Visiting Raúl Castro's Cuba

by Samuel Farber
  1. I was unaware of these developments previous to my recent visit to Cuba. See "An Interview with Samuel Farber: Cuban Reality Beyond Fidel," Against the Current, 126, January/February 2007, 14-15.
  2. In an interview with the Argentinian newspaper Clarín (March 3, 2007), Alarcòn declared that "the reforms of the compañero Deng Xiaoping in China are very positive for the Chinese people. But one has to understand those reforms within the context of the Chinese revolution." In the same interview, Alarcòn also stated that "the world has not changed in a restorationist sense that will bring back the Bolsheviks and the soviet model, nor will it be the bare capitalism of neoliberalism. It will be a diverse world. Why shouldn't we copy something from China or the United States? And why wouldn't the United States adopt some of the good things that Iran, Korea or Argentina may have? There has to be pluralism and to let everyone choose its own road. We will search for ours within our revolution."
  3. For a more elaborate analysis of this prospect see my article "Cuba's likely transition and its politics," International Socialist Review, Issue 48, July-August 2006, 43-50. This article was published a little over a month before Fidel Castro left office on July 31, 2006.
  4. Samuel Farber, "Going Home to Cuba," Critique (Glasgow, Scotland), No. 13, 1981, 138-150, "A Look at Cuba Today," Changes, July/August 1980, 13-21, and "Cuba Today & Prospects for Change," New Politics, VIII, 1, Summer 2000, 164-174.
  5. See "Busca Cuba frenar a pepenadores de basura," La Jornada (Mexico City), March 26, 2007 reporting on an article that had appeared the same day in the Cuban regional weekly Tribuna de la Habana.
  6. Yailin Orta Rivera and Norge Martínez Montero, "La Vieja Gran Estafa," Juventud Rebelde, October 1, 2006.
  7. María Julia Mayoral, " ‘Canibaleo' en las Torres," Granma, Lunes, 19 de Febrero del 2007, 4-5.
  8. Tourism continued to diminish in the early months of 2007 with a decline of 7 percent in January and 13 percent in February compared to the same months in 2006. The high season for tourism in Cuba starts in January and ends in April. "Turismo en Cuba sigue declinando por precios y embargo," Reuters dispatch of March 14, 2007.
  9. Andrea Rodríguez, "Expertos cubanos investigan sobre marginalidad," Associated Press dispatch, December 8, 2006.
  10. Thus, for example, the wife of an old friend of mine had a botched colonoscopy that was administered by a technician, rather than by a qualified specialist, and without anesthesia, since there was none available.
  11. Pedro Alvarez, the head of Alimport, Cuba's food import agency, has stated that if the U.S. blockade was lifted, bilateral trade in goods and services could total as much as $21 billion in five years. Esteban Israel (Reuters), "Cuba says US rules limiting food trade," Washington Post, March 28, 2007.
  12. At the time of this writing in late March of 2007, no changes in the leadership of UNEAC had yet taken place.
  13. In fact, one of my friends in Havana asked me to locate some research sources on the Internet and to email him what I found there.
  14. For an example of an article written from an leftist oppositionist perspective inside Cuba see Manuel Paz Ortega (pseudonym) " ‘The Battle of Ideas' and the Capitalist Transformation of the Cuban State," IV Online Magazine: IV386, February 2007.
  15. In fact, the ferment among intellectuals and artists that began in January apparently still continued at the time of this writing as shown by a very critical article by the distinguished architect Mario Coyula that was being circulated in Cuba via email in March of this year. Under the title of "El Trinquenio Amargo y la Ciudad Distòpica. Autopsia de una Utopía," Coyula argued that the darkest period of repression of the present regime lasted fifteen, and not five years, as Fornet claimed, and that its consequences have lasted until the present day. Coyula goes well beyond historical matters and presents a very critical perspective of things that need to be corrected in Cuba, with a special emphasis on urban issues.
  16. Alejandro de la Fuente, A Nation for All. Race, Inequality and Politics in Twentieth-Century Cuba, Chapel Hill, N.C.: The University of North Carolina Press, 308, and "Data from the 2002 Population and Housing Census are officially announced," Granma Digital Internacional, November 14, 2005.
  17. A recent article by Henley C. Adams in the Latin American Research Review (February 2004) painstakingly documents the relatively small proportion of Blacks in the Political Bureau and Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party, in the Council of Ministers, and among top officers of the Cuban Armed Forces.
  18. "Controversia. Entendemos la marginalidad?" Temas, 27, Octubre-Diciembre 2001, 69-96.
  19. César Gonzàlez-Calero, "Cuba: Memorias del Subdesarrollo," El Universal, Monday, November 20, 2006.
  20. Ignacio Ramonet, Fidel Castro. Biografía a Dos Voces, Barcelona, Spain: Random House Mondadori, S.A., 2006, 211, 323-24. My translation.
  21. Ramonet, 365. My translation.
  22. Ramonet, 365-67.