The U.S. Embargo and Its Impact After the 1959 Cuban revolution in which Fidel Castro overthrew the US.-backed Batista dictatorship, Washington acted to impose travel and economic sanctions on the island by 1963. [...] the embargo, or "el bloqueo" (blockade) as it is called in Cuba, has remained in place, except from 1977 to 1982 when U.S. President Jimmy Carter temporarily lifted the travel ban.
COUNCIL ON HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS www.coha.org Vol. 29, No.20 4 Nov. 2009 Washington Report on the Hemisphere The Biweekly Source for Western Hemispheric News, Analysis, and Opinion Prospects for a Mexico: An Oil Nation Analytical Review of Resurgent Cuban in Crisis “Gunboat Democracy” Tourism Market Mexico is currently facing an economic crisis In the United States policy arsenal, a series of that some Mexican policy makers blame on this specialized weapons stand ready to defend de- For almost fifty years, the United States has year’s crash in tourism, while others attribute it mocracy, and perhaps of equal importance, to prohibited the vast majority of its citizens from to the continued dependence of the Mexican serve Washington’s strategic interests abroad. traveling to Cuba as a part of its economic economy on the United States. Nonetheless, In “Gunboat Democracy; U.S. Interventions embargo on the island. However, a flood of Mexico’s plummet in oil production and the in the Dominican Republic, Grenada and American tourists may soon be unleashed on decline in the price of oil are two main contrib- Panama” (2006), Professor Russell Crandall, this once forbidden island as a bipartisan co- utors to its present economic downfall. While on leave from Davidson College in North Car- alition grows in the U.S. Congress in support other countries have begun to pull out of the olina, contextualizes a particular series of U.S. of the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act. This bill recession, it appears that the fall in oil produc- involvements in the Caribbean over the past comes at an opportune time for Cuba, a coun- tion and prices have further led to an ongoing several decades in order to pinpoint how stra- try which has seen growth rates in its tourism decline in Mexico’s economy, which the coun- tegic regional interests have shaped the Unit- sector falter in recent years as it once again re- try’s planners are finding difficult to reverse. ed States policy towards the three countries lies on the travel industry to play a prominent under discussion. Crandall’s central and most Current Oil Situation role in the island’s economic development. Oil is at the heart of the Mexican econo- controversial claim is that democracy has been Although U.S. president Barrack Obama my. Profits on its extraction and export are made unquestionably stronger in the Carib- has repealed several modest elements of the the country’s number one source of income, bean after the United States intervened with archaic embargo back to Clinton-era levels, his accounting for approximately 40 percent of overwhelming military force in each country. administration has not appreciably changed Mexico’s total revenues. Due to the decline Who is Russell Crandall? course from the antagonistic anti-Cuba poli- in the price of oil that began last year with the The PR notes made available by his home cies of the past. Obama’s campaign promises of escalation of the global recession, Mexico’s oil- college spell out Professor Crandall’s me- “libertad” for the Cuban people have remained dependent economy has suffered grievously. teoric progress, first through the Bush Na- contingent upon democratic reform, which the While other oil producing countries were tak- tional Security Council, then to the Obama Castro regime has continually rejected as oner- ing advantage of the peak in prices last year. campaign, and now into his current Penta- Cuban Tourism/ Continues page 2 Mexico did not act prudently, with government gon service as an advisor. Divergent ideo- officials reporting that last year’s drop in oil logical factors between the Republicans and IN THIS ISSUE production cost an estimated US$20 billion in Democrats regarding Latin America seem lost revenue. This year’s low has resulted in oil not to have gotten in Crandall’s way. To- 1 Cuban Tourism export revenues being recorded at only $1.25 day, he proudly claims that Obama’s vision billion per month for the first seven months for the region is duplicated from that of his 1 Mexico’s Oil Crisis of 2009, a fall from an average of $1.44 bil- own, but for skeptics the question remains 1 lion per month in 2008. The falling prices and as to whether he is comfortable with a Latin Gunboat Democracy production cuts continue to damage the econ- America that isn’t laced with U.S. military 8 Country Briefs omy, but the Mexican government’s failure to Mexico: Oil/ Continues page 5 bases scattered throughout the hemisphere. Gunboat Democracy / Continues page 7 WASHINGTON REPORT ON THE HEMISPHERE VOL. 29, No. 20 2 COUNCIL ON HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS www.coha.org Cuban Tourism / Continued from page 1 Havana, once known as the Las Vegas of hausted the supply of readily available tourists ous and intrusive. Obama’s lack of initiative in the Caribbean, was a major hub for American coming from traditional markets. Arrivals have addition to the legacy of Clinton-era legisla- tourists in the 1950’s, enabling Cuba to attract been decreasing from six of its seven top tour- tion which now requires congressional action roughly twenty percent of the Caribbean’s to- ist supplier nations, with only its largest
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