Cuban Foreign Policy: Transformation Under Raúl Castro

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Cuban Foreign Policy: Transformation Under Raúl Castro
Edited by H. Michael Erisman and John M. Kirk
Rowman & Littlefield, 2018
314 pp.

This collection of essays by scholars who are generally sympathetic to the Cuban Revolution struggles to decide whether the foreign policies of Raúl Castro, who served as president of Cuba from 2008 to 2018, represented essential continuity or a major break with those of his older brother and predecessor, Fidel. Raúl Castro certainly succeeded in diversifying Cuba’s international commercial relations, although the chronic weakness of the country’s domestic economy prevented the island from fully capitalizing on his shrewd diplomacy. In a strategic failure, Castro did not adequately prepare Cuba’s energy sector for the collapse of the country’s close ally Venezuela. Cuba now faces a much less friendly external environment than it did a mere two years ago, when the contributions to this volume were written. In both the United States and Latin America, governments have come to power that are hostile or indifferent toward Havana. The volume’s chapters on China and Russia suggest that neither power is likely to step full force into the breach. In retrospect, the decade of Raúl Castro’s rule appears as a fleeting golden era for Cuban foreign policy.

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