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Back from the Future: Cuba under Castro

By Susan Eva Eckstein
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Book Details
  • Author: Susan Eva Eckstein
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Published: 1994-07-31
In Back from the Future, Susan Eva Eckstein describes how and explains why Cuban Communism has been misperceived and misunderstood abroad. Concealed behind Marxist-Leninist rhetoric and Castro's autocratic single-party rule has been a government promoting a cradle-to-grave welfare state, tolerating market reforms, foreign investment, Western trade, and hard currency "internationalism". Not only has Castro's Cuba been less ideologically driven by Marxist-Leninist orthodoxy than has heretofore been believed, it also has been less omnipotent. Drawing on interviews, personal observations, and primary sources, this book demonstrates the need for a revisionist view of Cuba and, by implication, other Communist regimes. Eckstein shows that over the years the Cuban government's options have been shaped globally by Cold War geopolitics and U.S. as well as Soviet national policies, and domestically by bureaucratic institutions and informal social dynamics. Cold War politics have blinded analysts from recognizing the patterned ways that people in civil society have sabotaged state initiatives and forced the government to modify its initiatives through footdragging, black market activity, tax evasion, pilfering, and other covert activity. Following the collapse of Soviet-bloc Communism, these forces are shown to have been so constraining that the government turned to precapitalist along with capitalist-like coping strategies. Back from the Future highlights how and why Washington would do well to understand the "real Cuba" and modify its foreign policy accordingly.