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Planning from Below: A Decentralized Participatory Planning Proposal by Marta Harnecker and José Bartolomé

Planning from Below: A Decentralized Participatory Planning Proposal

Political scientist, author, and activist, Marta Harnecker has devoted her life to collaborating in building radical democracy in Latin American communities where people have, for generations, experienced crushing poverty and a near complete loss of control over their lives. In South America and the Caribbean, but especially in Cuba and Venezuela, Harnecker has worked directly with disenfranchised workers and peasants. From the ground up, she has helped to build new structures and methods that bring to virtually unknown towns and provinces the full meaning of the Bolivarian revolution. In this latest work, Harnecker, with Spanish economist José Bartolomé, shares some of her wisdom on how this is being done, and how communities everywhere can gain empowerment. | more…

Cuban Health Care: The Ongoing Revolution

Cuban Health Care: The Ongoing Revolution

Forthcoming in June 2020

Quiet as it’s kept inside the United States, the Cuban revolution has achieved some phenomenal goals, reclaiming Cuba’s agriculture, advancing its literacy rate to nearly 100 percent—and remaking its medical system. Cuba has transformed its health care to the extent that this “third-world” country has been able to maintain a first-world medical system, whose health indicators surpass those of the United States at a fraction of the cost. Don Fitz combines his broad knowledge of Cuban history with his decades of on-the-ground experience in Cuba to bring us the story of how Cuba’s health care system evolved and how Cuba is tackling the daunting challenges to its revolution in this century. | more…

Safehouse in Ladvi near Prague used by Che Guevara

Cuba, Che Guevara, and the Problem of “Socialism in One Country”

The presidential elections in Cuba in March 2018 has raised again the question of the country’s survival. How can Cuba hold up and develop against the economic, cultural, and military encirclement of U.S. imperialism in particular and the capitalist system in general? An answer can be sought in the history of Cuba’s socialist transition, the unique role played by Che Guevara, and the emergence of ideas regarding the possibility (and impossibility) of achieving socialism in one country alone. | more…

Cuban Doctors Provide Vaccinations in Senegal in 1973

Cuba’s First Military Doctors

In the 1960s and the context of mushrooming popular movements across the globe, the brutality of U.S. imperialism, the unreliability of the Soviet Union as an ally, and the Latin American Communist Parties’ focus on the urban working class, Cuban leaders felt beckoned to help revolutionary projects in Africa. While Cuba sent soldiers, they also sent doctors. By the end of the 1960s, when the Cuban revolutionary government had been in power for only ten years, doctors had been involved in four different African political projects. Cuba’s deployment of military doctors to Africa left profound impacts, both on the host countries and on the Cuban doctors, who were bound to secrecy and only began sharing their stories decades later. | more…

Healthcare workers celebrating in Cuba

The Birth of the Cuban Polyclinic

During the 1960s, Cuban medicine experienced changes as tumultuous as the civil rights and antiwar protests in the United States. While activists, workers, and students in western Europe and the United States confronted existing institutions of capitalism and imperialism, Cuba faced the even greater challenge of building a new society. | more…

Organoponico Vivero Alamar

Cuba’s New Cooperatives

Historians have long documented the ways that capitalism drew its early accumulation from the dispossession of commonly owned resources—a process that continues to this day. Building a socialist society and economy can be thought of as a reversal of this process—a reclaiming of commons. The resources that contribute to human development do so best when shared and governed democratically. This includes not only the forests and fields of the pre-capitalist past, but also education and health care systems, parks and streets, waterways, and the shared culture, knowledge, and productive resources of a society. | more…

Celia Sánchez with Che Guevara

‘I Grew Up with Extraordinary People’

Aleida Guevara March is the daughter of Che Guevara and Aleida March. She is a pediatrician at William Soler Children’s Hospital in Havana, and teaches at the Escuela Latina-Americana de Medicina and at a primary school for children with disabilities. As a member of the Cuban Communist Party, she often participates in political debates across the globe. As a pediatrician, she has worked in Angola, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. She has two adult daughters and works closely with the Centro de Estudios Che Guevara, where her mother is the director.
Alice Walker

The Story of Why I Am Here

Or, A Woman Connects Oppressions

Alice Walker is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, poet, and activist. Her most recent book is The World Will Follow Joy (New Press, 2013). This article was originally a speech delivered at a Peace for Cuba Rally on February 1, 1992, and first published in MR in June 1994. Walker’s words remain as relevant today as when they were first spoken.
Haydée Santamaría

Her Revolution, Her Life

Margaret Randall, Haydée Santamaría, Cuban Revolutionary: She Led by Transgression (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2015), 248 pages, $23.95, paperback.

In the early 1950s, Haydée Santamaría Cuadrado moved from a rural Cuban sugar plantation to Havana, to live with her younger brother Abel. Together, they would help to establish a revolutionary movement that would change the history of their country. Haydée, as she is known throughout Cuba—Yeyé to her friends—was one of only two women among 160 men who took part in attacks on Batista’s army barracks at Moncada and Bayamo on July 26, 1953, which sparked the Cuban Revolution.… In her recent book, poet and scholar Margaret Randall, who lived in Cuba in the 1970s and became friends with Haydée, has captured the essence of this exemplary woman. | more…

The 3,000 Who Stayed

Stories of Cuban medical accomplishments often note that half of the country’s 6,000 doctors had left by 1963. But just as professionals were forsaking their homeland en masse for the comforts of Miami, 3,000 doctors chose to stay. Why did they remain? More important, the number of patients per doctor now doubled, how did they face the daunting task of transforming medicine? In addition to treating patients, their goals included expanding medical care to rural regions; increasing medical education to replace doctors who had left; making care preventive, community-oriented, and focused on tropical diseases; and redesigning a fractured and non-cohesive health system.… The consciousness of the 3,000 who stayed became the “material force” in the production of Cuban health care, as much a material force as the manufacture of pharmaceuticals or the construction of hospitals. | more…

Cuba and the U.S. Empire: A Chronological History

Cuba and the U.S. Empire: A Chronological History

In this updated edition of her classic, Cuba and the United States, Jane Franklin depicts the two countries’ relationship from the time both were colonies to the present. We see the early connections between Cuba and the United States through slavery; through the sugar trade; Cuba’s multiple wars for national liberation; the annexation of Cuba by the United States; the infamous Platt Amendment that entitled the United States to intervene directly in Cuban affairs; the gangster capitalism promoted by Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista; and the guerrilla war that brought the revolutionaries to power. | more…

A Hidden History of the Cuban Revolution: How the Working Class Shaped the Guerillas' Victory

A Hidden History of the Cuban Revolution: How the Working Class Shaped the Guerrillas’ Victory

Millions of words have been written about the Cuban Revolution, which, to both its supporters and detractors, is almost universally understood as being won by a small band of guerillas. In this unique and stimulating book, Stephen Cushion turns the conventional wisdom on its head, and argues that the Cuban working class played a much more decisive role in the Revolution’s outcome than previously understood. Although the working class was well-organized in the 1950s, it is believed to have been too influenced by corrupt trade union leaders, the Partido Socialist Popular, and a tradition of making primarily economic demands to have offered much support to the guerillas. Cushion contends that the opposite is true, and that significant portions of the Cuban working class launched an underground movement in tandem with the guerillas operating in the mountains. | more…