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Pearl of the Caribbean and Mother of Marxism
Cuba has always managed to punch above its weight. “Since the discovery of America, Cuba has been the coveted bride, the treasure sought by the magnates of the time. Back in the days when, in Tordesillas, the New World was divided into Spanish and Portuguese property, the “Pearl of the Caribbean” already enjoyed privileged treatment” (Guevara 2015). That privilege was born both of the geography of empire when Cuba served as the gateway to Spain’s colonial empire in the Western Hemisphere. Havana served as a critical port in the operation of the Spanish Empire. Yet, even as the Spanish imperial system collapsed, and with it Cuba’s role within it, Cuba location appeared to ensure it an important place modern geopolitics even as the locus of global power shifted elsewhere from Spain. Cuba remains an important gateway to the Caribbean region, and the “soft underbelly” of the United States. Cuba’s prominence is not limited to geography. Its arts and letters have had a global impact, its political philosophy has been influential at least in Latin America, and its now fairly ancient and quite public animosity to the United States has propelled it onto the world stage as a proxy (and target) for state and global actors who have constituted Cuba a metaphor for resistance to dominant power.
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These essays seek to do exactly that, but in a very specific way. Together, they focus on the last great Cuban transformation--its now three quarters of a century march toward a variant of Marxist-Leninist state organization with a very specific and quite well-developed ideological core. I call this guiding ideology Caribbean Marxism. Caribbean Marxism, as developed over the next eleven chapters, described a variant of both Marxism and Leninism that has suited the Cuban Communist Party as it has sought to establish itself from out of the military victory that preceded its creation. For these purposes I distinguish between Marxism and Leninism. As used in the essays, Marxism references the substantive, normative elements of the socio-political and economic project of building a communist society. Leninism, in contrast, references the political philosophy and principles of governance through which political authority may be vested in a vanguard party charged with the responsibility of guiding society toward and protecting that society against deviations from the goal of establishing this communist society. The former are theories of social organization, the latter are the principles of political organization necessary to develop and preserve the normative objectives for which government is constituted and political power used.