Sustaining the Socialist Alternative in Cuba: Achievements and Challenges

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 17:30
Oral Presentation
Elena DÍAZ GONZÁLEZ, FLACSO-Cuba, Universidad de la Habana, Cuba
Since 1959, Cuba has pursued an alternative vision of development rooted in revolutionary measures aimed at eradicating the prerevolutionary system of social class inequalities and underdevelopment. For nearly six decades, the Cuban revolution has symbolized defiance to capitalist hegemony across the global South and to the present day, it continues to inspire social movement resistance throughout Latin America and beyond. The proliferation of neoliberal, market fundamentalism throughout the region has placed powerful constraints upon ways in which societies pursuing alternative vision of development can viably integrate into the global economy. In sustaining its socialist alternative in this context, Cuba has continually adopted new policies designed to maintain its universal social policies that made possible its historic gains in social development while seeking to avoid social polarization and exclusion produced by the strategic introduction of market reforms and a growing reliance upon the tourist industry. This process can be further observed in the confrontation of two opposing sets of values in which revolutionary solidarity, internationalism and egalitarianism become challenged by individualism, consumerism and corruption. The paper focuses on the new generation of social policies being implemented to meet this formidable array of challenges and to sustain an alternative system of development in the face of persistent external hostility and a need to confront recurrent natural disasters largely on its own.