The Evolution of Cuban Communism or Cuban Socialism?

Michael Hoover hoov at
Fri Aug 2 16:07:24 MDT 1996

> 1) I met a fine old man who had once corresponded with Trotsky who supported
> the revolution and yet spent over seven years in jail (with no voices of
> support from the world Trotskyist movement), his son, named Leon after
> Trotsky, who also spent time in jail, and their working class family.
>  Explain this to me!
> 2) In my travels around Cuba I did not see a single publication, poster,
> billboard or other manifestation of political views which deviated, even by a
> comma, from the party line!  Explain this to me!

I received list-responses from Doug Henwood and Louis Proyect prior to
receiving the above message...but I'll add my voice to their comments
that political repression exists in Cuba...and point out the persistence
of inefficient allocation of labor & resources... product shortages
(exacerbated by the end of Soviet aid, not created by it)..."grassroots"
organizations - CDRs & OPPs directed and dominated by the party...
"caudillo" political characteristics, a "fortress" nation (response, in
great part, to the US that has served to sustain nationalist sentiments,
justify periodic "mass mobilization" programs, and maintain the leader-
ship's ties to the population...but command control processes/structures
used successfully in winning the military-political campaign have been
attractive to post-revolutionary leaders who attempt to "transplant"
them and govern accordingly)...homophobia and the government's abysmal
response to AIDs...the list could grow longer...

I'm reminded of an instance some years ago at a Latin American studies
conference...I had made a presentation which offered both critical and
positive appraisal of Cuba (in a broader analysis of alternatives to
the "dependency dilemma" which integrated case examples from Jamaica,
Chile, Cuba, & Nicaragua)...during the Q&A afterwards, one guy directed
his scorn/wrath directly at me, went on for about five minutes, and
ended with something like "Che Guevara claimed that there would be a
socialist paradise in Cuba, what do you have to say about that?"...he
might well have added "mr. smarty-pants"...there was the eerie silence
in the hall, folks taken aback by this tirade & folks waiting for my
rejoinder...I shrugged my shoulder and said "he was wrong"

based on my own experience, I think that elements in the generation now
coming of age in Cuba are important to the country's future direction...
too young to have had any personal/collective involvement with the
insurrection...some (many?) not interested in the ideological line (and
tired of their parents' stories), in their early 20s,
with a job as a tour guide/interpreter as a goal because it allows for
regular interaction with foreign visitors, provides opportunity to "use"
the eduction, and often means "tips" of various kinds...with more than
a smidgen of negativity about Fidel and socialism...Michael

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