Focus on Cuba

Introduction [ Cuba: a century of struggle
 | The Conexiones Project

| A Congress on Latin America and Social Justice |

ISLA Exclusive - Interview with Dr. Antonio Romero

The possibility of Détente before the Third Millenium (Cuba-U.S. Relations)

Women and Religions of African Origin in Cuba

Cuba Today: a photo portfolio

Previous Feature - Focus on Mexico


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 securing regional hegemony, a goal it reached with Puerto Rico and the Phillipines. After the war, the US gained possession of Cuba, but granted formal independence to the island in 1902. However, the U.S. secured its right to intervention 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 U.S. The Revolution originally had little to do with communism per se, but in 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 the 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. "does not base its policy toward the island on the Truman Docrine's idea of the containment of communism, but rather on the Monroe Doctrine which asserts its imperial right to what it considers its backyard"(Blanco and Benjamin. Cuba: Talking About the Revolution, Ocean Press, 1997, p. 122). In the final analysis, the U.S cannot forgive Cuba for having resisted to follow Puerto Rico's path.


The Conexiones Project

The ISLA web site hosts articles by Cuban researchers of the DataCenter's Conexiones Project. This project includes the shipment of ISLA subscriptions to fourteen key Cuban research centers, including Universidad de la Habana, Centro de Investigaciones de la Economía Internacional, Centro de Investigaciones Psicológicas y Sociológicas and Centro Memorial Dr. Martin 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 Association Congress (September 24 to 26, 1998). We met several of the over 60 Cuban scholars attending the Congress. Around 20 other scholars were not able to attend due to problems in obtaining their visas from the U.S. government.

The LASA Congress, which focused on the theme of social justice, was a wonderful opportunity to get an updated overview of contemporary politics, society and culture in Latin America and also in the U.S. Latino communities. 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 Estudios Sobre Estados Unidos (CESEU), and the Centro de Estudios sobre América (CEA). We quote only highlights form the papers, and have the full-length texts in our archives, available upon request. We also feature an exclusive interview with Dr. Antonio Romero one of Cuba's leading economists. Dr. Romero is director of Havana University's Center for Research on International 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 section of photographs, that illustrate aspects of the vibrant Cuban society.


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