Cuba

Sam Farber, the Third Camp and Cuba

Samuel Farber has played an irreplaceable role in the third-camp Marxist tradition for more than six decades. Kent Worcester has conducted a fascinating interview with Farber about his political and intellectual history, now published in Left History journal (24, 1, Spring/Summer 2021). Farber’s outstanding contribution has been his Marxist analysis of Cuban society, articulated in four books and countless articles. A simple rule should apply on the left: no socialist of any stripe should speak publicly about Cuba unless they have read Farber. Cuban Stalinism Farber’s book Cuba Since the...

Cuba: embargo, not blockade

I agree with much of what Sacha Ismail wrote in “Cuba: support the protests…” in Solidarity 601. His claim that “the US blockade has clearly made the situation for Cuba’s working class … far worse” is more doubtful. The language of “blockade” is that of the Cuban government. It blames its problems on el bloqueo, as do pro-Cuban-government activists. “Blockade” suggests a sea and air cordon around Cuba preventing goods moving in and out. There is no such blockade. What has been in place since 1960 is a US embargo making it illegal for American companies and individuals to trade with Cuba. That...

Cuba: support the protests, support workers' democracy

• Petition to free arrested Cuban socialists • Summary of Cuban-American socialist Sam Farber’s analysis of the Cuban system Faced by large-scale protests (from 11 July) for the first time in decades, Cuba’s “socialist” government has arrested many dissident socialist activists among others. Many reports say that over a hundred people have been arrested or have disappeared. In the last year, the same government has suppressed LGBT rights and Black Lives Matter-type demonstrations. “Socialist Cuba” is an extremely repressive dictatorship. Despite its achievements in healthcare and other areas...

Cuba: time for real solidarity from the British left

If you’re a British trade unionist or a member of the Labour Party, where might you go to find news about Cuba? An obvious choice is the Morning Star, a newspaper largely funded by trade unions, which regularly runs articles about the island nation. Another is the website of the trade union-backed Cuba Solidarity Campaign (CSC). You would learn that in recent weeks Cuba has developed its very own Covid vaccine that is over 90% effective with three doses. You’d also learn that the Biden administration continues with the vicious U.S. embargo, which is one of the reasons why Cuba needs to develop...

The Bay of Pigs, 17 April 1961

It is 60 years since right wing Cuban exiles, funded and armed by the US government, attempted to invade Cuba on 17 April 1961. The invasion was a disaster and humiliation for the Americans and their Cuban puppets.

Kino Eye: Films from Cuba

Recent Solidarity articles on Cuba bring to mind the visually stunning film I Am Cuba (1964) directed by Soviet cinematographer Mikhail Kalatazov and Tomás Gutierrez Alea’s Memories of Underdevelopment (1968). Alea’s film is no Castroite propaganda piece, but instead a measured study of the growing alienation of Sergio, a wealthy bourgeois intellectual who, unlike his family, has not fled Cuba. He stays behind not from any commitment to the revolution, but because of sheer inertia. Sergio wanders around aimlessly but cannot make up his mind what to do. Documentary footage shows the CIA-led Bay...

Democracy for right-wing dissidents

Cuban artists protest at the Ministry of Culture in Havana, November 2020 Distracted by the USA’s Capitol’s storming, readers may have overlooked another, more serious “attempted coup”. “[T]he US establishment is attempting to carry out a ‘soft coup’ in Cuba”, say some — and the San Isidro Movement (MSI) artists’ collective is to the fore. The rapper whose arrest sparked the movement videoed a police officer serving him summons while “swearing at the officer and declaring in English ‘Trump 2020, Trump is my President!’ He was subsequently arrested and on 12 November was sentenced to eight...

Brutality as beautiful

The Morning Star aspires to being a left-wing alternative to mainstream tabloids. Thus the paper includes sports pages, arts reviews, a crossword, a gardening column, and even a cookery spot (“The Commie Chef”). The paper’s boxing coverage is by one John Wight, a failed Hollywood screenwriter and well-known figure on the Scottish left. The title of his book This Boxing Game: A Journey in Beautiful Brutality gives a strong clue as to how he regards the “sport”. A recent Wight column in the Morning Star (“Boxing as violence”) purports to examine what he calls the “contradiction that many writers...

200 protest in Havana

Over 200 young artists and activists protested outside Cuba’s Ministry of Culture in Havana on 27 November, demanding the release of a jailed rapper and freedom of expression (video here). This came after Cuban police, the day before, had broken down the door of the San Isidro Movement ( MSI) artists’ collective and detained around 14 people, several of them on hunger strike for the same reason. The stated motivation for the raid was violations of Covid-19 restrictions. Most detainees were later released, but that the government blocked access to Facebook and Instagram across the island during...

Cuba suppresses Black Lives Matter protest

A crackdown by the Cuban state on 30 June prevented planned demonstrations against the killing of an unarmed black man by Cuban police a week earlier. Hansel Ernesto Hernández Galiano, a 27 year-old Afro-Caribbean man, was shot dead by police on the 24 June. On 25 June his aunt denounced the murder on social media, which was widely shared. Following this criticism, the Cuban authorities acknowledged that he had been killed, and was not armed, although they attempted to partially justify it. They have not disclosed identities of the police responsible or whether any disciplinary action was...

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