Die (Re-)Integration Kubas in Lateinamerika? Probleme der politischen und ökonomischen Anpassung nach dem Umbruch der Jahre 1989/90

Kuba war lange Zeit in vieler Hinsicht ein ?Schlüsselstaat? für Lateinamerika und die Karibik. Dies begann mit der Entdeckung durch Columbus und setzte sich mit der spanischen Kolonisierung, dem Sklavenhandel, sehr inegalitären Sozialstrukturen, sehr instabilen politischen Verhäl...

Full description

Saved in:
Bibliographic Details
Main Author: Heldmann, Jörg
Contributors: Berg-Schlosser, Dirk (Prof. Dr.) (Thesis advisor)
Format: Doctoral Thesis
Published: Philipps-Universität Marburg 2004
Online Access:PDF Full Text
Tags: Add Tag
No Tags, Be the first to tag this record!

For numerous reasons Cuba has long been one of the key states within Latin America and the Caribbean. This began with its discovery by Columbus and continued through the Spanish colonization, the era of slave trade, very unequal social structures and highly unstable political conditions in the aftermath of its independence. The Cuban revolution after 1959 marked a turning point of the country?s development: The new socialist regime introduced radical changes of the internal economic and political structures and quickly became an important geo-strategic factor in the bipolar world of the Cold War. In the decades following the Cuban missile-crisis of 1962 which had led to a stalemate-situation from a strategic point of view, Cuba adopted the foreign politics of a big country. Economically strengthened by the preferential trade with the USSR and politically/ideologically influenced by the strong hand of its charismatic leader, Fidel Castro, the country continued to attract international attention. Especially in the 1970s and 80s, the Castro-government made an enormous effort to export the revolution to Southern Africa and Latin America and maintained relatively large military contingents overseas. Cuba actively participated in leftist guerrilla movements in Latin America and the political leadership knew how to exploit the hostile foreign policy of the United States for its propaganda at home. The country?s exclusion of the Organization of American States (OAS) at the beginning of the 1960s was followed by the break of economic and political relations with virtually all countries of the region with the exception of Mexico. By 1964, only five years after the revolution, Cuba had already been fully isolated within the hemisphere. The rise of military dictatorships in the majority of Latin American countries during the 1980s additionally worsened Cuba?s position in the region while its integration in the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON) at least led to some economic freedom. The demise of the socialist bloc in Eastern Europe and the disintegration of the COMECON not only ended the era of the Cold War but for Cuba also arose the question of new political and economic allies. At this point some of the Latin American countries had already reinstated diplomatic relations with Cuba but on the multilateral level the country only participated in the Latin American Economic System (SELA) and still realized over 80% of its trade with the socialist bloc. Even though there is a long tradition of integration projects in Latin America, most regional economies were still characterized by relatively closed national markets until the second half of the 1980s which was partly due to the absence of strong traditional trade links. Only by the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s after the deviation of the import substitution model and the redemocratization of most Latin American countries, did the governments start to reflect upon their mutual economic interests: In 1991 the 1st Cumbre Iberoamericana was held in Mexico and in the same year the Mercado Común del Sur (MERCOSUR) was founded with the Treaty of Asunción. The Asociación Latinoamericana de Integración (ALADI) which had succeeded the ALALC in 1980 was revitalized and formed the umbrella organization of all bi- and multilateral arrangements in the region. This period of ?new regionalism? in Latin America fell together with Cuba?s need to rearrange its trade flows and the search for new political allies in an increasingly globalized world. The main question of this work is if there was a reintegration of Cuba in Latin America after the collapse of the socialist bloc in 1989/90 and on which basis this process took place. Therefore, the second chapter highlights the economic and political development of Cuba between the revolution of 1959 and the breakdown of the USSR. In the course of this analysis it became evident that both the political and economic structures of Cuba strictly followed socialist-communist rules in that period which entailed a special relationship with the East European countries, a deeply disturbed relation with the USA and quite heterogeneous relations with Third world countries. The different development stages of Cuba during that time were more characterized by gradual ideological shifts than by fundamental changes of the country?s foreign policy. The third chapter deals with Cuba?s development after 1989/90 and describes the major structural changes which the country undertook in order to adapt to the newly emerged situation. It highlights the main legal and structural accomplishments in the economic and political sector which must be seen as the basis for the country?s integration in the region. It is being described how the Castro-government reacted in the face of the economic crisis at the beginning of the 1990s and what foreign trade and financial sector reforms it undertook to deal with it. The chapter concludes with a short overview over the most important integration theories. In the fourth chapter the focus lies on the resumption of economic and political relations with Latin American countries and the development of bilateral as well as multilateral dialogues. The basis for this chapter forms a series of interviews which were conducted in the years 2000 and 2002 in Montevideo, Uruguay, and Havana, Cuba. Taking occasion to Cuba?s admission to the ALADI in 1999 the investigation concentrates on the country?s relations with the other 11 member states of this organization. While the intraregional trade in Latin America grew rapidly since the beginning of the 1990s, Cuba was able to expand its economic relations with the region enormously. Besides the fact that since 1989 Cuba managed through an offensive foreign policy to almost double the number of countries in the region with which it maintains diplomatic relations, it more and more became engaged in multilateral organs: in 1991 Cuba participated in the 1st Cumbre Iberoamericana, in 1993 it established the Comisión Conjunta with CARICOM, in 1994 Cuba was a founding member of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), in 1999 it joined the ALADI as a full member state and shortly afterwards took part in the 1st biregional summit between the European Union (EU) and Latin America/Caribbean, in 2001 it joined the Cariforum. This process has certainly catalysed Cuba?s internal reforms and contributed to the ongoing reintegration in the region. In the last chapter the author evaluates the internal and external developments that have taken place since the breakdown of the socialist bloc of Eastern Europe and have influenced the relations between Cuba and the ALADI member states. In the economic policy sector the country has introduced a number of laws which paved the way to strengthen its trading links with Latin American and Caribbean nations. In the political and diplomatic field still remain a lot of resentments between Cuba and the ALADI states that almost exclusively stem from the harsh reactions of the Castro-government when being criticized for its human rights record (e.g. the recent rows with Argentina, Uruguay and Mexico). Since 1989/90 the Castro-government has succeeded in establishing solid economic as well as in some cases political links within the region. The process of economic adaptation has come under way even though it still lacks stronger commitment and has put Cuba in a position from where it can better participate in the globalized trade. This success however is being continuously jeopardised by Castro?s unyielding and unfortunate caudillo-diplomacy. With Venezuela, Brazil and Mexico, Cuba has some very potent allies in the region with which it should not find itself isolated again once the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) is put into practice.