chapter  Chapter 2
U.S. Policy in the 1980s
WithPhilip Brenner
Pages 14

Relations between Cuba and the United States already were tense at end of the Carter administration, the incoming Reagan administration charged full force ahead to heighten the tension. For much of the 1980s tension between the two countries was at its highest level since the Cuban missile crisis. Much of this can be traced to Reagan administration policy. No one in the Reagan administration actually believed that enforcing the economic embargo would bring Cuba to its knees, as the Kennedy administration had hoped. But there was some expectation—based on experiences of 1979 and 1980—that economic pressure could influence political and social dynamics within Cuba to US advantage. The Reagan administration's policy in Central America has been rooted in the untenable assumption that revolution is akin to an infection. Like an infection, revolution is believed to be induced by an outside agent or germ and to be capable of spreading from one body to the next.