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News Release: CFR Latin America Studies Director Authors Primer on History and Politics of Cuba

July 16, 2009
Council on Foreign Relations

In her new book, CUBA: What Everyone Needs to Know, CFR Senior Fellow and Director for Latin America Studies Julia E. Sweig provides a straightforward guide to Cuba's politics, its often fraught relationship with the United  States, and its shifting role in the global community. Award-winning author Sweig has toured the island's prisons, lived with Cuban families following the collapse of the Soviet Union, conducted research in government archives, and interviewed hundreds of Cubans over the last two decades.

CUBA, deemed "an excellent and refreshingly evenhanded primer" by the Los Angeles Times, is divided into four sections:

  • "Cuba Before 1959;"
  • "The Cuban Revolution and the Cold War, 1959-1991;"
  • "The Cuban Revolution After the Cold War, 1991-2006;" and
  • "After Fidel, Under Raul, 2006-present."

Using a question and answer format, Sweig authoritatively answers:

  • Why does the United States have a naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba?
  • What were the origins of the Cuban Revolution? How did it succeed?
  • How successful was the United States in isolating Cuba in the 1960s and into the 1970s?
  • How did Cuba cope with HIV/AIDS?
  • How did the collapse of the Berlin wall and dissolution of the Soviet bloc affect Cuba? Why didn't the regime collapse?
  • How did human rights conditions on the island fare during the post-Cold War period?
  • How did the Elián González affair influence Cuba's domestic politics?
  • Why is Cuba still on the State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism?
  • What is the scope of Cuba's relationship with Venezuela and Hugo Chávez?
  • Has Raul Castro taken a different approach to the United States than his brother Fidel?
  • What might be expected from the Obama White House in its policy toward Cuba?

The book is a part of Oxford's new What Everyone Needs to Know series and is designed to be a comprehensive, accessible resource on the unique history of Cuba since Spanish colonization.

ADVANCE PRAISE FOR CUBA:

"Excellent and refreshingly evenhanded.... [It] packs a phenomenal amount of complex history into clear and simple prose."
-Los Angeles Times

To order, visit: www.cfr.org/cuba_book/

Julia E. Sweig is the Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies and Director for Latin America Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. She is the author of Inside the Cuban Revolution (winner of the AHA Herbert Feis award for the best book of the year by an independent scholar) and Friendly Fire: Losing Friends and Making Enemies in the Anti-American Century.

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher dedicated to being a resource for its members, government officials, business executives, journalists, educators and students, civic and religious leaders, and other interested citizens in order to help them better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other countries.

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