Soviet/Cuban relations 1985-1991

Bain, Mervyn J. (2001) Soviet/Cuban relations 1985-1991. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

In March 1985 Mikhail Gorbachev became General Secretary of the Communist Party of the
Soviet Union (CPSU). By 1985 relations between the Soviet Union and Cuba had been in existence
for over 25 years and were extremely close in both ideological and trade terms. Soon after coming to
power, Gorbachev implemented the policies of perestroika and glasnost while Fidel Castro introduced
the campaign for rectification of errors in Cuba. There were great differences in these campaigns
since the Cuban one was much more ideologically driven than its Soviet counterparts.
This study is an examination of the period from March 1985 to the end of 1991. This is done in
three broad areas: official Soviet policy towards Cuba; the unofficial Soviet policy towards Cuba (an
examination of academics and social/political commentators work on Cuba) and the Cuban perception
and reaction to the events in the Soviet Union. This study also attempts to establish whether a rethinking,
with the benefit of hindsight, has taken place in the years since 1991.
In 1985 official and unofficial Soviet policy towards Cuba were identical but as the Gorbachev
period continued this began to change. Official policy began to become contradictory in style since
Moscow started "veiled" attacks against aspects of its relationship with Cuba while at the same time
still defended the island in the face of continuing US hostility. Moscow also stated that the differences
in Soviet and Cuban policies were because each campaign was designed for conditions specific to
each country but that both had the same goal: the improvement of socialism. Although official policy
became more outspoken, at no point during the Gorbachev era did it call for the termination of
relations with Cuba. Unofficial Soviet policy started to change as the effects of glasnost permeated
Soviet society. This became noticeable from 1987 onwards and reached the point that an open debate
on the relationship was taking place. By 1991 unofficial policy was vastly different from the official
Soviet line towards Cuba.
The Cuban government also stated that the programmes were for situations specific to each
country but that both had the same goal, that being the improvement of socialism. The unofficial
Cuban line mirrored the official one but by 1990 this started to change as it started to criticise Soviet
policies. In 1991 the Cuban government also started to do this. Due to the difficult situation in the socialist world the Cuban government from 1989 had been trying to increase its hard currency
markets.
A general re-thinking with the benefit of hindsight has not taken place on either side but an
examination of participants' memoirs is still a valuable study to conduct. Although it offers very little
new evidence for this period it does, however, give more credence to the events that took place
between March 1985 and December 1991.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DK Russia. Soviet Union. Former Soviet Republics
F History United States, Canada, Latin America > F1201 Latin America (General)
J Political Science > JL Political institutions (America except United States)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences
Supervisor's Name: White, Prof Stephen
Date of Award: 2001
Depositing User: Ms Mary Anne Meyering
Unique ID: glathesis:2001-5387
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 14 Jul 2014 15:19
Last Modified: 14 Jul 2014 15:20
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/5387

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