Soy Cuba- We Hate the US, But Only a Little

 <br /><div class="MsoNormal"><i>Soy Cuba</i> (<i>I am Cuba</i>), is a Russian-directed film produced in 1964 that depicts Cuban life in the times leading up to the Cuban revolution. The movie makes a near-masterful use of cinematography and episodic storytelling. <span>&nbsp;</span>Four vignettes allow the audience to see the events leading up to revolt from the perspective of the Cuban people. Using this personal tone and impressive camera-work, especially long, sweeping shots throughout the film, <i>Soy Cuba</i> grasps the strong emotions of people and events of the revolution. By sheer over-dramatization of Cuban nationalism or Russian Cold War propaganda (or both), the film was poignantly anti-US in tone. </div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">During the 1950’s, Cuban economy and industry was molded by capitalist ideals. Relying heavily on trade and exports, the nation’s economy required external capital, especially that of the United States. Because of this, very little of Cuba’s agricultural resources were used for self-sufficiency (Eckstein 503). <span>&nbsp;</span>As Cuba trod toward revolution, the capitalist ideology clashed harshly with the ever-growing trend of Marxism amongst Cuban nationalists. The United States was seen as the successors to the imperialist role, exploiting Cuban culture and industry using the control they held over the economy (Chasteen 264). The first of <i>Soy Cuba’s </i>episodes follows Maria, an impoverished woman whose life and hopes are destroyed by the Americans. Although she is involved in a relationship, she is forced to prostitute herself in order to make money. <span>&nbsp;</span>The Americans who buy her for the evening at the club make light of their exploits despite Maria’s obvious lack of comfort. They throw around their money and use it as an excuse for their actions in a rather overt symbol of the United State’s pull over Cuba’s economy. Citing a slight interest in Maria’s life, one of the Americans insists on coming home with her. He does not balk at the abysmal conditions of the shanty that Maria calls home, nor does he allow Maria to protest when he tries to buy her crucifix. He simply puts down what he thinks will be enough and takes the pendant. When Maria’s actual romantic interest comes to call, the American does not even acknowledge the ruin that he helped create, he simply takes his prizes and moves on.</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">Urbanization and high levels of growth coupled with a capitalist-influenced economy stratified Cuban society – creating a small, wealthy elite and a much more broad lower class (Chasteen 265). The less well to do were unfortunately at the mercies of the wealthier, as they were the ones who owned the land and made the money from working with foreign trade. The second vignette depicts Pedro, a sugar cane farmer, who toils on land he is too poor to own himself.<span>&nbsp; </span>At the height of a promising harvest, he is told his land is being sold to an American company. Unable to harvest any of the profit from his work, he is unable to promise a future for himself or his children. In retribution, he sets fire to the land. </div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">The third and fourth episodes of <i>Soy Cuba</i> show the nations united attempt to rectify these inequalities in the form of revolution.<span>&nbsp; </span>The installation of the US supported Fulgencio Batista into a military dictatorship inspired revolt amongst the Cuban middle-class youth.<span>&nbsp; </span>Their rebellion, despite the brutal response from Batista, rang true with the Cuban people and it escalated. When the revolutionary government took over after 1958, steps were immediately taken to bring the economy and industry back under the control of Cuba (Chasteen 267). </div><div class="blogger-post-footer"><img width='1' height='1' src='' alt='' /></div>