Project description

In De Watergate a Trump (From Watergate to Trump) we made the first data analysis on Cuban history about all the proposals made for the US Congress related to our country since the Cuban Revolution triumph.
Thus, we could also compare the trends and incidences respect the nation in the complicated political scenario both countries have lived, including the American embargo, the Missiles Crisis and the strong migratory policies for the internal political destabilization in the island.
This is innovator because this is the first time a work like this is made. Also, we discovered some parallelism between some regulations against Cuba and other progressist governments in Latin America, like Salvador Allende’s Chile. It serves as a historical guide of the relation between the U.S. and the south of it, and demonstrate how America tries to take control over the continent.

What makes this project innovative?

This is the first time that a quantitative analysis of the US measures with respect to Cuba has been made based on the laws issued in that country with respect to the Island. In addition, the historical, political and mathematical analysis in a single work that demonstrates the position throughout the years of the US government, taking into account the decline in bilateral relations that has occurred in recent months, following the election of Donald Trump as president.
In this way, we have the scoop to analyze for the first time in the history of Cuba all the bills and resolutions of the Congress in a period of almost 60 years with computer tools and in an innovative way.
We have also managed to tell a story of international relations based on statistics and the continuous examination of the context in which the events that change and influence the lives of thousands of Cubans, subjected to arbitrary and unilateral measures, take place.

What was the impact of your project? How did you measure it?

The impact of the story happened instantly. It served to demonstrate that the case of Cuba is not just about a bad informed political strategy, but a really palpable and demonstrable for more than 50 years of history.
Rapidly social networks echoed the work and some workers of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs congratulated the team and spoke of the willingness of the person in charge of the topic, Josefina Vidal, to read it.
Google Analytics showed a growing interest, especially from the United States. Cuban émigrés shared it and debated about it in social networks.

Source and methodology

To make the article, three data sources were used: Congress.gov, Govtrack.us and Propublica.

To obtain the lists of the proposals that mention the different countries, there were made searches, one for each country, in Congress.gov. To process the results of these searches, a parser was made in python that allowed obtaining a synthesis of the results where they were, for each proposal type, the congress where it was presented and its identity code.

A collection of information about the legislative initiatives presented to the North American Congress was obtained from the Congress, from the 93rd Congress to the current one, the 115. With the synthesized data obtained after the parsing of the results obtained from Congress.gov, a mapping could be made of these data with the collection of information from ProPublica. In this way, there was more information on the proposed laws relative to each country.

ProPublica, in its data collection, does not offer information about the Amendments. This information was obtained from the online data collection offered by Govtrack.us. The data related to the proposed amendments for each country were obtained with a procedure similar to the previous one.

To determine the coincidences of Cuba with other nations, it carried out a search of the name of each country, both in the topics addressed by the proposal, its variants of names as well as in its summary.

Technologies Used

The work was published in Postdata.club that uses github as its publishing platform. In this way the history of the code that was made for the publication of the work is available, which can be consulted and reused by others for different purposes. The code is made with HTML5, Javascript and CSS.

To obtain the data used in the article, a search was made in Congress.gov with the term Cuba. The results of that search were downloaded using wget. Then a parser was programmed in python to obtain the summary data of each bill related to Cuba. Then, all the bills that are available in Propublica were downloaded and the data obtained from Congress.gov was mapped with the ones from Propublica. In the case of the amendments, Govtrack.org data was downloaded and a mapping was made, similar to the previous one. In order to obtain all the data that is handled in the text, several programs were made in python that processed all the JSON files downloaded from both Propublica and Govtrack.org.

To determine the statt of other nations, a search was made in Congress.gov with the name of each country. For this, the same procedure that was used for the search on Cuba was followed and the same parser programmed in python was used. Later To determine the coincidences of Cuba with other nations, a search was made of the name of each country, both in the topics addressed by the proposal, its variants of names as well as in its summary. This search was made in a python program and seraching in the Propublica database that was downloaded.
For the visualization, a scrolly telling schema was followed using the scrollama library. For the graphics shown D3.js and C3.js. All this was programmed in Javascript using JQuery.

Project members

Saimí Reyes
Yudivián Almeida

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