Last year, the United States flag was raised in Cuba for the first time in more than five decades, as diplomatic relations between the two states were unfrozen and the American embassy in Havana reopened.
This dramatic turnaround was preceded by a series of previously unthinkable shifts in policy enacted by the Cuban government, now led by Fidel Castro’s brother, Raul.
The president has been opening up Cuba’s economy since 2010, permitting Cubans to open private businesses and buy and sell property, while foreign companies can now invest in the island nation.
In three reports to be broadcast this month, we look at the reforms that appear to be bringing a return to capitalism ever closer and ask what these changes mean for Cuban citizens and the future of their socialist state.
In part one of Cuba Year Zero, we explore what it means for Cuba’s socialism to make peace with the US government and ask if this decision reflects recognition by the state of a failure to empower its people.
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When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1990, Cuba’s economy went into a tailspin. With imports of oil cut by more than half and food by 80 percent people were desperate. This film tells of the hardships and struggles as well as the community and creativity of the Cuban people during this difficult time. Cubans share how they transitioned from a highly mechanized, industrial agricultural system to one using organic methods of farming and local, urban gardens. It is an unusual look into the Cuban culture during this economic crisis, which they call “The Special Period.” The film opens with a short history of Peak Oil, a term for the time in our history when world oil production will reach its all-time peak and begin to decline forever. Cuba, the only country that has faced such a crisis the massive reduction of fossil fuels is an example of options and hope.
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Lillian Guerra of the Department of History, is the author of three books. The most recent, Visions of Power: Revolution, Resistance and Redemption in Cuba, 1959-1971, examines internal struggles among pro-revolutionary sectors and a centralizing Cuban state to define the practice and meaning of Communism in everyday culture and economic practice. Video Rating: / 5
Dr. Nicole Roberts takes you through what to expect in the course “Issues in Contemporary Cuban Culture”.
The course offers an analysis of the experimentation and controversies expressed in literature and deriving from the revolutionary contexts in Cuba since 1959. Students will also engage with selected novels, drama, poetry chosen from Morejón, Guillén, Cabrera Infante, Arenas, Arrufat, Otero, Padilla and many more.