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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Cuban Exceptionalism by Ken Cole

Cuban Exceptionalism: A Personal View 
by Ken Cole
Ken Cole is a member of the International Institute for the Study of Cuba at London Metropolitan University. 

January 1, 2009, marks the fiftieth anniversary of victory in Cuba’s third war of independence. In his first speech of the Cuban Revolution, given in Santiago de Cuba on January 1, 1959, Fidel Castro declared that for the first time in four centuries Cubans were free. Whereas Carlos Manuel de Céspedes and José Martí had led the previous wars, in 1868 and 1895, against Spanish colonial dominion, Castro’s July 26th Movement (named after the day in 1953 when the attack on the Moncada barracks marked the commencement of the revolution) challenged the economic domination of Cuba by the United States.

The Municipal University Centers: Past, Present, and Future by Jorge González Corona

The Municipal University Centers:  Past, Present, and Future
by Jorge González Corona
Translated by Mariana Ortega Breña
Jorge González Corona is Professor of Political Science at the Manuel Bisbé Municipal University. Mariana Ortega Breña is a freelance translator based in Canberra, Australia. 

The development of education in Cuba since January 1, 1959, has gone through several phases. The 1960's witnessed the National Literacy Campaign of 1961, the implementation of universal access to elementary education, the adult post-literacy programs, the massive training of teachers, and the University Reform of 1962. In the next period, 1970–1980, universal access to secondary education was achieved, as was a nationwide university network. These efforts were accompanied by substantial investment in the creation of the necessary material base for education and the accelerated training and upgrading of teachers and professors.

Reflections on the Cuban Revolution by Gary Prevost

Reflections on the Cuban Revolution
by Gary Prevost
Gary Prevost has been Professor of Political Science at St. John’s University since 1977.

When I visited Cuba in the first few days of 1992, it was not clear that the revolution would survive. Food was in relatively short supply and electricity blackouts were common. Even long-time supporters of the revolution were pessimistic about the future. Everything that had been accomplished in its first 32 years seemed in jeopardy when the Soviet Union went out of existence
at the end of 1991 and canceled most of its trade deals with Cuba. The country’s gross domestic product was in the process of shrinking by 50 percent.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Cuban Solidarity and Disaster Response by August Nimtz

Cuban Solidarity and Disaster Response 
by August Nimtz
August Nimtz is Professor of Political Science at the University of Minnesota and the author of Marx, Tocqueville, and Race in America (2003). A more detailed version of the argument presented here can be found in “Natural versus Social Phenomena: Cuba and the Lessons of Katrina” (The Black Scholar, 2006, 36 [4]). 

How is it that an underdeveloped country that is incessantly alleged to be under a dictatorship can do a far better job of saving the lives of its citizens when a hurricane strikes than a rich country with all the trappings of liberal democracy? The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina demonstrates that this is not just an interesting academic question but a matter of life and death. Even before then, international bodies such as the United Nations and the International Red Cross often cited Cuba for its exemplary practices in dealing with hurricanes. Measured in terms of preparation, loss of lives, and recovery, the differences between Cuba and the United States Gulf Coast persist. Even in the 2008 season, when Cuba was assaulted by the most powerful hurricanes on record, it experienced the loss of only five lives.

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