mas Conosa affect the Cuban American community? -- How did the Elain Gonzalez episode affect the end of the Clinton presidency, the 2000 presidential election, and the Cuban American community? -- How did September 11, 2001, attacks affect US-Cuban relations? -- Why is Cuba still on the State department's list of state sponsors of terrorism? -- Who are the "Cuban five?" -- Was Castro a target of assassination attempts during this period, and what efforts were made to prosecute their authors? -- What were the main features of US policy toward Cuba under George W Bush and how did Cuba respond? -- Cuba In The World -- How did Cuba adapt its foreign policy to the end of the Cold War? -- How did relations with Europe and Canada help Cuba survive after the Soviet collapse? -- How did Cuba use its long-cultivated clout at the United Nations? -- How did Cuba relate to Latin America in a newly democratic environment? -- What did Cuba have to do with the election of Left/populist governments in the region, especially in the Andes? -- What is the scope of Cuba's relationship with Venezuela and Hugo Chavez? -- What were the main features of Cuba's integration into the world economy after the Cold War? -- How did Cuba react to the war in Iraq? -- After Fidel, Under Raul -- Domestic -- How did the Cuban government deal with Fidel Castro's illness in 2006? -- What happened in the immediate aftermath of the announcement of Fidel's illness? -- Who is Raul Castro and why was he chosen to succeed Fidel? -- How did Cuba's provisional leadership respond as the reality of Fidel's absence took hold? -- How was Raul Castro elected president of Cuba? -- Since becoming president, what has Raul done and how have the Cubans reacted? -- How has public discourse and debate evolved under the presidency of Raul Castro? -- Will there be any political reform? -- Can Cuba's successor government open up economically without promoting unmanageable political strife? -- What is Fidel's role since he stepped down from the presidency? -- US-Cuba -- How did the United States react to the news of Fidel turning over provisional power? -- Has Raul Castro taken a different approach to the United States than his brother Fidel? -- Once a stable succession was evident, how did the US government adjust its view of Cuba? -- How has the Cuban American community reacted to Fidel's illness and Raul's assumption of the presidency? -- How did Cuba play in the 2008 presidential primaries and general election? -- What might be expected from the Obama White House in its policy toward Cuba? -- Cuba In The World -- Did the succession arouse any changes in Cuba's foreign relations? -- What are the principal features of Cuba's ties with Latin America today? -- Has Cuba expanded its ties with Russia, China, and Iran? -- What is the status of Cuba's deep-water oil exploration and what foreign governments and companies are involved? -- Has the European Union moved closer to Cuba since Fidel stepped aside? -- How extensive is Cuba's cultural projection-music, art, film, literature-on the global stage? -- Suggested reading -- Index.

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