Cuba-US Relations: Obama and Beyond.


August, Arnold. Cuba-US Relations: Obama and Beyond. Halifax, Canada: Fernwood Publishing, 2017.

After a generation of working as a researcher and a political and trade union activist in Canada, author Arnold August turned to journalism. He focused attention on Cuba and the ongoing issue of disinformation in western media, particularly in the United States. August, who has lectured and published on this subject, won the Felix Elmuza Award in 2013 from the Association of Cuban Journalists. Not surprisingly, Cuba-US Relations: Obama and Beyond is scheduled for publication in Spanish in Cuba in 2018. Ricardo Alarcon, a leading figure in the Cuban Revolution who subsequently played a significant role in Cuban foreign policy, serving as that nation's representative to the United Nations and its minister of foreign affairs, wrote the book's introduction. He applauds August for living among the Cuban people, an experience that enabled him to understand the Cuban view of events. He contends that August does not mimic the mainstream US-centric position espoused by so-called Cubanologists.

August devotes the first part of his book to a review of the impact of US interventions in Cuba from the late nineteenth century through 1959, the beginning of Fidel Castro's Cuban Revolution. The litany of charges is well known: Cuba's dependence on US trade, US manipulation of the electoral process that resulted in an elite-based Cuban government, and the imposition of the Platt Amendment, which sanctified US interventions from 1906 through the mid-1920s and sustained the political and economic systems in Cuba. August describes how the US stood silent during the era of Fulgencio Batista (1934-1958) who served as president and dictator and (intermittentiy) the power behind the throne. The result was a symbiotic relationship between Havana and Washington elites who did not want to upset the established order of either nation. August explains that from 1959 until the emergence of the Obama administration after 2008, the US used a variety of tactics that included invasion, subversion, and, most important, an economic embargo aimed at terminating the Castro regime and imposing the US form of democracy on the island.

During that same time period, the developing world separated itself from imperialist western governments and turned to meet internal challenges in ways that emphasized greater popular participation in each country's political system. To August, these...

To continue reading