Soy Cuba (1964), is a colorful look at the history of Cuba through the lens of the people’s struggle against oppression and imperialism. Much like Que Vive Mexico (1979), Soy Cuba is told in an episodic fashion, detailing the events leading up to, and during the revolution of 1959. Though it does not span as much time as Mexico, the film depicts life in Cuba under an oppressive regime. The role of the United States in supporting the exploitation of Cuba is hinted at not discreetly.
Imperialism took on a different nature for Cuba following independence from Spain. Latin Americans took a Marxist approach to analyzing their history. In this outlook, they acknowledged that their societies had been built on exploitation, where a privileged few gained at the expense of the population. When the colonial government left, they were replaced by multi-national corporations from the United States. (Chasteen, p. 264-265) The first part of this film begins with an unflattering portrayal of the role of Americans in Cuban society.
An interesting aspect of the film is its portrayal of race-relations in Cuba. Blacks are shown to suffer just as much as people of Spanish descent. One episode of the film focuses on the struggle of a young black woman who is sexually exploited by American capitalists. At the end of this scene, we are taken on an impromptu tour of a shantytown inhabited mainly by blacks. The socialist realism of this scene acknowledges the racial diversity of Cuba, and includes all the peoples of Cuba in its portrayal of the oppressed. The Nationalist struggle would only succeed if race issues were reconciled. (de la Fuente)
This film is important also as a symbolic representation of the union between Cuba and the USSR. It was made not long after the US and Cuban relationship had gone sour. Though the Soviet-Cuban relationship was not always perfect, the message behind this film is important to the universal struggle against imperialism.