Author (Your Name)

Amanda Carucci, Colby College

Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. Government Dept.


Elizabeth R. DeSombre


Cuba has pervaded U.S. consciousness for several decades. For nearly fifty years the United States has continuously threatened and feared one of our closest neighbors. Lawmakers have fretted over the stubbornness of its communist leadership. Though the longevity and persistence of Fidel Castro's rule might be an understandable concern for U.S. policyrnakers, there are several other issues apparent within the island which are certainly worthy of our attention. The highways are adorned with colorful billboards praising the communist government and Fidel Castro exudes pride and confidence during each of his public appearances. Yet beneath this poorly constructed veneer, the country is falling apart. Once a thriving tourist destination in the 1950s, Cuba is now a devastated shadow of its former self. The architecture is decrepit, the harbor is thick with motor oil and the inhabitants scrape pesos and dollars together to assure that their families might eat that evening. Cuba has endured a U.S.-imposed embargo for several decades. Within the country, the embargo, or "blockade" as the Cubans refer to it, is blamed for all of the hardships. The government asserts that the economic sanctions have created the desperate economic situation that has spiraled out of control and penetrated every aspect of Cuban life. Though there have been many studies conducted to ascertain the effects of the embargo on the economy and general livelihood of the country, there has been little literature to suggest its effects on the environment. The environmental quality of the region is an essential study because its preservation is vital. If the environment is harmed through these economic sanctions, another opportunity for the Cubans to sustain their livelihoods is destroyed. Conversely, if the economic sanctions have promoted greater efforts at environmental conservation, this experience will provide a lesson for other countries struggling with resource depletion. This study will probe the specific question of what effects the embargo has had on the environment in Cuba, specifically the pathways through which it has worked to either harm or hinder any efforts at environmental conservation.


Economic sanctions, American -- Cuba, Commercial policy -- Environmental aspects, United States -- Foreign economic relations -- Cuba, Cuba -- Foreign economic relations -- United States