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President Clinton's Foreign Relations With Cuba And Haiti

1812 words - 7 pages

What justifications could the Clinton administration make when assessing their actions in both Cuba and Haiti during Clinton’s time in office? When trying to answer this question one must look at the motivation behind the administration’s actions, the principles that the administration stood behind, and the message that they were trying to deliver. The cases of Cuba and Haiti are different in various senses and in the degree of change that occurred within those countries resulting from US policies. In the case of Cuba, President Clinton acted in a manner that created less fundamental change in the governmental system of Cuba than was the case for his relations with Haiti. In Haiti, Clinton and his administration made decisions that resulted in a change in leadership in a somewhat dramatic fashion. While both issues are different they share similar motivations allowing them to be just actions in terms of proper foreign policy regarding those countries situations at the time. Although the actions by the Clinton administration differ when directed towards the countries of Cuba and Haiti, they share similarities in their motivations and in the message that this administration was trying to deliver.
When looking at Clinton’s dealings with Cuba and Haiti one must look at the motivations behind why the President was acting in the manner in which he did. First, when assessing the situation in Haiti one must first look at domestic incentives for the president to act. The Black Caucus strongly supported Aristide’s return to Presidency and was large part of the Democratic constituency (Pastor). Because this was the case, if Clinton did not take some action in Haiti then he would upset a large part of his constituents early in his first term in office which was a political situation he wanted to avoid. A similar situation occurred when looking at his administration’s actions towards Cuba. Although the US population did not have an extremely large interest in Cuba issues with this country were largely ones that were pursued because of lobbying by interest groups (Pastor). Although most Florida residents favored Clinton’s actions involving immigration standards and legislation for Cuba the Cuban-American community was not pleased and chose to act (Pastor). The Cuban-American community had Senator Jesse Helms and Congressman Dan Burton introduce a bill used to try to topple Fidel Castro and his regime (Hillyard, and Miller). This bill had the goal of “tightening the embargo, discouraging foreign investment, and precluding meaningful negotiations until Fidel Castro was removed from power. (Pastor)” Although this bill passed it was widely criticized by the international community because of the various economic results that it created (Hillyard, and Miller). By acting in both of these countries to both appease part of his constituency as well as to deal with foreign policy issues President Clinton made the correct choice to act when looking at what he felt was...

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