Prerequisites for democracy in Cuba: promoting liberalization via civil society
Breland, Elizabeth A.
Tollefson, Scott D.
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This thesis examines current U.S. policy vis-a-vis Cuba, and its impact on the development of democracy in Cuba. It argues that U.S. policy is counter-productive in promoting a sustainable, inclusive democracy in Cuba, because it demands that the Castro regime hold 'free and fair' elections prior to any normalization in the relations between the two countries. This demand ignores the fact that Cuban Civil society is woefully underdeveloped, and is not prepared to effectively participate in the creation and maintenance of a truly representational government. Without a vibrant civil society, Cuba is likely to fail under the control of an authoritarian, populist regime whose relationship to the United States may prove no more cordial than Castro's. The thesis recommends practical steps through which the United States can reward Cuban liberalization without requiring immediate political democratization. The goal of these steps is to encourage the opening of political space within which Cuban associational groups with a clear stake in a freer society can flourish.
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