In the creation of Fidel Castro’s revolution, the promise to the Cuban people is this – under a regime that is led by the people, not Batista and his cronies, there shall soon be enough work, the sugar plantations shall be redistributed to the lowly campesinos, the American agro-industrial complexes shall be dismantled and nationalized, and education and healthcare shall soon be a reality in many parts of Cuba. Moreover, workers in the large enterprises shall be given thirty-percent of the profits, and peasants whose lands they tilled were not subject to redistribution shall be granted fifty-five percent of the sugar production.
Lastly, all ill-gotten wealth by previous regimes shall be confiscated, including those presently owned by heirs and legatees of discredited rulers of former regimes. While the Cuban Revolution has indeed been able to achieve racial democracy in many years of its existence by providing socio-economic and political opportunities to all Cubans regardless of color, by the time the Revolution entered its ‘Special Period’ to cope with the collapse of the Soviet Union, there exists a creeping reversion to the years of racial prejudice against blacks prior to the 1959 triumph of the revolution.
This renewed prejudice is created by the protracted economic crisis since the 1990s and the measures of the Cuban government in allowing Western-driven tourism to take root in places like Havana. As black Cubans are precluded from having free access to employment opportunities in the tourist centers, many blacks then subscribe to criminal activities and subsequently cracked down by security forces through unwarranted searches and a general profiling as being involved in criminal activities.
Thereafter, a cultural construct by the white Cuban population is created –a throwback to the racial prejudice against black Cubans prior to the Revolution. On the other hand, Portrait of Teresa shows the contradictions in Teresa between the stated aims of the Cuban Revolution for gender equality and the reality of her domestic situation, in which the husband remains king of the household despite the greater opportunities given by the Revolution to women for greater self-expression, employment access, among others.
Nonetheless, only time and the Cuban people will tell whether these rising inequalities may soon be addressed and rectified by the proud and mighty Cuban people. It is not for Fidel or Raul to determine such, only the people, by their struggle, can. References: 1. Castro, Fidel. “History Will Absolve Me” 1953. 2. De La Fuente, Alejandro. “Cuba’s Racial Democracy: What Now? ”. 3. Vega, Pastor. Portrait of Teresa 1979.
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