Date of Award

Winter 1988

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Marc W Herold


The main goals of this dissertation are three-folds: (i) to define the concept of economic independence through theoretical investigation of five schools of thought: (1) The United Nations Economic Commission On Latin America (ECLA); (2) The Dependencia School; (3) The Soviet School; (4) The Work on Self-Reliance; (5) and the Work on Small Open Economies; (ii) to evaluate the main proposed strategies in the literature for achieving a higher level of economic independent for Third World Countries. These strategies include: Import-Substitution Industrialization, Basic Industrialization, Regional Cooperation and the New International Economic Order; (iii) to examine the Cuban experience since the revolution in its attempt to reduce its heritage of dependency, a legacy of more than four centries of colonial and neocolonial domination.

This dissertation views economic independence as a function of the internal level of productive and technical capacity and the degree of national integration. Economic independence is not viewed as an equivalent of autarky, nor as an absolute condition, but rather as a process toward a higher level of national integration and of a more equal interdependence.

Utilizing such definition of economic independence, this dissertation shows that the Cuban economy, mainly through the committed efforts at industrialization and provision of basic needs, has undoubtly became more independent since the revolution and especially since the 1970s. This achievement refutes the claim of Cuba's continued dependency especially in the forms of "Soviet dependency" and "sugar dependency". Such a claim mistakenly equates "dependency" with "dependence" and focuses only on external quantitative factors.