Video Project: Revolutionary Cuba – A History

Revolutionary Cuba: A History is a comprehensive book detailing the prolonged revolution Cuba experienced under Castro. Chapters 2 and 3 explain what happened in the first decade of the revolution, the timeline our video project will focus on. Martínez-Fernández argues what Dawson argues: that the revolution in Cuba was a process, a movement, rather than a single military and political event that consisted of a militia group overtaking a government. 

Martínez-Fernández outlines the most important aspects of the Cuban Revolution. He mentions the popular nature of Castro’s leadership, a revolutionary movement endorsed by the people. He also follows the island’s increasing transition to socialism and communism, especially while under the pressure of foreign relations tensions with both the United States and the Soviet Union. The sugar economy is a consistent theme within the book as well. Martínez-Fernández examines both the negative and positive outcomes of Cuba’s first decade under Castro’s revolutionary structure, information we will use to draw conclusions on patterns in revolutionary Cuba and to connect to larger course themes.

This source will be extremely useful for our video project. It describes the core of the revolution from multiple different angles. We hope to do an overview of the key angles in which the Cuban Revolution can be looked at, most likely focusing on culture, the economy, and foreign relations. Martínez-Fernández traces these themes throughout the revolutionary decade. We will be able to see patterns within the Cuban Revolution because of the text’s wide scope and will also be able to allude to more general course themes using this information. 

Martínez-Fernández follows the revolution throughout the entire decade of the 1960s and speaks on every element also present within our Guevara primary source, the “Letter from Major Ernesto Che Guevara to Carlos Quijano, editor of the Montevideo weekly magazine Marcha” that outlines the New Man ideology and tactics that were so valued within Cuban Revolutionary leadership. We will be able to follow the rise and fall of the New Man, an extremely significant aspect of the Cuban Revolution, using these two sources together.

This book is also in direct contrast with the biased American primary source from 1963 and provides a good foundation for reliable information that we will need while composing the video project. We will be able to contrast views from the 1960s with a recent historical perspective on the Cuban Revolution. We will be able to mention Cuba’s relationship to the United States through both these sources, using the video with a more indirect, cultural interpretation and using this book as direct facts and arguments to meld with our own argument.

Martínez-Fernández, Luis. Revolutionary Cuba: A History. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2014.

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