Cuban Politics: The Revolutionary Experiment

Cuban Politics: The Revolutionary Experiment

Cuban Politics: The Revolutionary Experiment

Cuban Politics: The Revolutionary Experiment

Synopsis

In this comprehensive study of Cuban politics, Rhoda Rabkin examines the institutions, policies, and performance of the revolutionary socialist experiment in Cuba. The work thoroughly addresses the major issues debated by scholars concerning the Cuban revolutionary experience. These include: the development "impasse" of pre-revolutionary Cuba, rates of revolutionary socio-economic progress, "militarization" of revolutionary Cuba, succession politics, respect for human rights, and the relevance of the Cuban model to other developing countries. Rabkin analyzes with particular care the tension between popular participation and the often extra-institutional leadership role of Fidel Castro. Rabkin provides her readers with an honest, objective synthesis of contemporary scholarship on the Cuban Revolution.

Excerpt

The purpose of the Hoover series is to offer a primarily factual introduction to selected topics of Latin American politics. Undertaking this with Cuba as the subject is even more difficult than it is with other topics. Experts on Cuba seldom agree on facts, and they disagree frequently even on the significance of the facts that they do acknowledge. the scholarly literature on Cuba, one quickly realizes, exhibits a polarization parallel to the polarization of overtly political discourse on Cuba.

In the social sciences, objectivity does not mean the complete absence of values and preconceptions. That is impossible. Moreover, it is also undesirable. Without some guiding sense of putative relationships among variables, the social scientist could only record and transmit chaos. Instead, objectivity means intellectual fairness--a willingness to seek out and confront information that does not necessarily conform to one's own views. I have tried to practice that kind of fairness in this book. Where specialists on Cuba disagree, I have usually presented, in addition to my own views, the arguments of the opposing sides, together with source references to the scholarly literature. in this way, I hope to assist the reader who wishes to pursue an issue in greater detail and depth.

Most observers would agree that the Cuban Revolution presents a mixed record. There have been some striking achievements and some equally striking failures. Without attempting here a comprehensive list, one can mention on the positive side the eradication of malnutrition, illiteracy, and mass unemployment. Most observers will agree that the Cuban Revolution has greatly reduced the extremes of wealth and poverty typi-

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