Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 1997

Publication Citation

4 Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 297 (1997)


Professor Fidler's article examines the Cuban Liberty and Democratic

Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of


Act, from within liberal international relations theory. He takes as his starting

point the controversy that the Helms-Burton Act has produced among liberal,

democratic states. Professor Fidler outlines the major tenets of the liberal

tradition in international relations thinking: promoting economic

interdependence, internationall aw, internationali nstitutions,a nd democracy.

He then looks at the arguments made by opponents of the Helms-Burton Act

from within each of these liberal tenets, showing how opponents believe the

Helms-Burton Act undermines economic interdependence, violates

international law, by-passes international institutions, and does little to

promote democracy in Cuba. Professor Fidler next places the arguments of

the proponents of the Helms-Burton Act within the same four tenets of the

liberal tradition and explores in detail the arguments put forward that the

Helms-Burton Act conforms with, and even progressively develops,

international law. The article moves to consider that the two sides in the

Helms-Burton controversy belong to distinct perspectives within the liberal

tradition. The proponents of the Helms-Burton Act exhibit the tendencies of

liberal realism, while the opponents of the Act reflect the teachings of liberal

internationalism. Locating the opponents and proponents of the Helms-Burton

Act within these two competing perspectives within the liberal tradition helps

explain the firestorm that has developed between liberal states over this piece

ofAmerican legislation. Finally, Professor Fidler offers a proposal to bridge

the gap between liberal realism and liberal internationalism in a policy

towards Cuba that attempts to bring the warring Helms-Burton factions

more well known as the Helms-Burton

together on how to exercise economic power against Castro, the proper role

for international organizations and international law, and an ethical

convergence for providing some compensation for the victims of Castro's

illegal expropriations ofproperty.