Prospects for a Resurgent Cuban Tourism Market by ProQuest

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									   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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