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Authors: Shah, Pathik
Advisors: Kapstein, Ethan
Department: Woodrow Wilson School
Class Year: 2016
Abstract: Recently, the US has improved diplomatic relations with Cuba. This new policy of engagement has not been accompanied by the removal of economic sanctions against Cuba. This thesis explores the causes for the maintenance of US economic sanctions against Cuba after the Cold War. By looking at the sanctions literature, I find that post- Cold War sanctions against Cuba have failed and that their continued persistence may be explained by domestic politics. Modern theories of foreign policy demonstrate that domestic politics do in fact affect policymaking decisions and that American foreign policy after the Cold War has become incoherent. Accordingly, my hypothesis is that the domestic Cuba lobby has prevented economic normalization with Cuba in the post-Cold War, changing American foreign policy goals. To test this hypothesis, I look at congressional testimony and campaign contributions, finding links between the Cuban American National Foundation and Congress. The Cuba lobby was able to maintain sanctions in the 1990s by passing key legislative initiatives, including the Cuban Democracy Act of 1992 and the LIBERTAD Act of 1996. These acts continue to constrain American foreign policy toward Cuba today. Recent diplomatic normalization was made possible by changing domestic politics and a divided Cuba lobby. Strained relations with Latin America provided the impetus that changed the status quo under the Obama administrations. Despite the President’s new policies and the rise of new moderate attitudes toward Cuba, hardliners maintain their influence in Congress. I conclude by suggesting that the path to economic normalization will be slow and face many setbacks, and is ultimately dependent on congressional change.
Extent: 82 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Woodrow Wilson School, 1929-2016

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