Family and Revolution
The family is the only institution in Cuban society which remains somewhat unprepared. . . . Each family acts in an individual way, at times headed by patriarchs who encourage customs and traditio from the past.
María Isabel Domínguez, Cuban Academy of Sciences ( 1987) 1
The family isn't in crisis or on the road to extinction, but it is changing and evolving, although slowly and with difficulty.
Cuban psychologist ( 1988) 2
Prior to 1959 the blood web of family loyalty dominated the political, economic, and social life of the nation. Castro's revolution worked profound changes in this scheme, reducing the family's public aspect by transferring its property and power to the state, and modifying its private aspect with a host of reforms which often had the most contradictory and unanticipated effects. After three decades of reform the "new Cuban family" was smaller, more democratic, better educated, less stable. In the economic crisis of the 1990s the balance between family and state was once again shifting. As the state floundered, the family seemed destined to recoup its dominant role in society.
Paradoxically, while Castro's revolution affected profound changes in the Cuban family, Cuba did not have a specific family policy until 1975, when the Family Code became law. There were no great national debates on the family in the 1960s as had occurred after the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia in 1917. While the feminist and sexual revolutions were challenging the family in the West, Cuba's attention, as Che Guevara noted, was focused elsewhere. 3