Cuba

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...

Nationalism or class solidarity?

Fire Brigades Union activist and National Officer Riccardo la Torre spoke to Sacha Ismail. *** Yesterday we had “Victory in Europe” day, and a lot of nationalism. What are your thoughts on it? Well, first off I’m angry that workers are dying because they’re at work and aren’t given proper protection, and yet the same “leaders” responsible want us waving Union Jacks. There’s immediate reasons to be angry too, because the day itself created a lot of unsafe conditions. I’ve seen blokes out selling Union Jacks and pictures of the Queen – which makes the political agenda of it all pretty clear, but...

Bernie Sanders' Cuba problem

As the possibility grows of Bernie Sanders winning the Democratic nomination for President, his opponents are looking for vulnerabilities that can be exploited. This shouldn’t be difficult, as Sanders has been politically active for some six decades. Surely he has written or said something embarrassing during that period. But after trawling through the various archives, they have found very little to work with. Until now. Last week, the attention of the mainstream media focussed on things that Sanders had said about Cuba in the past. It seems that many years ago, Sanders made reference to two...

Unofficial protest in Cuba

On 11 May, an unofficial Pride protest in Cuba was disrupted by the Cuban police, with some violence, and several activists were detained at the protest or in the run-up. Nevertheless, around 300 people, many of them young, joined the protest with slogans including “Viva gay marriage”, “A diverse Cuba”, and “Yes, we can.” It was the first time in many years that a civil society protest has gone ahead in Cuba without a permit. On 8 May, the 12th annual Conga Against Homophobia and Transphobia, run by the Cuban National Centre for Sex Education (CENESEX), had been cancelled because of supposed...

Industrial news in brief

At its 28 February meeting, the National Executive of the NEU (National Education Union), the country’s fourth largest trade union considered a proposal to support two separate international delegations in the coming year. Following a pattern established by the NUT, the countries chosen were Palestine and Cuba. Before the amalgamation which created the NEU, delegations to these parts of the world became a more or less annual event in the NUT. Many union members and activists would like to see the NEU spread its solidarity a bit wider. There is a case for ensuring that the spotlight is kept on...

No excuses for Cuban labour fronts

Bernard Reagan, national secretary of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign, has eulogised the Cuban ″trade unions″ in a laughable piece of semi-Stalinist sophistry (Morning Star, 9 February). Reagan makes out that Cuban workers have been struggling continuously since the Cuban Workers’ Confederation was founded in 1939. It is true that workers fought to overthrow the dictator Batista during the 1950s – something every socialist supports. The disagreement comes after the Castro movement took over and linked up with the old (Stalinist) Communist Party. In early 1959, workers replaced the old union...

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