Home News Cuba after the Castro brothers – Jon Lee Anderson

Cuba after the Castro brothers – Jon Lee Anderson

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Cuba after the Castro brothers – Jon Lee Anderson

While visiting Moscow shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, a retired Red Army general sighed wistfully when I asked him about his time in Cuba during the 1962 missile crisis. “Kuba”, like the he called, treading on the initial, he had occupied a special place in the hearts of the Soviets. “We spoiled them,” he said, holding up his hands and giggling sadly. Conquerors and aspirants, all have looked at Cuba with greedy, lovers’ eyes, as if it were a beauty ready to be seduced and abandoned after being exploited. Since Columbus’s first step into the new world, Cuba has fallen into the hands of all sorts of European marauders: Spaniards but also the English, Dutch and French who arrived as buccaneers, plantation owners, slavers and fortune seekers.

Today, life on the island is very difficult. The covid-19 pandemic has isolated Cuba and blocked tourism, one of the country’s most important sources of income. Joe Biden did not change US policy towards Cuba much, so as not to antagonize the Cuban community in Florida. All this, together with the chronic shortage of basic products, has given rise to a widespread feeling of pessimism. The Castro brothers are no longer in power and a new generation of Cubans born after the end of the Soviet Union, about a third of the population, are less ideological than the previous ones and want to live, travel and express themselves freely. Many now also have the means to know, thanks to the internet, what they are missing out on. Faced with this generational change, the Cuban government exercises power in an existential limbo and tries to fill the void by urging its citizens to be faithful patriots.

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As Yunior García, a 39-year-old playwright who has become a spokesperson for Cubans calling for change, said, “we want a country where everyone has a place, where citizens’ rights are respected.” Sometimes the simplest things are the most elusive. sm

Info The Cuban writer Carlos Manuel Álvarez and Camilla Desideri from Internazionale will talk about the current situation in Cuba on October 1 in Ferrara.

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