Mission to Havana: The Carter Years

  • Robert M. Levine


Fidel Castro’s victory over Batista’s corrupt dictatorship not only dramatically affected relations between the United States and Cuba; in the words of a foreign policy analyst, “its principal effect was to dynamite the logjam in U.S. policy toward Latin America.”1 Almost overnight, Washington officials and journalists thrust Castro’s revolutionary government into the cauldron of the Cold War. The United States awoke to the threat posed by revolutionary Cuba to the entire region, especially in countries ruled by strongmen dictators in league with a tiny elite. This, experts theorized, would leave the rest of the immiserated population vulnerable to Castro-like movements, or, in the case of fragile democracies like Brazil, where rural peasant leagues threatened to topple the ruling landed oligarchy, it would create the pre-conditions for the spread of revolution within the hemisphere.


Sugar Flare Beach Cane Fishing 
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  1. 1.
    Lars Shoultz, Beneath the United States: A History of U.S. Policy Toward Latin America (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998), 356.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    See Robert M. Levine and José Carlos Sebe Bom Meihy, The Life and Death of Carolina Maria de Jesus (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1995).Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Wayne S. Smith, The Closest of Enemies: A Personal and Diplomatic History of the Castro Years (New York: W. W. Norton, 1987), 85.Google Scholar
  4. 9.
    See Robert A. Pastor, Whirlpool: U.S. Foreign Policy Towards Latin America and the Caribbean (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992), 42–44.Google Scholar
  5. 13.
    Maria de los Angeles Torres, In the Land of Mirrors: Cuban Exile Politics in the United States (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2001), 91.Google Scholar
  6. 111.
    Tad Szulc, “Shah’s Incredible Journey,” reprinted in the Miami News, ca. April 1980. Benes clipping file. See also his biography of Castro, Fidel: A Critical Portrait (New York: Avon Books, 1986).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Robert M. Levine 2001

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  • Robert M. Levine

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