Soy Cuba has a style similar to last week’s film; the director drew inspiration from Que Viva Mexico. Both have multiple chapters with separate storylines used for both propaganda and storytelling. This time, though, Cuba was the focus.
A common theme throughout this film is women in distress. This is clear in the scene where Maria, whose work name is “Betty”(must be more appropriate for a prostitute) is shown chaotically dancing with a panicked look on her face. Or when Amelia freaks out looking for the man she met the night before, and is covered with anguish when she sees him get shot in the protest. Perhaps the director is trying to reflect the thoughts and emotions of women of Cuba during that time in a cohesive way.
In her article, Susan Eckstein examines the differences in pre-Revolution Cuba and other countries. At the beginning, Cuba was successful in many ways, most notably with a third in national product. The positive results of the Revolution can be somewhat deceptive, because often times the improvements aren’t taking into account many important factors, like remembering that per capita is more telling. Also, the author speaks about how Cuba is restricted by the trade rules, controlling what they can buy and what they can export. The debt issue was also explored and critiqued. Health care is another topic discussed, and it seemed to decrease in certain crucial arenas like limited specialized care and subpar facilities. In examining the summary table, there are more improved areas overall, but one can’t overlook that GDP per capita and per capita protein supply, both very significant, deteriorated.
Alejandro de la Fuente’s article was about race issues in Cuba, specifically with blacks. He says that the relationship with blacks has much less tension in Cuba than other countries. The idea of racism is much less prominent here, which is displayed in Soy Cuba in the first “chapter”. The American business man is leaving Betty’s house and is distraught by all the children and people in her neighborhood. The chaotic music and shots help display these emotions. White Americans were probably not used to this at the time. The author then unpacks the idea of the myth of racial equality. It was said by certain government officials that there was only a problem if people talked about it, which is far from the truth and simply ignorant. Eventually Cuba did successfully achieve equality after much work.
Cuba also used their elimination of racism to cause tension between themselves and other countries, particularly the United States. They supported the Black Power movement here, and used their own advancement with these issues to put the US down for lack of morals. This was more than likely not received in the best fashion by American officials. Interestingly, many African Americans also went to Cuba for meetings of internationals for help in trying to get equality in the US.
In conclusion, Soy Cuba portrayed in an interesting fashion much of the tension and issues that existed in Cuba following the Revolution.