[Marxism] El Telón de Azúcar, Cuba and socialism

Nestor Gorojovsky nmgoro at gmail.com
Fri Apr 10 11:16:48 MDT 2009

What are many honest radicals outside Cuba trying to save Cuba from? 
Whoever does a Google search for websites in English using

  Camila-Guzman-Urzua Telón-de-Azúcar

will begin to have a glimpse of it.

Many people -not only Stalinists, to be honest to ourselves- had a dream 
during the 20th Century, a dream grounded in a somehow metaphisical 
belief that whatever the chances the Soviet Union would never fall down. 
This belief was not only naïve but in a sense crudely Positivist 
(against Hegelian), and expressed a deep conviction that once socialism 
had taken grip, however distortedly and cruelly, somewhere in a large 
industrial society (and by the early 60s the SU was beginning to have 
some of the traits of industrial societies), then every experiment 
tending to favor national liberation in the Third World would find some 
kind of at least passive support from that formation. The feeling that 
there existed an umbrella, so to say.

But the umbrella was never so useful, to begin with. And it charged a 
heavy price for those who attempted to develop socialist experiences 
under its coverage.

Partly, this is what happened with the Cubans and their desperately 
honest and necessary struggle for socialism. Many in Cuba (in my own 
view, not exactly Fidel, but who knows and who cares in the end) 
believed that since the umbrella would never disappear they would be 
able to carry on their own kind of tiny socialism as the sugarcane 
growers of the East. That they would be able to link the development of 
the struggle for Cuban sovereignty against imperalist attacks by simply 
finding a good, lasting shelter in a rather abstract "socialist global 

This dream fell down and crashed like Humpty Dumpty. I guess we have all 
faced this, or at least I hope we have all faced this.

Then, Cuba has had to adapt to this brave new world. The crude fact is 
that Cubans have always known that the first thing they had to make sure 
they would not lose was their own sovereignty, and they _chose_ 
socialism (and they were right) to make sure that the defense of that 
sovereignty would be as strong as need be. But now they must go ahead 
with their revolution without the umbrella.

So that their socialism begins to get a little bit tarnished. People who 
dreamt of Socialist Paradises under the Umbrella are somehow pissed off. 
But it is not a matter of chance that the hard-to-swallow film "El telón 
de azúcar" has earned Camila Guzmán Urzúa, the Cuban child of Patricio 
Guzmán (the film director "of Salvador Allende") great prizes in Cuba.

Cubans have always had, at least the Cuban leaders have always had, that 
basic virtue that makes revolutionaries: realism. Élan and realism, that 
is. They have learnt in a way few people can imagine what does it mean 
to be a tiny island less populated than most large US metropolitan areas 
  left to their own forces in a hostile world. They have decided that 
socialism will be, as it has always been, a global enterprise and that 
while they will not be able to keep the whole project alive without the 
Big Umbrella, they will step back on many grounds to make sure that 
sovereignty, that most precious cornerstone of politics in a 
semicolonial country, is not lost.

I am forwarding a list of websites in Spanish on "El telón de azúcar". 
Websites in English can be googled by searching for  Camila-Guzman-Urzua 
Telón-de-Azúcar and requesting that the results be in English.





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