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Covering the turbulent period of the 1990s, the book examines such issues as the impact on Cuba of the Soviet Union's collapse, the country's social malaise under economic scarcity, the reorganization of its economy, changes in its political system, problems in its relations with the United States, and the renaissance of Cuban religious life in the aftermath of the pope's visit.
Azicri offers an objectively researched study that addresses many of the assumptions made by partisan participants. Demonstrating how Cuba's ongoing reform process has allowed it to avoid the fate of other Soviet bloc regimes, he maintains that Havana has continually reinvented the nature of Cuban socialism. Drawing on original sources and scholarly studies from Cuba, the United States, and elsewhere, he argues that a more restrained and limited socialism is suitable to today's Cuba and explains why such a system probably will prevail beyond Castro.
"A classic on post-Cold War Cuba... Azicri evidences Cuba's expanding external relations with the papacy, the Economic Union, and Latin America and argues that Cuba has begun internal changes that could later create an all-national rather than a solely communist party.... This work is essential reading for D.C., Havana, and Miami - and is likely to anger all three." - Choice; "A masterful and provocative summary, analysis, and evaluation of political, economic, and cultural developments in Cuba, as well as the international relations of Cuba, in the tumultuous decade following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In the process, Azicri gives a unique insight into how and why Cuban socialism, though greatly modified in the 1990s, continues to survive." - Sinan Koont, Dickinson College