Soy Cuba

After reading the articles by Susan Eckstein, “The Impact of the cuban Revolution: A Comparative Perspective” and by Alejandro dela Fuente, “Race, National Discourse, and Politics in Cuba; An Overview,”  the movie Soy Cuba chronologically seems to fall in between the time periods that both of these articles are written.  Fuente’s article speaks of the black racial struggle in Cuba and their fight for equality to be known as Cubans which occurred in the early twentieth century and started to die off toward the radical’s movement of their Revolutionary period around the late 1950′s.  Soy Cuba does not seem to touch on the subject of the cuban/black racial competition but the film does exhibit signs of subordination from Cubans in general with the clip of the white land owner selling off his sugar cane crop that Pedro and his family had lived and worked.  With a point being made of this portion of the film’s accuracy by stating that the corporation in which the white land owner sold his crops to, United Fruit, was in fact a U.S. Corporation and that in Fuente’s article he states, ” In the 1920s, they (the U.S.) owned from 55 percent to 80 percent of the sugar-producing capacity and no less than 15 to 20 percent of the national territory.”  Thus showing that during the time period the film was portraying, just prior to Cuba’s adjustments to its post-revolutionary effects, that the U.S. was heavily involved in sugar production and land ownership.

This involvement quickly changed with the revolution and the information given in Eckstein’s article which took place post-revolutionarily, which is just after the time period that Soy Cuba was representing.  Eckstein’s article spoke of the massive involvement and rescue of the Soviet Union to the Cuban nation when their economic situation started to deteriorate.  Eckstein states that “Cuba is the only country in the region to have experienced a socialist revolution.”  This is exhibited by the joining of Cuba by Fidel Castro with the Soviet Union and its heavy reliability on their import system into Cuba. 

In Soy Cuba the peasants lifestyle of living on a sugar plantation is depicted as hard-working days, constant worrying, and no incentive from the land owners to continue doing well.  In Eckstein’s article she states how this notion of peasant/owner relationship has drastically changed with the post-revolutionary era and the new redistribution laws of land to the lower class people.  She states that the significance of Cuba’s sugar dependence has changed and for example, sugar workers “enjoy more social benefits, job security, and earnings-in comparison to other workers-than before the revolution.  So, the stigma towards the laborer class portrayed in the film will have changed by the time the film ended, give or take a few years, with the revolution.

As mentioned previously, Soy Cuba seems to fall within the two time periods represented within the two articles mentioned above.  With the known context of the two articles on both sides of the time line in regards to the film, with racial discrepancies on one end and then the dependence of the Soviet Union on the post-revolutionary end, the montage depicted in the film seems to adequately portray its positioning between these two time periods.