Categoría: Letra impresa, Libros, Poscomunismo, Rusia
Caviar with Rum. Cuba-USSR and the Post-Soviet Experience (Palgrave Macmillan) ha salido ayer a la venta. Editado por Jacqueline Loss y José Manuel Prieto, recoge una larga docena de ensayos que abordan la relación entre Cuba y la URSS/Rusia a la luz de la experiencia poscomunista. El volumen, cuyo origen está en un evento que nos reunió antes en University of Connecticut, es una referencia de primer orden en estudios cubanos. A Loss y Prieto debemos un trabajo espléndido -el encuentro en Connecticut, primero; este libro que fija lo pensado allá, ahora- que los coloca como verdaderos pioneros de un género de estudios sobre la cultura y la política cubanas bajo el prisma de su inserción en el imaginario “soviético” y la experiencia poscomunista.
Por cortesía de Palgrave Macmillan, que agradezco, inserto unos pocos párrafos del ensayo que escribí para ese libro: “Around the Sun: The Adventures of a Wayward Satellite”. De la traducción al inglés se encargó con notable acierto Anna Kushner.
En español, publiqué aquí hace un tiempo la primera versión de otro fragmento de ese texto. Fue en ocasión de la muerte del cineasta Roberto Fandiño, quien dirigió el corto Gente de Moscú.
El índice (allí todos los autores) y la introducción al libro están disponibles aquí.
Nadie lo pase por alto.
Around the Sun: The Adventures of a Wayward Satellite (un fragmento)
Any account of Soviet involvement in Cuba or of the scope of the encounter between the two countries on the drawing table of geopolitical cartography must take into account a basic fact, namely, Cuba’s persistent tendency toward exceptionalism. A fair amount of historical materialism’s teleological efforts, effected with all the passion that the discussion of subjects in academies and institutes in Havana and Moscow, Santiago or Minsk allowed, to insert Cuba into the map of rising world socialism, could have been spared by merely focusing on the felicitous significance of that encounter for the Soviet Union, who gained a satellite in the Western hemisphere, but especially for Cuba, which, upon becoming socialist, went up a rung in the tremendous scale of its own exceptionalism.
The former Key to the New World and Holding Wall of the Indies, the Cuba that was called the “Switzerland of America” or “Turkey of America,” the province that was responsible for an unrivalled economic miracle in the Spanish colonies, all and each of the manifestations of that island’s impulses, all that time devoted to achieving what Jorge Mañach called “the nation we need” and occupying a singular place in history, and also the Cuba of Lezama’s myth of insularity or that boasted of macroeconomic statistics in the 1950s, were all fulfilled and surpassed upon the insertion of Cuba in the Soviet camp.
As such, once the union was established, while not exempt from some early infidelities, the marriage was deemed lasting and perfecting in line with the invented tradition of Cuban singularity.
In that marriage, the wedding coins exchanged far exceeded the thirteen dictated by tradition. No country was ever better compensated, in addition to being showered with metaphysical good fortune. No real or presumed satellite ever saw its nationalist passions fulfilled to such an extent, from a situation of dependence and with a medal on its chest marking its zeal for exceptionalism. A medal inscribed with the words: “First Socialist Territory in the Americas.”
(…) It was precisely during the Cold War years the use of the term “satellite” was consolidated to refer to countries dependent on a power governing their fates, subjecting them to a metropolitan dictate. As such, first the countries of Eastern Europe, then North Korea, and Cuba all gained the astronomical, and humiliating, designation, when they weren’t simply called “puppet states” acting in that theater of low-grade war.
Let’s review, from the Cuban perspective, the evolution of that orbit that had, like all orbits, its moment of greatest proximity, or perihelion, and of greatest distance, or aphelion, an echo of the final rift. Naturally, given that politics is ruled by weaker laws than astronomy, both moments underwent variations. Some, marked by the state-controlled spontaneity of Castro’s politics, which maintained—like the rest of the countries of the so-called Eastern Bloc—spaces for dissent from the guidelines that were outlined by the Kremlin. Finally, the celebrations in Havana marking the 90th anniversary of the October Revolution opened up a curious fissure in the negationist discourse of Soviet influence, to which I will return further on.