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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Cuba! Cuba! Cuba! by William I. Robinson

Cuba! Cuba! Cuba! 
by William I. Robinson 
William Robinson is Professor of Sociology, Global Studies, and Latin American Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His most recent book is Latin America and Global Capitalism: A Critical Globalization Perspective, published in 2008. 

It was Fall 1980. I had recently returned to New York from a three-year stint in Africa and would shortly be heading to Nicaragua, where I would spend the next 10 years. At the time I did not know much about the Cuban Revolution, but my political awakening had taken place on a continent that was still in the process of overthrowing the shackles of colonialism.

The Cuban Revolution. Half a Century. by Saul Landau

The Cuban Revolution. Half a Century.
by Saul Landau
Saul Landau is a senior fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies. He has produced 10 books and more than 40 films on social, political, and historical issues and worldwide human rights and is the recipient of Chile’s Bernardo O’Higgins award for human rights. 

Five Cuban intelligence agents sit in federal penitentiaries across the United States because they infiltrated anti-revolutionary groups in Miami intent on doing violence in Cuba. These five men represent a long line of those who have acted from an understanding of their roles in the long human historical drama.

Reflections on Medical Internationalism by John Kirk

Reflections on Medical Internationalism 
by John Kirk
John Kirk is Professor of Latin American Studies at Dalhousie University, where he specializes in Cuban political history. He has written/coedited several books on Cuba, including Redefining Cuban Foreign Policy: The Impact of the “Special Period” (2006), and Culture and the Cuban Revolution: Conversations in Havana (2001). Together with Michael Erisman he is writing a monograph on Cuban medical internationalism. 

Patria es humanidad. —José Martí

José Martí’s assertion that the Cuban homeland is all of humanity sums up elegantly the extraordinary generosity of spirit visible in Cuba’s medical internationalism program.

Cuba va: Fifty Years Marching toward Victory. By Roberto Fumagalli

Cuba va:  Fifty Years Marching toward Victory 
By Roberto Fumagalli
Roberto Fumagalli, since graduating in natural sciences from the University of Milan in 1994, has pursued a career in photography in Italy and abroad. In 2006 he published Cuba va, a photographic journey into the heart of the Cuban Revolution. 

My commitment to the Cuban Revolution began in 2002 with my first trip to the island. Today, after 13 trips, I feel it to be stronger than ever. I have had the good fortune to penetrate deep into the texture of Cuban society, getting to know from the inside not only people’s everyday lives but also the ongoing revolutionary process. Because of the ideals I nurture in my heart, the ideals of revolution, I have been able to gain the trust of the Cuban officials and ordinary people that allowed me to enter hospitals, universities, schools, cooperatives, factories, prisons, army compounds, and homes. As a photographer I have been able to capture the essence of this country, its people, and its revolution and create a book that goes beyond the stereotypes (and lies) we are so often told about Cuba by the mainstream media. I was accompanied through this professional and personal journey by my best friend, Roberto Chile, Fidel Castro’s personal cameraman for 25 years.

Thoughts on Cuban Education by Elvira Martín Sabina

Thoughts on Cuban Education by Elvira Martín Sabina
Translated by Mariana Ortega Breña
Elvira Martín Sabina is a Distinguished Professor at the University of Havana, director of the Center for Studies of the Improvement of Higher Education, and coordinator of the UNESCO Chair on University Teaching and Management. Mariana Ortega Breña is a freelance translator based in Canberra, Australia.

Cuba’s educational experience shows that underdeveloped countries can indeed achieve levels of success that nurture human rights and their sustainable development. An appraisal of this experience begins by citing the country’s precarious economic situation, the result of colonial and neocolonial domination, which was inevitably reflected in education in prerevolutionary Cuba. According to the 1953 census and other sources, only 55.6 percent of children between 6 and 14 years were attending primary school and only 16.5 percent of young people between 15 and 19 were enrolled at the secondary level. Out of a population of 5.8 million people, more than 1 million were illiterate. This was a particularly acute problem in the countryside, where illiteracy reached 41.7 percent of the population over age 10 and was higher among women. This does not include functional illiterates, which increased the rate to more than 50 percent. These figures reflect the strikingly insufficient reach of educational services and their quality at the time of the triumph of the revolution in 1959. How has it been possible for Cuban education to be currently among the most advanced in Latin America and the Caribbean?