For most of Albania’s existence as a sovereign state the somber figure of Enver Hoxha dominated all aspects of national life. Although independence was initially achieved in 1912, it was not until after World War II that Albania became better known internationally as an oddity. Ninety miles south of the United States sits the island of Cuba, ruled by Fidel Castro and a small clique of loyal followers. Cuba in the early 1990s assumed many of the characteristics of Albania, in particular the refusal to depart from the strictures of “communism.” Cuba was one of the oldest Spanish colonies that Madrid maintained long after it lost sway over the rest of the once expansive Latin American empire. The various Cuban governments that came to office through the 1900s to the 1950s were aware of US power hovering in the background and would later be perceived as too pliant to the northern country’s economic interests.