Cuba and the United States

Cuba and the United States: Ties of Singular Intimacy

Louis A. Pérez
Copyright Date: 2003
Edition: 3
Pages: 368
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  • Book Info
    Cuba and the United States
    Book Description:

    The Times Literary Supplement calls Louis A. Pérez Jr. "the foremost historian of Cuba writing in English." In this new edition of his acclaimed 1990 volume, he brings his expertise to bear on the history and direction of relations between Cuba and the United States. Of all the peoples in Latin America, the author argues, none have been more familiar to the United States than Cubans--who in turn have come to know their northern neighbors equally well. Focusing on what President McKinley called "the ties of singular intimacy" linking the destinies of the two societies, Pérez examines the points at which they have made contact--politically, culturally, economically--and explores the dilemmas that proximity to the United States has posed to Cubans in their quest for national identity. This edition has been updated to cover such developments of recent years as the renewed debate over American trade sanctions against Cuba, the Elián González controversy, and increased cultural exchanges between the two countries. Also included are a new preface and an updated bibliographical essay.

    eISBN: 978-0-8203-4007-4
    Subjects: History, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-x)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. xi-xi)
  3. [Map]
    (pp. xii-xii)
  4. Preface to the Third Edition
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. Preface
    (pp. xv-xx)
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxi-xxiii)
  7. [Map]
    (pp. xxiv-xxiv)
  8. 1 The Origins of Relations
    (pp. 1-28)

    Relations between Cuba and the United States began modestly enough through irregular commercial contacts, mostly illicit, between European colonies in the New World, trading to obtain otherwise scarce commodities or to elude exorbitant colonial taxes—and sometimes both. This trade was both practical and logical for each partner, but especially for the Cubans. The eighteenth century brought comparatively good economic times to Cuba, a period of sustained if not spectacular economic growth. Local producers and consumers were in need of wider markets for expanding production and increased imports in response to growing consumption. Much of this expanded trade centered on...

  9. 2 A Convergence of Interests
    (pp. 29-54)

    The expansion of the Cuban economy in the nineteenth century created new problems and exacerbated old ones. The rise of sugar production transformed Cuban society and announced the emergence of new social classes and new class tensions. A Creole propertied elite acquired its distinctive features during these years, shaped as much by its frustrations with colonialism as by its function in the colony. Creole elites constituted a majority of sugar planters, coffee growers, tobacco farmers, and cattle ranchers. They controlled much of the real property. They possessed wide-ranging power over the population in their domains as slave masters, employers, and...

  10. 3 At the Crossroads
    (pp. 55-81)

    The Ten Years’ War marked a transitional point for Cuba in the nineteenth century. After 1878, Spain remedied some of the structural sources of Cuban discontent, with varying degrees of success. Slavery was abolished within a decade. Trade policies were modified. In 1884 and again in 1886, Spain negotiated limited reciprocal trade agreements with the United States, eliminating the differential flag system and abolishing some of the more onerous import duties and taxes. Political concessions began auspiciously enough, and early indications suggested that this time Spain would make good on its commitment to colonial reforms.

    Certainly many Cubans believed this,...

  11. 4 Intervention and Occupation
    (pp. 82-112)

    The new separatist war began in February 1895, in much the same fashion as others before it, with localized skirmishes, mostly in remote mountain folds of eastern Cuba, initially too distant to cause planters and politicians in western Cuba much concern. Rebellion in eastern Cuba was not uncommon, and no one in power or with property had any reason to believe that the “Grito de Baire” of February 24 would end in any way other than its countless predecessors: a matter of no consequence.

    But in early summer matters assumed a sudden gravity, and what began as a local affair...

  12. 5 Context and Content of the Republic
    (pp. 113-148)

    The military occupation ended on May 20, 1902, with an appropriate mix of ceremony and celebration and with much made about the successful transition from colony to republic. But the stunted Cuban republic fashioned by the U.S. proconsuls had little relevance to Cuban social reality. Cuba’s war of liberation had produced foreign intervention, not independence, and when the U.S. military occupation ended, the conditions imposed on the exercise of national sovereignty had rendered meaningless all but the most cynical definition of independence.

    The intervention shattered the polity that had formed around Cuba Libre and in the process diffused the vigor...

  13. 6 The Purpose of Power
    (pp. 149-169)

    Relations between Cuba and the United States after 1902 tended to reflect accurately the anomalous constraints under which the republic was created. The Permanent Treaty guaranteed the United States an institutional presence in Cuban internal affairs. Increasingly the ubiquity of North American capital on the island created its own set of imperatives, around which the Cuban economy acquired its principal characteristics and from which political structures were to derive their primary purpose. Taken together, the multiple forms of U.S. hegemony in Cuba functioned as a system and affected profoundly the institutional character of the republic. Political culture, social formations, economic...

  14. 7 Stirrings of Nationality
    (pp. 170-201)

    By the 1920s, the contradictions of U.S. hegemony in Cuba had overtaken the republic. For more than two decades the United States had endeavored to create conditions in Cuba in which North American interests—political, economic, strategic—could flourish and prevail, not only against the interests of other foreigners but against Cuban ones as well. Increasingly, Cubans were reduced to marginal participation in the conduct of the affairs of their own state, operating at the edge in pursuit of their interests, in ways common to all marginalized cultures—through wile, cunning, and opportunism. They exasperated their North American patrons, outwitted...

  15. 8 Twilight Years
    (pp. 202-237)

    The crisis of the 1930s gradually ended, and many of the conditions that had been at its source were remedied or otherwise adjusted. Relations between Cuba and the United States changed when in 1934 the Platt Amendment was abrogated. The United States retained use of the Guantánamo naval station but agreed to abolish the other clauses of the 1903 Permanent Treaty. Gradually Cuban sugar recovered a larger share of the North American market, although it would never again attain the prominence it enjoyed during the 1910s and 1920s. By the terms of the Jones-Costigan Act (1934), the United States lowered...

  16. 9 Revolution and Response
    (pp. 238-282)

    The end of the Batista regime came amid a revolutionary general strike on January 1, 1959, summoning hundreds of thousands of Cubans to dramatic action against the old order, demanding nothing less than unconditional surrender to the new. The success of Cuban arms carried the island over a threshold never before crossed. Not since the nineteenth century had Cubans employed arms with such effect, and never before had the effects of Cuban arms been so complete. An unpopular government was displaced, its political allies discredited, and its armed forces defeated. Cubans had challenged a repressive regime on its own terms...

  17. Notes
    (pp. 283-310)
  18. Bibliographical Essay
    (pp. 311-326)

    One result of two centuries of the Cuba-U.S. connection has been the accumulation of an extraordinarily rich body of literature on the relations between Cubans and North Americans. This bibliographical essay does not include general histories of Cuba but concentrates instead on works that explicitly address issues derived from the Cuban-North American connection. Nor does it include general studies that treat Cuba in a larger context of U.S. relations with Latin American and/or the Caribbean. Readers interested in the larger regional and policy context should consult David F. Trask, Michael C. Meyer, and Roger R. Trask, eds., A Bibliography of...

  19. Index
    (pp. 327-336)