Top Menu

Cuba: Education and Revolution

In 1795, Father José Agustín Caballero presented the first project for the creation of a system of public education for all the inhabitants of the island of Cuba. It was a visionary idea, but impossible to carry out at that time. The island was a colonial possession of the Spanish Crown, and most of the population was subjected to slavery or made up of Mestizos and freed blacks, the victims of segregation and racial discrimination. Education, within the reach of a very small minority, was confined within the strict canons of scholastic philosophy.… Father Caballero was profoundly critical of that philosophy and of the pedagogy springing from it. This would be the birth of an intellectual movement having decisive importance for the history of Cuba, a movement that would reach its pinnacle with another Catholic priest, Félix Varela, who was Caballero’s disciple and the first Cuban intellectual who fought for national independence and the abolition of slavery.

The Long March of the Cuban Revolution

The Cuban revolutionary victory of January 1, 1959, was a news event of epochal proportion even for those who knew little about that country. For many, it was like discovering a new world. And as in the age of the great navigators, encountering it was clouded both by ignorance and the prejudices that usually accompany such revelations.

“We Will Keep Trying, Unrepentant, Forever”

Soon after joining Cuba’s Foreign Relations Ministry, in the early 1960s, I learned about Victor Rabinowitz and Leonard Boudin. Before meeting them I already knew how much Fidel admired and respected these two distinguished American lawyers, who were representing Cuba in the midst of a very complex and difficult confrontation and a very uneven one.…At the time I didn’t imagine that I was going to be sent to New York to my first and only diplomatic assignment. It was not exceedingly easy to begin a diplomatic career, or any career for that matter, at the top and to transform yourself in a couple of years from a student of philosophy into the youngest ambassador ever at the UN. It did not help that I was representing a country that was almost completely isolated in the Western Hemisphere.

ALBA: A New Dawn for Latin America

The collapse of the Soviet Union and the political and economic system it headed brought about an excessive euphoria that caused many — both on the right and within a “left” subordinated to that failed project — to believe in the final and definitive triumph of capitalism. So much was said about the fall of the Berlin Wall that few realized that at the same time the Caracazo was taking place