I am Cuba

I am Cuba told an incredible story of the mistreatment of the Cuban citizens and how this abuse increased into full on revolution.  The four stories shown represented the escalation of the unhappiness and poverty the Cubans experienced, which were brought about by the corrupt government and the influx of foreign companies using their home as a casino and party location. I am Cuba presented a historically accurate depiction of the destitution the pre-Castro imperialistic exploitative government inflicted on its own citizens.

According to Chasteen, two philosophies dominated the Cuban revolution, nationalism and Marxism. These ideas were strongly presented in the film. The third story, of the university rebellion, displayed an amazing picture of Cuba fighting for Cuba. Enrique, at first, seemed nervous and scared about his role in the revolutionary party. However, when he saw his friends massacred in such a heartless way, he completely let go of his fear and gave his life in the leadership of a protest. The rest of the students followed in suit, regardless of the danger. These brave citizens, young and old, realized that this revolution was bigger than any one of them, so they were willing to sacrifice their lives to create a better future.  They were willing to sacrifice for their country, for something greater than themselves. Fidel Castro promised to move away from this old coalition and create a state where jobs were created for Cubans and where education was provided for all its citizens. All the present government gave its citizens was injustice. Conditions were unlivable, there were “neighborhoods built on garbage dumps”. Nationalists and Marxists believed this turmoil was caused and maintained by an American imperialist economic system The Cuban citizens did not want just a “new government”, but a complete re-shuffling of the nation’s wealth. So they untied under Castro’s revolution.

Another brilliant aspect of I am Cuba was the incredible unity displayed among the Cuban citizens. The film did not just focus on specific group of people who the government and foreign companies were exploiting, but showed a nationwide view. There were stories of the unsettlement in both rural and urban areas and from citizens of different backgrounds. Though the main figures of the four stories never meet, they are all connected by the indescribable need for change. The film did not show a bias for a certain area, social class or race. It simply showed Cubans. However, as Alejandro de la Fuete discusses in his article, race was an important factor. There were some disagreements among various groups about the issues of “white” versus “black”. Though, the film seemed not to make race an issue. The revolution did not help a certain race, but a citizenship. Being Cuban was not associated with race. Fuete quoted from Gualberto Gomez, “we are Cubans, nothing more”. In I am Cuba, Cubans were not suppose to be seen as race, but just Cubans, all with problems of oppression by the corrupt government.

Susan Eckstien states that Cuba was the only socialist revolution in its region. This corresponded with the nationalism experienced in the country and shown in the film. Chasteen mentions that the revolution did not offer personal liberties, but rather stressed the importance of the majority. Individual rights were deemed less important than restoring hope to the masses. The sacrifice of these rights for the greater good, however, did not accomplish many of the goals that first inspired the revolution. In fact, under the leadership of Castro, the improvements made “may seem disappointing”. Though Cuba was one of the most developed countries in its region, its economic development has only improved slightly. Eckstien concludes that revolutions are limited by “conditions not of their choosing” and do not always help the people that first called for reform.