Cuba: From Conquistador to Castro

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This book provides a detailed history of Cuba from the earliest times to the present. Particular emphasis is given to the continuation of the 35-year-long US economic embargo of the island in the context of Cuba's struggle for survival in the so-called 'Special Period', following the collapse of the Socialist bloc. The history is traced from before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the late fifteenth century, through the subsequent Spanish colonization of the island and the four centuries of Spanish-imposed ...
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Overview

This book provides a detailed history of Cuba from the earliest times to the present. Particular emphasis is given to the continuation of the 35-year-long US economic embargo of the island in the context of Cuba's struggle for survival in the so-called 'Special Period', following the collapse of the Socialist bloc. The history is traced from before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the late fifteenth century, through the subsequent Spanish colonization of the island and the four centuries of Spanish-imposed slavery, to the US involvement in Cuba in the twentieth century and the impact of the successful Castro revolution of 1959. It is argued by the author that the current policy of Washington, reinforced by new legislation (1992), has virtually no support in the world community, is a violation of international law, and today involves the United States in crimes against humanity.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In 1898, the U.S. invasion and occupation of Cuba, the author argues, laid the basis for America's exploitive control of the Cuban economy, which lasted until 1959, when Fidel Castro overthrew the CIA-backed military dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. In a provocative chronicle, Simons (Iraq: From Sumer to Saddam) calls attention to a 1995 U.N.-sponsored conference in Copenhagen that highlighted Cuba as a positive example of a developing society because of its egalitarian redistribution of income and land, investment in social services and elimination of malnutrition and illiteracy. While most readers will find Simons's defense of Castro's "progressive democratization" utterly unconvincing, the author counters that critics of Cuba's human rights abuses are hypocritical in the face of a crippling 35-year U.S.-led economic blockade plus U.S.-sponsored terrorism, military invasion and repeated CIA assassination attempts on Castro. (Feb.)
Library Journal
Author of several books on international affairs (Iraq: From Sumer to Saddam, LJ 3/15/94), Simons traces the history of Cuba from Columbus to the present, including a detailed account of the rocky relationship with its neighbor to the north. He makes a strong, convincing case against the continuing futility of the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba and points out that those elements of the Cuban population most directly affected, and hurt the most, by the trade restrictions are not the politicians but the large numbers of innocent civilians deprived of food and medicine. The author concludes that the U.S. government would do well to accept the Castro "revolution," in whatever form it manifests itself, and deal with it directly, rather than constantly trying to overthrow an institution that has survived for over 35 years. For Latin American studies collections.-Phillip Young Blue, Briarcliffe Coll. Lib., Woodbury, N.Y.
Jay Freeman
Wading through this ideological screed is like taking a time trip back to the 1960s. In its policies toward Castro's Cuba, the U.S. is guilty of "crimes against humanity." Simons virtually engulfs the reader with constant references to "capitalist greed," but nearly every action of Castro's government is viewed in a positive or "progressive" light. In short, Simon's chapters on U.S.-Cuba relations are tainted by a rigidly leftist perspective. Yet, this work does have both interest and value for general readers and historians; the sections on the pre-Colombian era and the Spanish conquest are both informative and disturbing; the near genocide carried out against the indigenous population is eloquently documented; and Simons provides valuable insights into the social and racial schisms in Cuba (which he insists the revolution has eliminated). Despite his distortions and rantings, Simons has a worthwhile story and he sometimes tells it well. Unfortunately, he could have told it better if he didn't feel so compelled to stack the deck.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312128227
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 10/1/1995
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 5.52 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.29 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Figures
List of Tables
Preface
Acknowledgements
Introduction
1 The Special Period 3
2 The Imperial Impact 65
3 The Slave Society 96
4 The Violent Struggle 128
5 The US Involvement 164
6 Towards Revolution 225
7 A New Era 279
App. 1: The Cuban Democracy Act of 1992 337
App. 2: US-Cuba Joint Communique on Migration (9 September 1994) 345
App. 3: GA Resolutions 47/19 (24 November 1992), 48/16 (3 November 1993), and 49/24 (26 October 1994) on Cuba 348
App. 4: William McKinley, War Message to Congress (11 April 1898) - Extract 352
App. 5: The Platt Amendment (1903) 354
App. 6: 'History Will Absolve Me' (Fidel Castro) - Extract 356
App. 7: Manifesto and Programme of 26 July Movement (November 1956) - Extract 362
App. 8: First Havana Declaration - Extract 363
Notes 365
Bibliography 386
Index 391
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