International Journal of Cuban Studies Latest Issues

Below you can find the table of contents for the latest issues of the International Journal of Cuban Studies. All articles are Open Access and links to each article are provided below. The journal is hosted on JSTOR and can be found here to read online. 

What’s next for Cuba? And this issue’s contents

Al Campbell

Theory … “With feet on the Ground”

Jesús Pastor García Brigos

It is essential to develop the theory for the socialist transformation as the guide for permanent development, based on experience and accumulated knowledge, to orient our process of socialist socialisation with greater effectiveness and sustainability in current and future conditions. This text reflects on and presents proposals on conceptual elements present in the current Cuban process of transformations, and their expression in the terms that appear in the Island’s governing documents, in the first place the new Magna Carta. We focus our attention on state work in socialist planning. Socialist planning is essentially a political task, the content of which is inextricably linked to that of the new type of state. From this comes the importance of the conceptualisation of the state, as an organisation of society and as a specialised political institution – the System of Popular Power – and the conceptualisation of the “work of governing” in a process of socialist transformation.

Keywords: Socialist planning, the state, a vision of the future, the withering away of the state, public power – social power, communist social self-government, the work of governing in a socialist transformation

Cuba, agriculture and socialist renewal

Ingrid Hanon

This paper aims to analyse the trajectory and dynamics of Cuban agriculture since the Revolution. It examines the main challenges, divergences and contradictions of its socialist strategy in the agrarian sector, stressing the limits of the industrial and agricultural models and the forces of production inherited from the capitalist world. For this purpose, I examine changes and continuities in terms of land management, crop production, the technological model and agricultural policy. Finally, I look at Cuban agriculture transformations in the 1990s from a social and solidarity economy perspective, signalling their contributions to the renewal of Cuban socialism.

Keywords: Cuba, agriculture, socialism, self-management, environment, technology, solidarity economy

¿Pueden las empresas estatales cubanas pagar mayores salarios?

Ricardo González Aguila and Leandro Zipitría

En el documento se explora el porqué de los bajos salarios pagados por empresas estatales cubanas. Además de deficiencias institucionales y estructurales que limitan el aumento de la eficiencia, productividad y competitividad empresarial, identificamos en la multiplicidad de tipos de cambio y en particular en la sobrevaloración del tipo de cambio oficial, así como en la distribución primaria del producto en la empresa, restricciones centrales que necesitan ser abordadas integralmente con vistas a fortalecer la capacidad de la empresa estatal cubana de pagar mayores salarios. Se proponen algunas transformaciones institucionales que deberían acompañar a este proceso de fortalecimiento.

Keywords: salarios, empresas estatales, Cuba

Meeting the UN’s development targets in Cuba: lessons from the global south

Emily J. Kirk and Chris Walker

Para muchos el análisis de los Objetivos de Desarrollo del Milenio de las Naciones Unidas (MDG en inglés) deja unas imágenes de comunidades pobres y marginalizadas en el sur global que reciben apoyo financiero, préstamos, y apoyo de varias ONG del norte global. Pero, ¿puede un país del sur global, con recursos muy limitados, alcanza tanto los MDG como los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible (SDG en inglés), y hacerlo sin el apoyo, apoyo financiero del norte global y la industria de desarrollo? El caso de Cuba, y su estrategia de desarrollo sostenible, podría ofrecernos algunas pautas sobre la forma de superar estos retos. En particular este artículo analiza los éxitos de Cuba al cumplir con los objetivos, tanto de MDG como de SDG, en cuestiones de salud pública, educación, igualdad de género y medio ambiente.

For many, discussion of the UN’s development goals inspires images of poor and marginalised communities in the global south receiving aid, loans, and NGO support from the global north. Can a country from the global south with limited resources reach the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as well as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and do so without the support, aid or influence of the global north and the development industry? The case of Cuba and its sustainable development approach may offer some evidence for overcoming these challenges. In particular, this article will examine Cuba’s successes in meeting MDG and SDG targets in healthcare, education, gender equality and the environment.

Keywords: development, UN, sustainability, millenium, equality, environment

Macro-social marketing for health: the case of Cuba

Sonya A. Grier, Luis Alberto Barreiro Pousa and Ileana Díaz Fernández

The macro-environment in which social marketing is practised is an important factor in how it is structured and practiced, as well as its effectiveness. This paper analyses Cuban practices aimed at encouraging health behaviour change from a social marketing perspective. We utilise the case study method to assess the key social marketing dimensions of three health promotion programmes (tobacco, tuberculosis and AIDS) in Cuba. Each case is assessed against social marketing benchmark criteria used in prior research. Analysis of the cases is used to explicate the Cuban government use of macrosocial marketing approaches to address health challenges. Results demonstrate: (1) how Cuba uses a unique organisational approach to address population health needs and challenges and (2) the role of particularities of the Cuban context in the theory and practice of social marketing in Cuba. An examination of Cuban social marketing activities can broaden our understanding of the way social marketing is conceptualised and practised and may help increase the effectiveness of social marketing to improve health.

Keywords: macro-social marketing, public health, Cuba, behaviour change

Toward a more inclusive history of the Cuban revolution of 1959

Eloise Linger

The article claims that most historiography of the Cuban revolution of 1959 has omitted women, people of colour, and to some extent student youth and labourers. The shorter first part of the paper presents reasons of historical context and dominant Euro-male mindset that help explain why histories of Cuba’s and other revolutions omitted women and people of colour until recent scholarship. Then, excerpts from oral testimonials of three activists in revolutionary movements of the 1950s give a livelier picture of how Afro-Cubans, women and youth provided the backbone and vast networks that kept alive and pushed forward the more highly celebrated guerrilla forces that came to power, led by Fidel Castro. Twentieth-century Cuban revolutionary context and continuity is evident in the quotes from Aida Pelayo, a leader of the civic coalition Mujeres Martianas in the 1950s, about her student days in the 1930s.

Keywords: revolutions, historiography, revolutionary directorate, Afro-Cuban, women, Cuban oral histories.

‘I would rather go on being underdeveloped.’ Rereading and recontextualising Edmundo Desnoes’s 1965 novel Memorias del subdesarrollo

William Rowlandson

This article follows two lines of inquiry. First, it provides a rereading of the novel Memorias del subdesarrollo (Desnoes 1965), suggesting that the protagonist, Sergio, is affected by the threat of nuclear war throughout the novel and that this fear dominates the text from the outset, and not just the novel’s ending during the Missile Crisis of October 1962. It argues that Sergio’s state of anxiety and inertia derive as much from this fear as from his intellectual detachment and problematic relationship with the Cuban Revolution, where critical attention has tended to focus. This rereading gives texture to Sergio’s inaction and nihilism, revealing a coherent response of an individual to the threat of catastrophe. Secondly, this article sets this rereading against a new context of catastrophe: that of climate change, ecosystem collapse and species extinction. In this context an overlooked revolutionary fervour is detected in Sergio that provides a reading of hope in the narrative that, when read analogously against the present, may reflect a sense of hope against calamity.

Keywords: Desnoes, Memorias , Cuba, revolution, Missile Crisis, nuclear, catastrophe, climate change, decarbonisation