Did Castro hold back Cuba?

Cuban sign reading: 'To fight against the impossible and win.'

Alongside his depiction as a “brutal dictator”, negative reflections on Fidel Castro since his death on November 25 have focused on his “mismanagement” of the Cuban economy and the consequent “extremes of poverty” suffered by ordinary Cubans. This caricature is problematic – not only because it ignores the devastating economic impact of the United States embargo over 55 years, but also because it is premised on neoclassical economic assumptions. This means that by stressing economic policy over economic restraints, critics can shift responsibility for Cuba’s alleged poverty on to Castro without implicating successive US administrations that have imposed the suffocating … Continue reading

Where now for Cuba?

There are a number of no-go zones in the world for Barack Obama these days. Damascus is enemy territory. Most of Iraq and Afghanistan are too dangerous. Pyongyang has never hosted a sitting U.S. president, and Kim Jong-Eun frankly prefers Americans with better jump shots. We now have a nuclear deal with Iran, but there are no trips of reconciliation to Tehran on the White House calendar. Relations with Moscow are frosty, and don’t expect a trip any time soon to Ankara either. Oh, and it would probably be a bad idea for the president to show up at a … Continue reading