ISR Index | Main Newspaper Index

Encyclopedia of Trotskyism | Marxists’ Internet Archive

International Socialist Review, Spring 1964


Edward Shaw

Revolution in Cuba


Source: International Socialist Review, Vol.25 No.2, Spring 1964, p.62.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


Cuba: The Economic and Social Revolution
by Andres Bianchi, Richard Jolly and Max Nolff
University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, N.C., 1963. 432 pp. $7.50.

From January 1, 1959, when Fulgencia Batista fled the island in panic, Cuba has probably been the subject of more books than during the entire period beginning with the founding of Havana in AD 1515.

Yet the nature of the Cuban Revolution, its aims, methods and accomplishments, as well as the character of its leaders are obscured or completely misrepresented by “popular opinion” and the US State Department. This state of affairs cannot be attributed to lack of available information. It is primarily due to imperialism’s hysterical reaction to the revolution, akin to a master’s refusal to admit a former slave’s claims to freedom, equality, dignity and respect.

A new book, Cuba: The Economic and Social Revolution, is a serious effort to analyze and objectively present three major spheres of modern Cuban life: education, agriculture and industry. Because of what the editor, Dudley Seers, calls the “obvious reasons” that “neither Americans nor Cubans were suitable” for the task, his search for experts led him to three well-grounded economists, one Chilean and two Englishmen.

The book contains a mass of statistical data, much of which was compiled by the authors themselves and hitherto unavailable in this form. Unfortunately the time taken for preparation and publication limits us to material gathered no later than September 1962, just prior to the “missile crisis” of October 1962. The rapidity of change in a country consolidating a social revolution can make the normal time lag of a year or more in publishing such data seem very long indeed, even out-of-date in some cases.

Nevertheless, the authors’ efforts are meritorious. Their careful study tends to confirm the earlier observations of honest but less cautious and therefore more prompt reporters.

Though no attempt is made to justify the revolution, the following conclusions have to be drawn from the analysis:

  1. The Cuban economic and social structure is stable and provides the only example to date of a solution to Latin America’s striking poverty and economic stagnation.
  2. Seemingly insoluble technical and political problems (including armed invasion, economic boycott, political isolation and foreign-directed sabotage) have been met and overcome in spite of some major errors, freely admitted by the Cubans, and now being corrected.
  3. Overall economic and social results are favorable and great gains have been made by the formerly impoverished workers and poor farmers.
  4. The revolutionary regime is broadly based on the mass of workers and farmers, represents their interests and is firmly supported by the new generation of Cuban youth.
  5. The revolutionary leaders are in the main honest, intelligent, humane, hard-working, well-liked and responsive to the needs and desires of the Cuban people.

This book, rather long, dry and pedantic, will not become a best seller, or even generally popular. However, it should prove a valuable addition to the library of the serious student of Latin-American affairs and US-Cuba relations.

Top of page

ISR Index | Main Newspaper Index

Encyclopedia of Trotskyism | Marxists’ Internet Archive

Last updated on 3 June 2009