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International and Area Studies | International Relations | Latin American Studies | Political Science


When I visited Cuba in the first few days of 1992, it was not clear that the revolution would survive. Food was in relatively short supply and electricity blackouts were common. Even long-time supporters of the revolution were pessimistic about the future. Everything that had been accomplished in its first 32 years seemed in jeopardy when the Soviet Union went out of existence at the end of 1991 and canceled most of its trade deals with Cuba. The country’s gross domestic product was in the process of shrinking by 50 percent. How did the Cuban Revolution survive that shock, and how is it now coping with the illness of Fidel Castro and the transfer of power to his brother, Raúl? The answer lies in a simple truth. The primary strength of the Cuban Revolution was never its linkage with the Soviet superpower or the leadership of Fidel Castro.


DOI: 10.1177/0094582X09332059