Informative and engrossing analysis of Cuba’s progress since the Soviet Union’s demise
HELEN YAFFE’S book offers real hope that Cuba’s enduring commitment to socialism will prevail.
For over 60 years it has defied unrelenting aggression from the world’s dominant power, scoffed at corporate media’s predictions of its demise and regularly stuck two fingers up at the “rules” of international relations.
Memorably, Fidel Castro even described the George W Bush administration as a “group of shit-eaters who don’t deserve my respect.”
Revolutionary Cuba has now existed longer in the post-Soviet world than it did under its sphere of influence, but its future had looked extremely grim when the Soviet Union rapidly collapsed in the early 1990s.
Cuba lost 86 per cent of its trade and investment opportunities, including essential imports such as oil, and GDP fell by more than a third in three years.
Yet even while suffering such dire economic and social conditions, Cuba survived because its people did not seek a restoration of capitalism.
Its economy was radically transformed and the revolution proved itself to be neither static nor dogmatic in its attempts to improve the lives of its people.
Cuba sustained itself through a commitment to national sovereignty, which helped foster a recognition of the benefits that socialism had brought to the island compared with neighbouring countries.
Revolutionary Cuba rewrote the rule book on resilience, while placing human welfare and environmental concerns at its core.
Despite all the challenges imposed on it, spearheaded by the US’s increasingly restrictive and illegal blockade, Cuba has achieved world-leading human development indicators, enacted most of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals and it has been a beacon for internationalist solidarity.
Even though it is forced to balance on a tightrope between central planning and market forces, Cuba continues to prioritise economic, social and cultural rights.
The economy does not grow for growth’s sake and is instead focused on the social improvements it can achieve.
Life is not commodified and Cuban socialism survives with the backing and mass involvement of its people.
Yaffe doesn’t paper over the cracks or shy away from flagging up the hardships that continue to be endured by Cubans but hers is an undeniably enthusiastic celebration of a people who need and deserve our support.
Long may Cuba continue to defy expectations, flout the rules and fully unleash its potential.
Source: Morning Star