The first week of 2019 is drawing to a close. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a huge milestone this week. New Years Day marked the 60th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution. It’s still going strong despite many challenges, including the 56-year embargo. You have to know that Cuba’s tenacity just rankles the U.S. Ruling Class!
This is a report aired this week by Al Jazeera:
Cuba is kind of a controversial subject in the United States. There’s more than a little misinformation. Actually quite a lot! This is exactly as the U.S. government wants it.
The subject doesn’t come up often in my circle of friends and coworkers, but when it does most opinions generally range from mild to strong opposition. My political friends excluded, most other people I know believe that Cuba is a dictatorship. Most think Cuban people are oppressed, unhappy and live in poverty. I think it’s true a segment of Cubans probably are unhappy, just as some people here are unhappy. But, overwhelmingly, the Cuban people support their revolution.
Two years ago, following the death of Fidel Castro, I posted a lengthy “Special Report” in my previous blog. In it I explained my support for the revolution and tried to tell its side, as best I understand it. I provided facts and figures with citations, and lots of videos that I hope are both informative and entertaining. I look at Cuba’s medical missions abroad — far exceeding any of the industrialized nations and even the World Health Organization (WHO) — its decisive role in ending Apartheid rule in South Africa, LGBT rights, and other subjects.
If you’ve never read anything supporting the revolution or heard more than a quick sound byte on TV, I invite you to check out my post from December 31, 2016: Fidel Castro & the Cuban Revolution.
Note: The ‘Fidel Castro’ post is on my old blog platform which unfortunately doesn’t adjust for small screens. For the best experience, I recommend viewing with a desktop or laptop.
Note: If you’d like to add your thoughts, my old blog platform didn’t support comments. Instead you’ll see a link returning you back here where you can comment below.
I’m sure my essay is not without a few weaknesses and errors. It’s always best to hear things from the horse’s mouth! If you’d like to read about Cuba first-hand there are so many books I could recommend, but I’ll mention just two here. These are favorites of mine. Each tells a powerful and important part of the story.
Our History is Still Being Written is a “must-read” in my mind. It tells the story, in their own words, of three Chinese-Cuban generals who have served their lives in the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba.
The history and experience of Chinese people in Cuba is interesting all by itself. In the 1800s Cuba’s infamous ‘Coolie Trade’ brought a half million Chinese to Cuba as indentured laborers. Later, under more favorable conditions, Chinese came to Cuba seeking opportunities for a new life. The three generals interviewed for this book — Armando Choy, Gustavo Chui and Moisés Sío Wong — came from different backgrounds but each joined the fight to overthrow the U.S.-backed Batista dictatorship, and then devoted their lives to the revolution.
What I like most in this book is the extensive detail about how the revolution transformed Cuban society and its people. It details the day-to-day life of the revolution as it goes about meeting needs at home and worldwide through internationalist missions. If you read nothing else, Our History will give you a comprehensive A to Z picture of Cuba, its revolution and life today. It shows how Cuba, contrary to all the U.S. propaganda, possesses a decency and humanity that the world can and must emulate.
Episodes of the Cuban Revolutionary War is a first-hand account of the Cuban Revolution written by Ernesto Che Guevara. The book is a collection of articles by Che that were published between 1961 and 1964 based on his journal, photographs and personal recollections. The book contains a 36-page photo section, maps, chronology, notes, glossary, index and more.
One of the many things that impressed me was the humanity of the revolution even through the battles necessary to overthrow the U.S.-backed dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. “Our attitude toward the wounded [Batista fighters],” Che wrote on page 108, “was in open contrast to that of Batista’s army. Not only did they kill our wounded men; they abandoned their own… Fidel gave orders that the prisoners be given all the medicines to take care of the wounded.” After treatment these wounded Batista prisoners were released.
Title image: Ian Usher
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