The Cold War, Latin America, and Cuban Pretensions as a Global Power

analytical Essay
1664 words
1664 words

The Cold War, Latin America, and Cuban Pretensions as a Global Power Following the Cuban Revolution of 1959 and the Castro regime’s subsequent alliance with the Soviet Union, Cuba emerged to play a substantial global role in Cold War politics. Most famously, Cuba featured as the staging ground for the super power confrontation of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Moreover, throughout the Cold War, Cuba provided near constant support for revolutionary movements across the Latin American region. Finally, Cuba provided crucial and direct military support for Marxist regimes in Africa through the mid 1970s until the early 1990s. A key and enduring topic of debate regarding Cuba’s global role in Cold War international politics centers on Cuba’s relationship with the Soviet Union: to what extent were Cuban actions independently determined, and to what extent were they dictated by her Soviet patrons? Simply posed, was Cuba little more than a satellite mercenary of the Soviet Union, or was Cuba an independent actor pursuing autonomous foreign policy goals in the Cold War world? The documents available at the Cold War International History Project of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars[1] allow new insights in addressing this debate. The original documents and expert commentary there available offers a concise examination of three aspects of Cuban Cold war global politics: the Cuban Missile Crisis, Cuban revolutionary strategy in Latin America in the 1960s, and Cuban intervention in Angola in 1975. The answer to this debate lays at a mid-point between the two poles: Cuba pursued policies that were autonomously determined endeavors of self-interest, but the possibility of pursuing... ... middle of paper ... ...of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, Palace of the Revolution, Havana, January 26, 1968, Year of the Heroic Guerrilla: Castro’s Secret 1968 Speech, CWIHP Document Library. [8] Brenner and Blight, CWIHP Document Library. [9] Jiri Valenta, “The Soviet-Cuban Intervention in Angola.” In Studies in Comparative Communism, 11 (Spring-Summer) 1975, 23. [10] “Havana’s Policy in Africa, 1959-76: New Evidence from the Cuban Archives” by Piero Gleijeses, CWIHP Document Library. [11] William J. Durch, “The Cuban Military in Africa and the Middle East: From Algeria to Angola.” In Studies in Comparative Communism, 11 (Spring-Summer) 1975, 64. [12] Transcript of Meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig, Jr., and Cuban Vice-Premier Carlos Rafael Rodriguez, Mexico City, 23 November 1981, CWIHP Documents Library. [13] Valenta, 12.

In this essay, the author

  • Describes excerpts of a speech by fidel castro, which were translated from spanish by the cuban council of state.
  • Analyzes how cuba played a substantial global role in cold war politics, including the cuban missile crisis, the revolutionary strategy in latin america, and the intervention in angola.
  • Explains that the initiative for placing soviet missiles in cuba originated in moscow, but met with cuban enthusiasm.
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