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What Self Criticism May Reveal: The Survival Of The Cuban Government

1456 words - 6 pages

Criticism is not only difficult to receive, but is often unsolicited. Self-criticism can be even more difficult, but it can be highly revealing of one’s own flaws. Governments, especially those controlled by a bureaucratic-authoritarian state, will often view criticism of the state as a direct threat to their rule. In Cuba, as well as much of Latin America, filmmakers such as Tomas Gutiérrez Alea found themselves drawn to the problems of neocolonialism and cultural identity. From this collective movement, the New Latin American Cinema emerged. Alea, a self-proclaimed loyalist, produced films centered on the flaws of the Cuban political bureaucracy and society inviting his audience to become actors of social change. Although a bankrupt and dour political system maintained a grip on Cuba following the termination of Soviet aid in the 1990s, films such as Guantanamera did not show these issues to be insurmountable; instead they revealed that Cubans, as individuals, could find solutions to problems created by the state.
Cubans have sought to control their own destiny for over a century. As Spanish power continued to dwindle in the nineteenth century, many of its subjects in the New World began to demand greater control over their own future. For these future liberty combatants, the ruling elite of Spain seemed to promise only a continued future of decadence and economic decline. Cuba, ever the crown jewel of the Spanish empire, proved to be no exception to this line of thought. In the 1890s, with military aid from the United States, Cuba won its independence from Spain, but it had yet to gain complete control over its own destiny. It appeared too many Cubans as if they had only replaced one master with another, Spain for the United States.
Latin America is often synonymous with military dictatorships, and for good reason. For decades, many nations within this geographical region have experienced the dual nature of these political regimes. They can be both brutal and humane at the same time. Foreign powers who have involved themselves in this area have also recognized the deep connection militaries share with the political systems found there. Often taking the role of savior and caretaker, strong professional militaries can ensure the continuation of a government. At the same time, a strong military can also ensure the termination of a despotic and economically weak central bureaucracy. When the United States gained control of Cuba in 1898, one of its first actions was the disbandment of the national Cuban military. Despite split sentiment among the Cuban people concerning the relation of their country with the United States, economic hardship, combined with a weak and unpopular military and national leader led to the Cuban Revolution of the twentieth century. Fidel Castro, an enigmatic and charismatic individual, emerged as the authoritative leader of the island nation. Cubans desperate desire for change, especially among the underprivileged,...

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