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There is little that may be written about the Cuban regime, other than about its very nature, that is not quickly contradicted by reality. At the same time, the Cuban leadership's approach to the Lampedussa riddle is a lot of running in place and no real discontinuity. Which is actually more relevant? Is it possible to come to some sensible conclusions about contemporary Cuba? But readers beware: in Cuban politics anecdotes and events always suggest contradictory patterns. Discussion of matters present and future requires that these contradictions be considered jointly. This is what a brilliant essay of Antonio Benitez-Rojo alerts us to when he dwells on "a country that repeats itself."

Taking this warning to heart, this essay has a very modest aspiration: to describe how some strategic principles that are central in the thinking of Cuban leaders create contradictions affecting national defense policy and civil-military relations in Cuba. Implicit is the desire that the exercise may be helpful to anyone forced to speculate about this topic and/to a more general audience interested in a deeper and more informed understanding of Cuban national security and of the defense doctrine that serves its basic purposes. The objective is a clear statement identifying the principal features of national defense and civil-military relations in Cuba, and of how they relate to one another.


CSA Occasional Paper Series, Vol. 1, No. 4 November 15,1996