My article for the Journal of Iberian and Latin American Research, published in December 2009, has appeared here:
Without ideological commitments to the predominance of state property, central planning, free, universal welfare provision and internationalism, the Cuban Revolution could not have recovered from the economic crisis of the Special Period and limited the destructive potential of liberalisation. From the early 1990s, the island began to diversify its trade and economic structure, which resulted in the steady recovery of the economy. Cuba’s survival was a precondition for the alliance with Venezuela which was to lead to the establishment of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA) in 2004. ALBA is inspired by the welfare-based development paradigm of Cuba socialista and in its role as a soft power through medical and educational internationalism. ALBA in turn has removed from Cuba the obligation to completely insert itself into the international capitalist economy. At present, the regional political and social implications of ALBA have greater significance than the economic impact. It is building a barrier to U.S. domination and European capital penetration, buttressing the most radical governments whilst offering other countries in the region concrete examples of the benefits of trade relations based on south-south cooperation and the potential for welfare-based development models.