Introduction: Realism About Cuba
WithPhilip Brenner
Pages 3

At a meeting of the joint chiefs of staff a few months before the US-sponsored Bay of Pigs invasion in April 1961, talk among the generals began to turn casually around the possibility of an invasion by US troops. To the commandant of the Marine Corps, General David M. Shoup, it was clear that his colleagues envisioned Cuba as a small island, perhaps a hundred miles long. Would-be US statesmen have seen Cuba variously as a sleepy island that could be bought, annexed, or crushed; as a mindless, unsure neophyte waiting to be wooed; and as a puppet of the Soviet Union that threatens fundamental US security. The chapter examines the history of the relationship between the two countries during the twentieth century, highlights their difference and explores how the politics in each country might enable the United States and Cuba to pursue reconciliation.