Cuba: a century of struggle
This month's focus is on Cuba, a country that is
commemorating 100 years
of what is known as the Spanish-American war (1898), but that actually
began as a Cuban-Spanish war. The U.S. intervened in that war allegedly
to defend Cuba from Spain. However, it had the hidden agenda of
regional hegemony, a goal it reached with Puerto Rico and the
After the war, the US gained possession of Cuba, but granted formal
to the island in 1902. However, the U.S. secured its right to
through the Platt Amendment (of which the Guantánamo naval base
is a shameful survivor). The Cuban Revolution of 1959 was an attempt to
attain true economic and political independence, this time from the
The Revolution originally had little to do with communism per se, but
the context of the Cold War, the U.S. justified its attempts to destroy
the Revolution as a war against communism. The Cold War is over, yet
U.S. insists on maintaining and even tightening its economic blockade,
an incredibly inhumane policy that is opposed by all UN members except
Israel. As Cuban analyst Juan Antonio Blanco explains, today the U.S.
not base its policy toward the island on the Truman Docrine's idea of
containment of communism, but rather on the Monroe Doctrine which
its imperial right to what it considers its backyard"(Blanco and
Talking About the Revolution, Ocean Press, 1997, p. 122). In the
analysis, the U.S cannot forgive Cuba for having resisted to follow
The Conexiones Project
The ISLA web site hosts articles
by Cuban researchers of the DataCenter's
Project. This project includes the shipment of ISLA subscriptions to
key Cuban research centers, including Universidad de la Habana, Centro
de Investigaciones de la Economía Internacional, Centro de
Psicológicas y Sociológicas and Centro Memorial Dr.
Luther King Jr.
A Congress on Latin America and Social Justice
The essays and interview for this issue were brought back
from our trip
to Chicago, where ISLA participated in the Latin American Studies
Congress (September 24 to 26, 1998). We met several of the over 60
scholars attending the Congress. Around 20 other scholars were not able
to attend due to problems in obtaining their visas from the U.S.
The LASA Congress, which focused on the theme of social
a wonderful opportunity to get an updated overview of contemporary
society and culture in Latin America and also in the U.S. Latino
The two essays featured in our web-site derive from the panels on Cuba
(21 in total), and show the breadth of topics: from Cuba-U.S. relations
to gender and religion in Cuba. They were written by senior researchers
from two organizations ISLA maintains dialogue with: The Centro de
Sobre Estados Unidos (CESEU), and the Centro de Estudios sobre
(CEA). We quote only highlights form the papers, and have the
texts in our archives, available upon request. We also feature an
interview with Dr. Antonio Romero one of Cuba's leading economists. Dr.
Romero is director of Havana University's Center for Research on
Economy (CIEI). He talked with us about how Cuba is surviving the U.S.
economic embargo (referred to more accurately by Cubans as "blockade"),
and the challenges faced by an economy that negotiates socialism with a
tentative opening to capitalist measures. Finally, we offer a special
of photographs, that illustrate aspects of the vibrant Cuban society.