Cuba in Transition

Options for U.S. Policy

Gillian Gunn
Release Date: October 1, 1993

Cuba, and Cuba watchers, are at a critical juncture. Shifting political and economic alignments, particularly the collapse of the Soviet Union and the elimination of Moscow’s subsidy to the Cuban economy, have thrust the island of 11 million people into a vortex of change. The new international context means that, whether Fidel Castro falls or not, Cuba will inevitably look quite different within five years.

While change is inevitable, the form it will take is not easily predictable. It could be fast or slow, peaceful or violent. It could involve primarily Cuban actors or feature external intervention. The end result could be a system that is capitalist, socialist, or some mix of the two. What is clear, however, is that regardless of how they unfold, events in Cuba will confront U.S. policymakers and the public at large with new, thorny questions.

passion surrounding Cuba also distorts the normal policymaking process. Debate frequently focuses on whether a given measure is sufficiently “anti-Castro.” However, in this monograph, Gunn proposes four important steps that should be used during any foreign policymaking process. Gunn’s methodology is a useful contribution to the effort to reconnect Cuba and the United States through progressive public and foreign policy, rather than emotion or political opinions held toward the Cuban political regime.