In This Review

The United States and Cuba: Intimate Enemies (Contemporary Inter-American Relations)
The United States and Cuba: Intimate Enemies (Contemporary Inter-American Relations)
By Marifeli Perez-Stable
Routledge, 2010, 224 pp.

A Cuban American sociologist, Pérez-Stable, expertly takes readers through the many twists and turns of U.S.-Cuban relations since Fidel Castro and Che Guevara marched into Havana in 1959. She prefers U.S. policies of engagement and dialogue, although she recognizes that neither conciliation nor confrontation has produced great breakthroughs, faulting both Castro and his enemies in the hard-line exile community for the failure of attempts at rapprochement. Pérez-Stable correctly emphasizes the poor performance of the Cuban economy and holds out some modest hope that Raúl Castro, now in power, will balance political and economic goals more effectively than his older brother did. Accompanying the main text of the book is a superb essay by the Mexican scholar Ana Covarrubias examining the falling-out between the Castro regime and Mexico, which was once socialist Cuba’s most loyal ally in the Western Hemisphere. Whereas Cuba stuck with its one-party socialism, Mexico became more democratic and capitalist, and Mexican business executives finally tired of Cuba’s arbitrary business practices. Unfortunately, the book lacks a solid theory of international relations or a fully delineated ideological perspective that would lend more clarity to its detailed narrative.