The capacity of the Fidel Castro regime to survive more than half a decade beyond the collapse of its Soviet patron has once again raised fundamental questions about the Cuban revolution, and what amounts to the same thing, its relationship to the United States. To generalize very broadly, these Castro ‘s people define themselves first and foremost as black—politically and culturally—they are Americans only by geographical accident and historic tragedy. If the Castro regime has always represented something of an antimodel to the American Way of Life, the response to it has been strongly conditioned by the way Americans feel about their own country, its institutions, and their society in general. Periods of self-confidence at home have encouraged negative feelings towards the Cuban experiment, and vice-versa. With the end of the cold war, the Cuban revolution has lost much of its ideological specificity, but the country itself continues to exercise a unique fascination for America's media and cultural elites.