Current Institutional Affiliation
Assistant Professor, History, University of Nevada, Reno

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2009
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
History, University of Texas / Austin
Capitalizing on Castro: Mexico's Foreign Relations with Cuba, 1959-1969

My dissertation explores the central paradox of Mexico's foreign relations with Cuba in the 1960s-why did a regime that practiced conservative, authoritarian domestic policies embrace Castro's radical communist government? It will test the following hypothesis: the Mexican government capitalized upon its country's "special relationship" with Cuba as part of a multi-pronged effort to maintain control over leftist sectors of the population. This study analyzes the understudied complexities of the relationship between foreign and domestic policy in one of the most politically charged decades of the twentieth century. My project explores the changing nature of Mexico's relationship with Cuba from 1959-1969 on the international, national, and local levels. It examines the ambiguous nature of U.S. pressure on Mexico, and the secret cooperation between U.S. and Mexican intelligence services to monitor Cuban activities. It analyzes the ways in which the Mexican government defended Castro publicly, and worked to undermine him privately. However, my project particularly focuses on the national and local levels, and the connections between political, social, and economic developments within Mexico and the government's foreign policy. The decade after the Cuban Revolution was one of the most tumultuous periods in Mexico since the Mexican Revolution, and the government faced significant challenges from the Left. My project analyzes the influence exercised by individuals such as former president Lazaro Cardenas, organizations like the Movimiento de Liberaci6n Nacional, and sectors of the population including students and workers. Through this nuanced, multi-level analysis, my project will improve the historical understanding of Mexican foreign relations, the exercise of power in authoritarian systems, and the Cold War in Latin America.