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When the Soviet Union dissolved, so did the easy credit, cheap oil, and subsidies it had provided to Cuba. The bottom fell out of the Cuban economy, and many expected that Castro's revolution-the one that had inspired the Left throughout Latin America and elsewhere-would soon be gone as well. More than a decade later, the revolution lives on, albeit in a modified form. Following the collapse of Soviet communism, Castro legalized the dollar, opened the island to tourism, and allowed foreign investment, small-scale private enterprise, and remittances from exiles in Miami. Capitalism, God, and a Good Cigar describes what the changes implemented since the early 1990s have meant for ordinary Cubans: hotel workers, teachers, priests, factory workers, rap artists, writers, homemakers, and others.

Based on reporting by journalists, writers, and documentary filmmakers since 2001, each of the essays collected here covers a particular dimension of contemporary Cuban society, revealing what it is like to have lived, for more than a decade, suspended between communism and capitalism. There are pieces on hip hop musicians, fiction writing and censorship, the state of ballet and the performing arts, and the role of computers and the Internet. Other essays address the shrinking yet still sizeable numbers of true believers in the promise of socialist revolution, the legendary cigar industry, the changing state of religion, the significance of the recent influx of money and people from Spain, and the tensions between recent Cuban emigrants and previous generations of exiles. Including more than seventy striking documentary photographs of Cuba's people, countryside, and city streets, this richly illustrated collection offers keen, even-handed insights into the abundant ironies of life in Cuba today.

Contributors. Juliana Barbassa, Ana Campoy, Mimi Chakarova, Lydia Chvez, John Cot, Julian Foley, Angel Gonzlez, Megan Lardner, Ezequiel Minaya, Daniela Mohor, Archana Pyati, Alicia Roca, Olga R. Rodrguez, Bret Sigler, Annelise Wunderlich

Capitalism, God, and a good cigar - Lydia Chvez

9780822334941
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Title
Capitalism, God, and a good cigar - Cuba enters the 21st century
Author
Lydia Chvez
format
Paperback / softback
Publisher
Duke University Press
Language
English
UK Publication Date
20050606

When the Soviet Union dissolved, so did the easy credit, cheap oil, and subsidies it had provided to Cuba. The bottom fell out of the Cuban economy, and many expected that Castro's revolution-the one that had inspired the Left throughout Latin America and elsewhere-would soon be gone as well. More than a decade later, the revolution lives on, albeit in a modified form. Following the collapse of Soviet communism, Castro legalized the dollar, opened the island to tourism, and allowed foreign investment, small-scale private enterprise, and remittances from exiles in Miami. Capitalism, God, and a Good Cigar describes what the changes implemented since the early 1990s have meant for ordinary Cubans: hotel workers, teachers, priests, factory workers, rap artists, writers, homemakers, and others.

Based on reporting by journalists, writers, and documentary filmmakers since 2001, each of the essays collected here covers a particular dimension of contemporary Cuban society, revealing what it is like to have lived, for more than a decade, suspended between communism and capitalism. There are pieces on hip hop musicians, fiction writing and censorship, the state of ballet and the performing arts, and the role of computers and the Internet. Other essays address the shrinking yet still sizeable numbers of true believers in the promise of socialist revolution, the legendary cigar industry, the changing state of religion, the significance of the recent influx of money and people from Spain, and the tensions between recent Cuban emigrants and previous generations of exiles. Including more than seventy striking documentary photographs of Cuba's people, countryside, and city streets, this richly illustrated collection offers keen, even-handed insights into the abundant ironies of life in Cuba today.

Contributors. Juliana Barbassa, Ana Campoy, Mimi Chakarova, Lydia Chvez, John Cot, Julian Foley, Angel Gonzlez, Megan Lardner, Ezequiel Minaya, Daniela Mohor, Archana Pyati, Alicia Roca, Olga R. Rodrguez, Bret Sigler, Annelise Wunderlich

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Lydia Chvez is an associate professor in the Graduate School of Journalism and Chair of the Executive Committee for the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. She is a former reporter for the New York Times in Latin America, where she served as bureau chief in San Salvador and Buenos Aires. She has written for the New York Times Sunday Magazine and the Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine and contributed op-ed pieces to the New York Times and San Francisco Examiner. She is the author of The Color Bind: California's Battle to End Affirmative Action.

"Capitalism, God, and a Good Cigar addresses in an original and insightful way the question so many have asked themselves for so long: how is it that Fidel Castro and his regime are approaching half a century in power under extremely adverse conditions, many of them of their own making? This book may not provide the answer, but it offers many answers, all of them intelligent and imaginative."-Jorge Castaeda, Global Distinguished Professor of Politics and Latin American and Caribbean Studies at New York University and former foreign minister of Mexico


"Capitalism, God, and a Good Cigar is engagingly written, nuanced, sensitive in political perspective, and innovative and broad-ranging in its choice of subject matter. This freewheeling and intimate account of life in Cuba today gives a close-up view of the rapid-fire changes overtaking the island, from the new economy to Internet access to issues of freedom of speech to Cuban ballet. It provides a welcome, fresh perspective that goes far beyond what American audiences tend to hear about Cuba."-Aviva Chomsky, Professor of History and Coordinator of Latin American Studies at Salem State College and coeditor of The Cuba Reader: History, Culture, Politics


"[A] sense of immediacy, of whispered truths, of possible spies permeate this round-up of voices. . . . Lydia Chavez's reporters and assistants have amassed plenty of evidence, in vivid journalese, that lets the reader work out what will happen when Castro lets go of the tight reins."

TLS - Jason Wilson

"Accented by beautifully evocative photographs by Mimi Chakarova of this most photogenic of lands, the book is a collection of first-person investigations into a terrifically wide array of social strata on the island and in its diaspora. The earnest essays included . . . all share the virtue of putting individual Cubans at the center of the story, in letting the voices, stories and lives of their subjects determine their content and conclusions. . . . One of the most useful and nuanced portraits of contemporary life on the island in years."

San Francisco Chronicle - Joshua Jelly-Schapiro

Type
BOOK
Keyword Index
Interviews - Cuba.|Cuba - Civilization - 21st century.|Cuba - Economic conditions - 21st century.|Cuba - Social conditions - 21st century.|Cuba - Civilization - 21st century - Pictorial works.
Country of Publication
North Carolina
Number of Pages
248

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