Cuba Resource Page

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Fifth Estate articles on Cuba are displayed in date order.

Cuba: Dawning of American Imperialism: The Spanish-American War
by Bob Nirkind
Fifth Estate #269, February, 1976

All too anxious to enter the Cuban-Spanish War in hopes of annexing Cuba after its impending liberation, imperialist America was able to distort facts and manipulate the loss of the Maine and 266 of its crewmen into an excuse for jumping into the thick of the fray. Read more…

Cuba-US Back to Normal
by Fifth Estate Collective
Fifth Estate #283, June, 1977

Acceding to the exigencies of global capital, the U.S. and Cuban governments finally admitted their mutual interests after some 16 years of mutual denunciation. Read more…

Cuban Army Goose-steps: The State Marches On
by Fifth Estate Collective
Fifth Estate #283, June, 1977

The difference between “the people in arms” and the “People’s Army” is vast and more than just words… In Cuba, the Army not only serves the purpose of protecting the rulers in power (Castro and Co.), but now has expanded its role to aiding pro-capitalist outfits like the MPLA in Angola achieve power and begin exploiting workers there. Armies serve only rulers. Read more…

Review of Dolgoff Cuba Book
by Muswell Hillbillie
Fifth Estate #286, September, 1977

Sam Dolgoff’s book, The Cuban Revolution, presents some interesting and relevant information not previously available in English, although most of it has been available to Spanish-speaking readers for a long time. For those of us who are vitally interested in knowing more than the “communist” myths about the history and progress of revolt wherever it may occur, this book is a starting point. But for those of us who really want to comprehend the past so that we can begin to go beyond it, this book is superficial and inadequate. Read more…

Organic Cuba: Farming & Politics
by Citizen Cane
Fifth Estate #354, Spring, 2000

The U.S. economic embargo and a continuing shortage of hard currency on the island—combined with a growing awareness in Cuba of the benefits of organic techniques—have spurred on this unique national effort, now about 10 years old. Read more…

Sex, Lies, & Tourism: Is Cuba really prostituting her teenagers, or is this another cynical manipulation by the Bush Administration?
by Citizen Cane
Fifth Estate #363, Winter, 2003/2004

…the Bush Administration’s decision to sic Homeland Security on Cuba travelers is about avoiding (re)defeat in Florida in the 2004 election, period. If his people were serious about impeding the mass sexual exploitation of a generation of impoverished Caribbean “comfort women,” they could start with half a dozen other countries in the region where they have real influence and could actually change things. Read more…

An Open Letter From Cuban Anarchists
by anon.
Fifth Estate #363, Winter, 2003/2004

As you might be aware, the Castroist crackdown on dissent has been stepped up and toughened up over these past few months in Cuba. Even so, transition from dictatorship to bourgeois democracy seems increasingly inevitable, albeit that, as in the Spanish precedent, there is every indication that this Transition will not be fully activated until after the physical demise of the dictator. Read more…

An Anarchist in Cuba: Socialism or Cell Phones
by Walker Lane (Peter Werbe)
Fifth Estate #378, Summer 2008

The changes that signal an end to the Cuban Revolution (more below about what it actually consisted of), were, in fact, changes celebrated internationally as “reforms,” “a loosening up,” an “entry into the 21st century”—the announcement that a host of electronic toys…would be available on the island. Read more…

Cuba: From State to Private Capitalism: Adios Socialismo
by Walker Lane (Peter Werbe)
Fifth Estate #383, Summer, 2010

Since the early 1990s, following the Soviet Union’s collapse, increasingly the island’s economy has been based around tourism and foreign investment. Even with the U.S. trade embargo in place, Cuba still imports hundreds of millions of dollars worth of American goods yearly. Read more…

State Violence & Cuba’s Ladies in White
by Walker Lane (Peter Werbe)
Fifth Estate #383, Summer, 2010

In March, Cuban police broke up a protest by the Ladies in White, women with family members sentenced to prison for opposing the government. The images of the women being dragged to a bus, their white clothes smeared with mud, were broadcast world-wide as proof of the repressive nature of the Castro government. Read more…

Anarchists Confront the Marxist State in Cuba
by Quincy B. Thorn
Fifth Estate #394, Summer 2015

The prevailing mystique surrounding the Castro brothers, Che Guevara and the guerrillas who fought in the mountains against a U.S.-supported right-wing dictatorship in the 1950s has obscured the importance of the country’s anarchist struggles. But it isn’t too late to explore and retell some of that story. Read more…

“We Want to Revive Anarchism in Cuba”: The Cuban movement erased by Castro is coming back & they need our solidarity
by Dmitri Prieto, Isbel Díaz, Mario Castillo
Fifth Estate #395, Winter 2016

Changes in the Cuban state’s regulation of private enterprise and in the relationship between Cuba and the U.S. over the last decade are opening up new possibilities and dangers for Cuban society. However, the new conditions have also inspired the rebirth of the long-repressed anarchist movement on the island. Read more…

The Train to Matanzas: Cuba: A tsunami of tourism & foreign investment hits the island
by Peter Werbe
Fifth Estate #396, Summer, 2016

The improbable victory of Castro’s guerrillas is still the lens through which everything is viewed by the Cuban ruling circles and most certainly by leftist visitors who are desperate to hold onto the island as being the last vestige of the idea that their socialism has a real world existence. However, the country is being roiled by immense social and economic changes so that the concepts they employ of “The Revolution”… and phrases such as “The Cuban People,” or calls to support the Revolution or Cuba are hopelessly dated, and obscure more than they reveal. Read more…

The Myth of Che Guevara: Live Like him?
by MLB
Fifth Estate #397, Winter, 2017

Since the 1960s, Ernesto (Che) Guevara has been celebrated in leftist circles, and even among some anarchists, as the model of a revolutionary. But, is this the whole story? Are there other things about Che Guevara, how he related to other people, and what he was actually fighting for, that people should also know? Are there things that might not coincide with anarchist aspirations? Read more…

The Anarchist Alternative in Cuba
by Bill Weinberg
Fifth Estate #399, Fall, 2017

A former community center that hosted a youth rock scene is now being occupied by activists, seemingly ignored by the authorities. A few blocks away, urban farms are bright patches of green in the landscape, producing vegetables and fruits for the community. Oakland? Detroit? Manhattan’s Lower East Side? Nope. This is Havana. Read more…

Anarchism Returns to Cuba
by Fifth Estate Collective
Fifth Estate #401, Summer 2018

The Anarchist Social Center and Library (Abra: Centro Social y Biblioteca Libertaria) was inaugurated in Havana on May 5. The first word in the Spanish name, Abra, means a place or action through which possibilities can be opened up, which is what the center hopes to be. Read more…

Cuba Turns ‘Green Scare’ Fugitive Over to US: Are The Black And Puerto Rican Exiles in the Country Safe?
by Bill Weinberg
Fifth Estate #402, Winter 2019

Joseph Mahmoud Dibee, a fugitive animal-rights activist, was intercepted by Cuban authorities in early August and turned over to the FBI. Popped by Cuban cops on an INTERPOL Red Notice, Dibee was flown to Portland, Ore., where he pleaded not guilty to taking part in a 1997 arson attack on a meatpacking plant—the first of several charges he faces. Read more…

Cuba’s New Constitution: Bye-Bye Communism & Gay Rights; Hello Private Property & Censorship
by Peter Werbe
Fifth Estate #403, Spring 2019

With all of what are called communist countries finally exposed as simply capitalist economies in a period of harsh development and wealth accumulation, the only nation remaining for leftist admiration is Cuba, but now it looks like even the barbudos are failing them. Read more…

Cuba: Independent Self-Activity vs. the State: Pride & Anarchism Against All Odds
by SK
Fifth Estate #404, Summer, 2019

This May was a very exciting time for anarchists in Cuba, full of both inspiration and anxiety. On the positive side, the Anarchist Social Center and Library (ABRA: Centro Social y Biblioteca Libertaria) hosted the Fourth Libertarian Spring Conference in Havana, from May 4 to 11. Read more…

Anarchist Cuba: A culture of resistance against capitalism & the state
by SK
Fifth Estate #405, Winter, 2020

Kirwin Shaffer’s new book helps readers understand what being an anarchist has meant in Cuba during the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Previous histories by other authors about anarchists on the island have concentrated on their participation in the urban and rural labor movement. However, in this book, Shaffer … explores several additional areas of involvement outside the workplace during the past 150 years. Read more…

In Havana? Conference on Trotsky?
by Peter Werbe
Fifth Estate #405, Winter, 2020

It seems improbable that a conference was held in Havana last May to examine the life and ideas of the Russian Bolshevik, Leon Trotsky. One would think the Cuban Stalinist bureaucracy would be averse to allowing a gathering sympathetic to the Soviet dictator’s arch rival within the Russian ruling clique power struggle that occurred almost 100 years ago. Read more…