Soy Cuba is a film that depicts Cuba during a time of revolution and discovery of a national identity. There was a large national discourse reconciling race and nation, one that the colonial authorities viewed as an impossible feat to reconcile. In other words, leaders hoped to define Cuba as a single race under the title “Cuban”; increasing their compatibility with the rest of the world in foreign trade.
The expression Afro-Cubans was a defined national identity that needed to be specified. Soy Cuba introduces the multitude of races that were prevalent in the prerevolutionary Cuba. However, it must be stressed that blacks were able to accumulate jobs, status, and even political power allowing them to have a strong influence on the economy. Also, blacks were a factor in Cuba’s independence as much as the white population was. Afro-Cubans were given a choice to be categorized as black which served the colonialist purpose of portraying a nation as racially irreconcilable or to become members of an allegedly race-less nationalist force. There was to be no “Afro” or “Cuban” at the same time.
White leaders hoped to increase the number of white immigrants to boost their population proportion while decreasing the proportion of blacks. According to Alejandro de la Fuente in his article; Race, National Discourse, and Politics in Cuba, he explains the hopes of white leaders for the future of Cuba:
“There was optimism of certain whites who speculated that blacks’ lower natural increase, combined with immigration, would guarantee their virtual extinction. They were all wrong. By the 1920s, whitening had failed, and it was increasingly evident that Cuba would never fulfill the elite’s vision of a Caucasian paradise in the tropics.”
In Cuba’s constitution, all Cubans (no matter race), were equal under law. This equality allowed blacks to continue their place in society, adding creativity and value to society. Cuba’s economy during the beginning years of Castro regime was primarily based on foreign trade. Castro made it a priority that economic external relations were regulated while domestic economic development was heavily promoted. When defining a single Cuban race, historians begin to with the relationship between white and blacks during slavery in Cuba. Fuente concludes that the relationship between white owners and black slaves was relatively “soft” compared to other slavery relations in the world. As Cuba continues to grow in the worldly economics spectrum, their political representation from blacks and women should continue to grow, giving them a more balanced and compatible economy to have relations with.