Magazine June 7, 2010, Issue

Spare Not the Stick

Raúl Castro (Adalberto Roque/AFP/Getty Images)
With the Cuban regime vulnerable, now is no time to loosen the embargo

In 1993, amid a Cuban economic crisis sparked by the collapse of the Soviet Union, American intelligence officials estimated that there was “a better than even chance that Fidel Castro’s government will fall within the next few years.” Such an outcome still seemed possible in August 1994, when riots erupted near the Havana waterfront. To quell the turmoil, Fidel unleashed a flotilla of balseros (rafters), causing heartburn for the Coast Guard and spooking the Clinton administration, which ultimately got Cuba to curb the tsunami of refugees in exchange for a bilateral accord that obliged the U.S. to accept no fewer

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