• Short Summary

    CUBA TODAY, FOUR YEARS AFTER THE REVOLUTION, IS A NATION STILL FINDING ITS FEET -- SETTING UP NOT ONLY A NEW POLITICAL-SOCIAL SYSTEM BUT NEW WAYS TOO FOR BOTH FARM AND FACTORY.

  • Description

    CUBA TODAY, FOUR YEARS AFTER THE REVOLUTION, IS A NATION STILL FINDING ITS FEET -- SETTING UP NOT ONLY A NEW POLITICAL-SOCIAL SYSTEM BUT NEW WAYS TOO FOR BOTH FARM AND FACTORY. ITS PROBLEMS ARE MANY AND ITS RECENT HISTORY A STORMY ONE.

    HAVANA, THE CAPITAL, SHOWS SIGNS OF THE MANY CHANGES MADE SINCE DR. FIDEL CASTRO SEIZED POWER, FORCING GENERAL BATISTA TO FLEE IN JANUARY 1959. ONCE A BASTION OF AMERICAN TOURISM, THE LUXURY HOTELS NOW STAND OFTEN DESERTED, A SYMBOL OF DAYS GONE BY WHEN THE TOURIST TRADE WAS CUBA'S SECOND-BIGGEST INDUSTRY. AMERICANS NO LONGER VISIT CUBA -- EXPECT, THAT IS, FOR A GROUP OF STUDENTS WHO ENTERED THE COUNTRY, DEFYING THEIR GOVERNMENT'S BAN, BY WAY OF CZECHOSLOVAKIA.

    STRINGENT RATIONING IS NOW IN FORCE, COVERING FOODSTUFFS, AS WELL AS CLOTHES AND TEXTILES. FOOD SCARCITIES ARE BLAMED ON WHAT THE CASTRO REGIME CALLS THE "BRUTAL ECONOMIC BLOCADE" OF THE UNITED STATES WHICH FOLLOWED AMERICA'S WITHDRAWAL AFTER IT SEVERED DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS IN 1961. THE TIES WERE CUT WHEN CUBA DEMANDED THAT THE STAFF OF THE AMERICAN EMBASSY IN HAVANA BE REDUCED TO 11 -- WHICH, SAID PRESIDENT EISENHOWER AT THE TIME, MADE NORMAL DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS IMPOSSIBLE.

    CARS ABANDONED BY THE ROADSIDE ARE TELLING EVIDENCE OF THE DISRUPTION CAUSED BY THE UNITED STATES' WITHDRAWAL. SPARE PARTS ARE DIFFICULT TO GET AND LOCAL FACTORIES, DEPRIVED OF AMERICAN TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE, HAVE A HARD TIME MEETING THE DEMAND. IT IS ESTIMATED THAT A THIRD OF CUBA'S BUSES HAVE BEEN IMMOBILISED BECAUSE OF THE SPARE PARTS SHORTAGE, AND CARS AND LORRIES SUPPLEMENT PUBLIC TRANSPORT. COMMUNICATION DIFFICULTIES LEAD IN TURN TO UNEXPECTED FOOD SHORTAGES.

    THE VACUUM CAUSED BY THE AMERICAN DEPARTURE IS BEING FILLED BY LONG-TERM TRADE AGREEMENTS WITH THE SOVIET BLOC, WHOSE MEMBERS, INCLUDING CZECHOSLOVAKIA, ARE ALSO PROVIDING THE TECHNICIANS SO URGENTLY NEEDED. MUCH OF THE COMMUNIST AID IS IN THE FORM OF COMPLETE FACTORIES TO PRODUCE SUCH FORMER AMERICAN IMPORTS AS FARM MACHINES, OFFICE EQUIPMENT, MEDICAL INSTRUMENTS AND A WIDE RANGE OF DOMESTIC GOODS.

    (IN FEBRUARY THIS YEAR, CUBA OBTAINED A NEW LONG-TERM SOVIET CREDIT AGREEMENT, THE DETAILS OF WHICH WERE NOT RELEASED. BUT A FEW MONTHS PREVIOUSLY THE CUBAN GOVERNMENT REVEALED THAT SOVIET ECONOMIC AID SINCE FEBRUARY 1960, HAD TOTALLED MORE THAN $850,000,000 (GBP303 MILLION). OF THIS, ONE-HALF HAD BEEN IN THE FORM OF RAW MATERIALS, AND ALMOST A QUARTER IN INDUSTRIAL MACHINERY. THE REMAINING QUARTER HAD BEEN SPLIT BETWEEN FOOD AND TRANSPORT.)
    DR. CASTRO, WHO ON HIS MAY VISIT TO MOSCOW THIS YEAR WAS MADE A HERO OF THE SOVIET UNION, IS FOLLOWING MOSCOW'S EXAMPLE IN ERECTING BIG NEW BLOCKS OF HOMES FOR WORKERS. AND EMPHASISING ITS LINK WITH RUSSIA, THE CUBAN GOVERNMENT RECENTLY GAVE GREAT PUBLICITY TO A GIRL WHOSE EYESIGHT HAD BEEN SAVED BY RUSSIAN DOCTORS.

    THE CASTRO REGIME ALSO PUBLICISES ITS LACK OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION. IT IS, AT THE MOMENT, PROVIDING OFFICE TRAINING FOR GIRLS, PREDOMINANTLY NEGRO, FROM THE FAMILIES OF SUGAR CANE WORKERS. THE SUGAR INDUSTRY ITSELF WAS HARD HIT BY LAST YEAR'S POOR CROPS -- AT 4,808,000 TONS THE LOWEST FOR YEARS AND NEARLY 2,000,000 TONS LESS THAN IN 1961. THIS WAS ATTRIBUTED TO DROUGHT, INSTANCES OF MISMANAGEMENT, AND SABOTEURS WHO SET FIRE TO CANE-FIELDS. IT ALSO LED TO A CHANGE IN AGRARIAN POLICY, WITH THE GOVERNMENT ABANDONING CO-OPERATIVE FARMS IN FAVOUR OF STATE-RUN "PEOPLE'S FARMS".

    CUBA'S HOSPITALS HAVE BENEFITED, ODDLY ENOUGH, FROM THE ABORTIVE BAY OF PIGS INVASION STAGED BY CUBAN EXILES. THE 1,100 PRISONERS TAKEN WERE RANSOMED FOR MEDICAL AND FOOD SUPPLIES VALUED AT $53,000,000 (ABOUT GBP19 MILLION) AFTER CUBAN GROUPS IN THE UNITED STATES HAD FAILED TO RAISE THE $62,000,000 (ABOUT GBP22 MILLION) FIRST DEMANDED BY DR. CASTRO.

    AS FOR HAVANA'S NIGHT LIFE -- ONCE RENOWNED FOR ITS SOPHISTICATED GAIETY -- THIS TODAY PRESENTS A STRANGE CONTRAST WITH THE FORMER DAYS. THE PIANIST WHO ENTERTAINS ALSO SERVES THE GOVERNMENT -- LEADING A DOUBLE LIFE, LIKE SOME 200,000 OTHERS, AS PART-TIME MILITIA.

    HE IS REPEATEDLY TOLD BY DR. CASTRO OF ALLEGED AMERICAN PLANS TO INVADE CUBA -- A CHARGE WHICH THE UNITED STATES STRONGLY DENIES. BUT THE ATMOSPHERE IS NEVERTHELESS RELAXED COMPARED TO THAT OF LAST OCTOBER WHEN EAST-WEST TENSION MOUNTED SHARPLY UNTIL THE SOVIET UNION FINALLY CONCEDED TO AMERICAN DEMANDS THAT RUSSIAN ROCKETS BE REMOVED FROM CUBAN SOIL.

    INFORMING THE UNITED NATIONS OF THE SETTLEMENT THEN, THE AMERICAN AND SOVIET GOVERNMENTS BOTH EXPRESSED THE HOPE THAT THE AGREEMENT WOULD LEAD TO OTHER DIFFERENCES BEING SETTLED -- SO EASING THE THREAT OF WAR. AND DIPLOMATIC OBSERVERS THINK THE CUBAN CRISIS MAY, IN FACT, HAVE EVEN PAVED THE WAY FOR THIS MONTH'S NUCLEAR TEST BAN TREATY.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVAE5BLD8VO1DFFWIJQOVDY98TUX
    Media URN:
    VLVAE5BLD8VO1DFFWIJQOVDY98TUX
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    18/08/1963
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Black & White
    Duration:
    00:04:14:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

Comments (0)

We always welcome comments and more information about our films.
All posts are reactively checked. Libellous and abusive comments are forbidden.

Add your comment