In this deeply researched monograph, Renata Keller has provided the most detailed view yet of how the Cuban Revolution affected Mexico's internal and external affairs during the 1960s and beyond. She argues convincingly that “[Fidel] Castro and his fellow Cuban revolutionaries had unwittingly exposed a contradiction coded deep in the DNA of Mexican politics: the tension between the country's revolutionary past and its conservative present” (pp. 4–5). This is a critical insight: that during the Cold War we see permutations of great power struggles even among second-tier powers like Mexico and Cuba.

Keller provides an intriguing argument about domestic Mexican politics in her discussion of how President Adolfo López Mateos stopped worrying and learned to love the Cuban Revolution. For López Mateos, the Cuban case was a politically expedient cipher, useful for the ways that it might allow the increasingly conservative bureaucracy...

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