The Myths and Costs of the Cuban Revolution

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					        FRESH LOOK

                      Che’s Afterlife: The                      The Cuba Wars: Fidel                     The Portable Island:
                      Legacy of an Image                        Castro, the United States,               Cubans at Home
                                                                and the Next Revolution                  in the World
                      Michael Casey
                      Vintage Books, 2009, Softcover,           Daniel P. Erikson                        Ruth Behar and Lucía M.
                                                                                                         Suárez (Eds.)
                      338 pages                                 Bloomsbury Press, 2008,
                                                                Hardcover, 314 pages                     Palgrave Macmillan, 2008,
                                                                                                         Softcover, 276 pages




                     The Myths and Costs of the Cuban Revolution
                     BY EUSEBIO MUJAL-LEÓN


                                   hen the Cuban Revolu-         party poking fun at the elder Castro    the tremendous price Cubans have


                     W             tion celebrated its 50th
                                   anniversary in early 2009,
                                   Raúl Castro boasted it
                     would be around for another 50 years.
                     Change, however, is in the air.
                                                                 and criticizing his successor—have
                                                                “generational” conflict and frustra-
                                                                 tion written all over them.
                                                                    Equally significant is a more “si-
                                                                 lent” transition, underway over the
                                                                                                         paid for the failure of democracy to
                                                                                                         take root. The third, Che’s Afterlife:
                                                                                                         The Legacy of an Image, shows another
                                                                                                         side of the Cuban global reach: the
                                                                                                         branding of the revolution.
                        For one thing, Fidel Castro, though     past 20 years. This has been marked         The Cuba Wars, written by Daniel
                     still audible from the sidelines           by the reintroduction of capitalism,     P. Erikson, senior associate at the
                     through his reflexiones, is in the twi-      growing social stratification and       Inter-American Dialogue and a long-
                     light of his reign. His brother Raúl,      inequality, an incipient civil soci-     time Cuba-watcher, is an intelligent,
                     now ascended to the presidency, has        ety, and by the weakening of a state     balanced and informative book with
                     implemented some timid economic            whose capacity to provide education,     many good interviews and vignettes.
                     reforms and sounds like a blend of         health and housing are in visible de-    Both general and specialist readers
                     Max Weber, Henry Ford and Vladimir         cline. According to official statistics   can learn much from it. To start with,
                     Lenin with his continuous references       from this year, there is a shortage of   the title is absolutely on the mark:
                     to institutionalization, efficiency and     600,000 housing units, a number          the “cold war” between Cuba and
                     productivity. Since taking power in        that does not take into account the      the United States has outlasted the
                     February 2008, the younger Castro (by      440,000 homes damaged by devas-          Cold War by 20 years; the “civil war”
                     five years) has replaced more than a     
				
DOCUMENT INFO
Description: Since taking power in February 2008, the younger Castro (by five years) has replaced more than a dozen ministers and placed key military allies in prominent positions. According to official statistics from this year, there is a shortage of 600,000 housing units, a number that does not take into account the 440,000 homes damaged by devastating hurricanes last year.
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