The Cuban Embargo

The Cuban Embargo: Domestic Politics Of American Foreign Policy

Patrick J. Haney
Walt Vanderbush
Copyright Date: 2005
DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wrc6s
Pages: 262
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  • Book Info
    The Cuban Embargo
    Book Description:

    The United States and Cuba share a complex, fractious, interconnected history. Before 1959, the United States was the island nation's largest trading partner. But in swift reaction to Cuba's communist revolution, the United States severed all economic ties between the two nations, initiating the longest trade embargo in modern history, one that continues to the presentday.The Cuban Embargoexamines the changing politics of U.S. policy toward Cuba over the more than four decades since the revolution.

    While the U.S. embargo policy itself has remained relatively stable since its origins during the heart of the Cold War, the dynamics that produce and govern that policy have changed dramatically. Although originally dominated by the executive branch, the president's tight grip over policy has gradually ceded to the influence of interest groups, members of Congress, and specific electoral campaigns and goals. Haney and Vanderbush track the emergence of the powerful Cuban American National Foundation as an ally of the Reagan administration, and they explore the more recent development of an anti-embargo coalition within both civil society and Congress, even as the Helms-Burton Act and the George W. Bush administration have further tightened the embargo. Ultimately they demonstrate how the battles over Cuba policy, as with much U.S. foreign policy, have as much to do with who controls the policy as with the shape of that policy itself.

    eISBN: 978-0-8229-7271-6
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wrc6s.1
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wrc6s.2
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-x)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wrc6s.3
  4. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wrc6s.4
  5. 1 Introduction: The Changing Politics of the Cuban Embargo
    (pp. 1-10)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wrc6s.5

    The U.S. embargo of Cuba began under President Eisenhower in 1960, was tightened after the end of the cold war in 1991, and was codified into law during the Clinton administration in the controversial 1996 Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act (LIBERTAD), known as “Helms-Burton” for its sponsors. While on the surface there is clearly an impressive amount of policy continuity here, we try to show in this book that starting in the Reagan administration and continuing to this day the dynamics that drive U.S.-Cuba policy have changed greatly since the 1950s. The embargo is still with us; a simple...

  6. 2 The Making of an Embargo: U.S.-Cuban Relations, 1959–1980
    (pp. 11-30)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wrc6s.6

    The United States and Cuba share a complicated and interconnected history. A full examination of this history, particularly of the preembargo (and pre–Cuban revolution) period, is beyond the scope of this book, which focuses on the politics of Cuba policy from the Reagan administration to the present.¹ We try here, however, to orient readers, especially those less familiar with the background of U.S.-Cuban relations, to the dynamics of U.S.-Cuba policy from the time of the Cuban revolution to the election of Ronald Reagan. Following the rise of Fidel Castro, U.S. presidents from Eisenhower through Carter struggled to find ways...

  7. 3 The Reagan Administration and the Cuban American National Foundation
    (pp. 31-52)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wrc6s.7

    The Reagan campaign and administration had plans to overhaul U.S. policy toward Latin America, and policy toward Cuba was a key part of their plans. But Congress, and especially the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, posed a major hurdle to the administration’s aim of taking a more aggressively anticommunist stance in the hemisphere. Congress had become far more active in the foreign policy arena since Vietnam and Watergate, and the Reagan team wanted and sought help on the Hill. Toward this end, the new Cuban American National Foundation (CANF) would become a strategic partner for the Reagan administration.

    Studies of American...

  8. 4 The Reagan Administration, Cuba, and the Cold War
    (pp. 53-73)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wrc6s.8

    Most analyses of the Reagan administration’s foreign policy toward Latin America are dominated by discussions of the Central American cases, particularly Nicaragua and El Salvador.¹ We argue that the Cuba case, however, was central to the debate about U.S. policy in the region during the 1980s. CANF worked together with the Reagan administration to pursue their common cold war agendas. The Reagan administration and CANF agreed that leftist governments in Central America and the Caribbean needed to be confronted vigorously, both those that already existed, as in Cuba and Nicaragua, and those that might come to power, as in El...

  9. 5 The Rise of Congress and the Fall of the Cold War: The George H. W. Bush Administration
    (pp. 74-91)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wrc6s.9

    The 1989 inauguration of George Herbert Walker Bush as president of the United States seemed to give hope to both sides in the debate over U.S. policy toward Cuba as the cold war began to wind down. Those who wished to see better relations between the United States and Cuba could point to Bush as more pragmatic than President Reagan, and thus perhaps more likely to deal with Castro’s Cuba during a time of great international change.¹ Even the Santa Fe group, whose strong positions on Central America and Cuba bolstered the Reagan campaign and administration earlier, had now come...

  10. 6 The Road to Helms-Burton: The First Clinton Administration
    (pp. 92-109)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wrc6s.10

    By the time William Jefferson Clinton took the oath of office in January 1993, Cuba policy rested firmly inside the complex dynamics of domestic politics. Following the 1992 Cuban Democracy Act, the initiative behind Cuba policy in the first Clinton administration largely moved out of the White House and onto Capitol Hill. While this trend began before the end of the cold war, it accelerated in the years following its demise. In this period it was perhaps common to argue that policy makers were hostages to the Cuban American National Foundation,¹ a forceful supporter of the embargo, but the evidence...

  11. 7 The President Strikes Back
    (pp. 110-130)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wrc6s.11

    The passage of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act in 1996 would seem to have put to rest the academic debate over which branch controls Cuba policy. Helms-Burton codified the U.S. embargo of Cuba into law and thus appeared to put Congress in the driver’s seat on making—and changing—Cuba policy. But in the years since President Clinton signed Helms-Burton there have been a number of moves on Cuba policy that suggest the struggle over control of Cuba policy is far from settled.

    In order to explain the changing politics of making policy toward Cuba, and the continuing...

  12. 8 George W. Bush and the Struggle for Control
    (pp. 131-154)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wrc6s.12

    The 2000 election seemed to offer little difference between the two major-party presidential candidates on Cuba policy. Neither ticket was oriented toward lifting, or easing, the embargo.¹ In Florida, Gore probably hoped that with the help of Joe Lieberman, a long time hardline supporter of the embargo, he might offset the Bush family’s statewide connections to Cuban Americans. But even though Gore’s public position on Cuba and Elian Gonzalez mirrored that of his opponent, his association with the Clinton-Reno actions toward the Cuban boy likely penalized the sitting vice president. The Cuban American leadership in Miami campaigned tirelessly for George...

  13. 9 Conclusion
    (pp. 155-170)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wrc6s.13

    A standard interpretation of U.S.-Cuba policy from the 1959 Cuban revolution to the present would focus on the apparent continuity. For more than forty-five years, Fidel Castro has remained in power, and now long after the end of the cold war and the threat from the Soviet Union the United States still wages a cold war with Cuba through the embargo that began under Dwight Eisenhower.¹ Even Castro sounded this theme recently when at the end of a five-and-a-half-hour speech in early 2004 he suggested that President George W. Bush has plans to assassinate him.² While we know of no...

  14. Notes
    (pp. 171-200)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wrc6s.14
  15. Bibliography
    (pp. 201-214)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wrc6s.15
  16. Index
    (pp. 215-222)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wrc6s.16