The Utopian Newsletter : Cuban Revolution Issue July 25, 2018
All About the Cuban Revolution
What was it? Girl Power! Socialist vs. Communist?
The Museum of the Revolution in Havana.
July 26th : The Day of the Revolution
For all of us contemplating governmental change these days and how to get rid of old ways of thinking and behavior, the Cuban Revolution in some ways can be an inspiration. A couple of guys (and plenty of gals!) got together and decided enough was enough and that they were going to do the unthinkable and start their own leadership. There were 12 of them who began the uprising and how mighty they ended up becoming!
The Cuban Revolution was an armed revolt conducted by Fidel Castro’s revolutionary 26th of July Movement and its allies against the authoritarian government of Cuban President Fulgencio Batista. The revolution began in July 1953 and continued sporadically until the rebels finally ousted Batista on 1 January 1959, replacing his government with a revolutionary socialist state. 26 July 1959 is celebrated in Cuba as the Day of the Revolution. The 26th of July Movement later reformed along communist lines, becoming the Communist Party in October 1965. (thanks Wikipedia!)
Is Cuba Socialist or Communist?
A Primer on Cuban Politics
According to Wikipedia : “The Republic of Cuba is one of the world’s last remaining socialist countries following the Marxist–Leninist ideology. The Constitution of 1976, which defined Cuba as a socialist republic, was replaced by the Constitution of 1992, which is “guided by the ideas of José Martí and the political and social ideas of Marx, Engels and Lenin.” The constitution describes the Communist Party of Cuba as the “leading force of society and of the state”.” Most people would say that Cuba is officially, a socialist country with the intent of becoming communist but the details of this intricate regime are ever-evolving especially today so it’s pretty fascinating to watch as it unfolds. Socialism is commonly regarded as an economic system that seeks to achieve equality among members of society. Communism, on the other hand, is both an economic system that seeks equality among members of society and a political ideology that advocates a classless and stateless society and rejects religion. It is regarded as a more extreme form of socialism.
Socialism and communism both adhere to the principle that the resources of the economy should be collectively owned by the public and controlled by a central organization. They differ, however, in the management and control of the economy. In socialism, the people themselves decide through communes or popularly elected councils on how the economy should work. This makes socialism a liberal system because majority of the people have a say on how the economy should be run. Communism, on the other hand, controls its economy through a single authoritarian party. It is thus characterized as conservative because the economy functions based on the decisions of a few. Read more: Difference between Socialism and Communism
While the dream of Fidel Castro was, in theory, a beautiful one, many argue that it never came to fruition. Castro’s ideal was that no Cuban would ever be hungry, uneducated, un-cared for, homeless and beyond. With the short-comings of the revolution financially it became increasingly difficult for the new government to give more than just the basics. Many would argue the government pay rates are also still stuck in the ’50s. While Cubans receive a ration of food items like rice, beans, coffee, sugar, eggs, and some meats they still must buy their own fresh fruits and vegetables, pay their electricity bills, and get around the country and cities to work.
A doctor or lawyer in Cuba earns at the maximum 40cuc (40usd) per month while other state employees earn around 20-30cuc per month depending on their skill set and how long they have been with their job. What do you do when your electric bill in a tropical climate is 40cuc per month and that’s your earnings? Luckily most Cubans live in a home (government provided) with several other members of their family so they can pool their rations and pay to maintain the home though making ends meet is a challenge, needless to say.
I am working on a blog piece with more on living and life in Cuba. Please stay tuned for more on this fascinating subject in Our Journal.
Women in the Cuban Revolution
Not unlike some of the current struggles facing women today, Cuban women were faced with the burdens of illiteracy, unemployment, sexism, racism and exploitation in the years leading up to the Revolution. Deciding to rise up against the government, they coined their own Revolution, ‘The Revolution within the Revolution’ as they fought the male patriarchy and brought women to the forefront of society in Cuba from the ’60s into today.
Not only did many women fight in the revolution, but many took leadership roles in it. Women such as Vilma Espín, Tete Puebla, Celia Sánchez, Melba Hernández and Haydée Santamaría were among the leaders and heroes of the revolution who fought in the guerrilla movement with Fidel Castro and others.
Women in the workforce in Cuba today are plentiful and powerful. My favorite thing to note when I’m in Cuba about the female, government-issued uniforms is the black lace fishnet stockings that they wear from the immigration offices and airports to the hospitals and nursing gear. No scrubs for these ladies! And did we mention how GORGEOUS Cuban women are? yikes! Talk about motivation and #fashiongoals.
We are totally crushin’ on young Fidel and Che…
here’s why :
A young Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author,
guerrilla leader, diplomat, military theorist, and hottie.
A young, striking Fidel Castro sips likely a glass of Cuban rum in a cut crystal flute.
Upcoming Retreats in Cuba :
Yoga + ART Retreat : Nov 6-11, 2018
Cuba is THE place to visit before ‘things change’. Come experience this incredible culture and its people with us this fall. We will take you through the streets of Havana like a local eating at the best private restaurants, enjoying specialty cocktails on rooftops, learning how to take the best photos, henna adornment by Darcy, yoga with Christina, and art gallery and studio visits with Aimee.
Save $100usd w/ code CUBANART
Yoga Retreats: Turkey-day, NYE & through 2019
November 20-25 w/ Andrea Igar (Thanksgiving!!)
Dec 29 – Jan 5, 2019 w/ Hillary Acer (New Year’s Eve!!)
January 22-27, 2019 w/ Kat Cynewski
Legal travel to Cuba for US Citizens on our amazing yoga retreats in Havana and beyond! Cuba has become one of the locations nearest and dearest to our hearts over the past several years. The newly opened privatization of the island has blessed Havana and beyond with a deep expression of the underlying creative pulse that defines Cuba. It is our deepest desire to support this expansion for the Cuban people and to do all we can to help them grow as a culture and gain independence as a community.
Our yoga retreat in Cuba offer an insiders look at history, art, culture, music, and expression from a local’s perspective. Our itinerary is filled with Q&As with historians, art gallery and studio visits, yoga exchanges with local teachers and students in our classes, donations to local organizations working to aide families in need from natural disasters to economic hardships, and workshops in music and dance from Cuban Salsa to Ballet.
We’ll explore the city of Havana re-emerging as one of the hottest cultural centers in the world, loaded with rich history, incredible music, art, amazing food, charming people, and lots of soul with locals supporting locals.