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The Limits of Populist Diplomacy: Fidel Castro's April 1959 Trip to North America

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This article asks what lessons about diplomacy can be drawn from Fidel Castro's April 1959 trip to the United States and Canada, a trip long neglected by historians as an aberration in US-Cuban relations because of its apparent public relations success. The trip's meaning, rather, lies in the populist style Castro practiced to circumvent normal protocol, and more importantly in the failure of that populism to sway not only US foreign policy makers but also the US public. Based on comprehensive media and archival research and of interviews in Cuba and the United States, this is the first ever article-length treatment of this diplomatic visit. It helps to understand not only the US-Cuba divide that soon followed Castro's trip but also the limited potential of a populist diplomacy.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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