Cuban Thaw or Cuban Freeze?

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Abstract This thesis attempts to explain the use of economic sanctions during the Obama and the Trump administration. Guided by the following main research question: Which theories resulting from the major paradigms in international relations theory—neo-realism, liberalism, or constructivism—are best capable of explaining the dynamics in the sanction policy of the United States against Cuba? To answer this question, several changes to the economic sanction policy have been examined. This thesis has found two major policy changes under President Obama where economic sanctions were reduced, the first in 2009, and the second in 2014, and it has further found three major policy changes under President Trump where economic sanctions had been expanded, the first in 2017, the second in 2019, and the third in 2020/2021. These policy changes have been studied with the use of various governmental statements, reports, memoranda, press briefings, remarks, tweets, hearings at various congressional committees, news articles, think tank reports, polls, and data in order to understand why certain policy decisions had been made. Seven independent variables resulted from these hypotheses, and each was examined for every policy change. What became clear fromthe analysis is that neo-realist, and liberalist theories best explain the examined policy changes.
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