Cuba


Cooperatives and Cooperation: Highlights from Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS) Reports, 1957-1995

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Two of the fundamental tenets of communism at the international level were that communist countries worked together to achieve their mutual ends, and that their economic and political development was peaceful rather than imperialistic.

From 1957 to 1960, as the dust settled from uprisings in Hungary and Poland, things were relatively tranquil within the Eastern Bloc. At a greater remove—and especially with regard to China—fraternal relationships and a unified front were a bit more difficult to maintain. Still, prior to 1960 the Sino-Soviet argument over communist “peaceful coexistence” with capitalist countries had not yet reached a critical point.

The Cuban Missile Crisis was a few years off, the U2 Incident (May 1960) was just over the horizon, the echoes of Secretary Khrushchev’s 1956 threat to “bury” the West had largely subsided, and he had not yet pounded a UN podium with his shoe. So in this month’s highlights from Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS) Reports, 1957-1995, we’ll witness communist countries generally playing nicely on the international stage.


The Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, Charter and Convention

Vedomosti Verkovnogo Soveta Soyuza Sovetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik (Gazette of the USSR Supreme Soviet), Moscow, Vol. XXIII No. 15, April 1960. 19 pages

Cooperatives and Cooperation: Highlights from Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS) Reports, 1957-1995

Secular and Religious Contradictions during the 'Age of Anxiety' as Found in Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS) Reports, 1957-1995

Age of Anxiety.jpgIn 1947, the poet W.H. Auden published a book-length poem entitled “The Age of Anxiety,” which later inspired a symphony by Leonard Bernstein and a ballet by Jerome Robbins. It includes these lines spoken by Rosetta, the Jewish protagonist: “Lies and lethargies police the world/ In its periods of peace.”

This couplet could be a fitting characterization of the Cold War, a time when each superpower tried to bluff and coerce the other into accepting its socioeconomic hegemony and credo—all the while loudly proclaiming its benevolent, apolitical intentions. Were we at war? Not quite. At peace, then? No, something in between.

Whether framed as detente, containment, peaceful coexistence or mutually-assured destruction, the governing ideologies of the Cold War carried the spiritual weight of established religions, sometimes exerted against religious practice itself, or set in opposition to the breathless consumerism attendant upon late-stage capitalism, even as a foil to  communism's categorical insistence upon no religion at all.

The reports that follow—all found in Joint Publications Research Service Reports, 1957-1995—span that range. We have communist critiques of mainstream Christianity and mysticism, Islamic pushback against communism in Indonesia, and two secular examples of intractable bourgeois tendencies in the Soviet Union and in America.


What is the Harm of Baptism?

Agitator (Agitator), Moscow, No. 20, November 1960 

Secular and Religious Contradictions during the 'Age of Anxiety' as Found in Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS) Reports, 1957-1995

‘Catch the Itch’: Three Newly Digitized Works from Caribbean History and Culture, 1535-1920

The January release of Caribbean History and Culture, 1535-1920: Imprints from the Library Company of Philadelphia includes a 17th-century report on the British territories across the Atlantic, an 18th-century essay on diseases of the West Indies and their remedies, and a 19th-century collection of casually racist drawings.


 

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The Present State of His Majesties Isles and Territories in America (1687)

By Richard Blome

Richard Blome (1635-1705) was an English author and cartographer. His report on the American Territories is accompanied by maps, astronomical charts, and “a table by which, at any time of the day or night here in England, you may know what hour it is in any of those parts.”

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In addition to charts and tables, Blome’s book contains thrilling descriptions of the natural world of the Caribbean. Here’s his account of dangers beneath the surface of the seas around Antigua.

‘Catch the Itch’: Three Newly Digitized Works from Caribbean History and Culture, 1535-1920

‘All revolutions bring their own laws’: Selections from Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS) Reports, 1957-1995

Reports from the Joint Publications Research Serviceacting as a unit within the Central Intelligence Agencywere published to provide wide-ranging insight into geo-politics, global threat assessments, public policy, foreign intelligence, national security, the Cold War and more.  These were among the newly digitized reports released to the Readex digital edition in November and December 2016.


Comments on the TU-144 Supersonic Aircraft

Skrzydlata Polska (Polish Aircraft), No. 33 (788), 14 August 1966. 8 pages

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Over two years before the first successful flight of the supersonic commercial aircraft Concorde, you could have learned the details of its Soviet counterpart from A.N. Tupolev himself in this Polish technical journal. The TU-144 shared the general configuration and iconic “drooped” nose of the British-French aircraft, and was the first such aircraft to exceed Mach 2. It was in production until the early 1980s.


Rare Phenomena: “Vision” in the Fingers of Rosa Kuleshova

Priroda (Nature), No. 5, 1963. 22 pages

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‘All revolutions bring their own laws’: Selections from Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS) Reports, 1957-1995

‘Finding the Real Cuba: Citizen-Entrepreneurs and the Communist-Capitalist State’ [Video]

Fidel Castro was buried yesterday in Santiago de Cuba, 63 years after the start of the armed revolution he led.  In the summer of 2014, six months before the United States restored diplomatic relations with Cuba, Lillian Guerra, Professor of Cuban and Caribbean History at the University of Florida, spoke at a Readex-sponsored event the American Library Association Annual Conference. She provided this first-hand look at the impact of the long-standing embargo on Cuban life.

 

 


For more information about Caribbean Newspapers, Series 1, 1718-1876: From the American Antiquarian Society or Caribbean History and Culture, 1535-1933: Imprints from the Library Company of Philadelphia, please contact readexmarketing@readex.com.

‘Finding the Real Cuba: Citizen-Entrepreneurs and the Communist-Capitalist State’ [Video]

“The Iron Hand of Persecution”: Highlights from Afro-Americana Imprints, 1535-1922

The April release of Afro-Americana Imprints, 1535-1922: From the Library Company of Philadelphia includes an English minister's examination of the "United States of America and of the European Settlements in America and the West-Indies," published in 1796. This work includes the color plate of a tobacco plant seen to the right. Also highlighted below are works printed in London offering two perspectives on the slave trade between Africa and the Caribbean.   


An Historical, Geographical, Commercial, and Philosophical View of the United States of America and of the European Settlements in America and the West-Indies (1796) 

By William Winterbotham 

“The Iron Hand of Persecution”: Highlights from Afro-Americana Imprints, 1535-1922

Cuba on the Threshold of Socialism: “…the economy is hard, it is hard, it does not cry.”

From the United States’ 1962 embargo until the present-day reestablishment of diplomatic and economic relations, Cuba has struggled to find a secure economic footing. This month’s highlights from Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS) Reports, 1957-1995, show the magnitude of that undertaking from the perspectives of then-Prime Minister Fidel Castro, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, and in its fundamentals relating to the food supply. 

 

Television Interview with Fidel Castro

Revolucion (Revolution) – 26 April 1962 

“…the economy is hard, it is hard, it does not cry. Then, this is the problem. It is almost Communist, but it happens that we are building socialism and there are still many persons who are not even on the threshold of socialism...”

Prime Minister Castro states this in the beginning of this excerpted interview, then elaborates on the challenges his nation faced with regard to education and public health. It’s clear that he was deeply concerned with the human aspect of development, and the interview format lends greater focus to his remarks than can be easily drawn from his more lengthy speeches. 

 

Regulations on Food Rationing in Cuba

Hoy (Today) – 13 March 1962 

“6 lbs. of rice per person, per month, throughout the country;…One 2-lb. chicken (net weight) per person, per month.”

A chicken in every pot, perhaps, but by law only once each month—this is socialism at its roots. These three brief documents lay out the essentials of food rationing during the early years of Cuba’s centralized economy. 

 

Cuba on the Threshold of Socialism: “…the economy is hard, it is hard, it does not cry.”

Tapas Rojas: Brief Reports on Cold War Communism in Latin America

Marchers for Allende, 1964. Photograph by Jim WallaceHyperinflation in Venezuela and Argentina. Transformative elections. Plummeting oil revenue for Brazil. Leftist governments have faced significant political and economic challenges recently. Fifty years ago, regional socialist experiments were at a more nascent and often violent stage in their development.

In this month’s highlights from Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS) Reports, 1957-1995, we’ll peruse family snapshots of Latin American politics back when communism—for all its bloodshed and “red” ideology—appeared more black-and-white.


Guerilla Threats against Peasantry

La Esfera (The Globe) – 3 December 1962

In what could be the first line of a novel, the opening sentence of this report says volumes about life in Venezuela in 1962: “Fabricio and his partisans threatened to shoot the peasants.” Che Guevara’s name comes up, as does the revolutionary character of Jesus Christ’s ministry on Earth.


Bolivian Peasant Leader Attacks Police and Defies Minister of Government

Presencia (Presence) – 23 November 1962

A government attempt to retrieve a stolen vehicle turns into a five-hour confrontation.


Communist Political Activities in Brazil

Novos Rumos (New Ways) – 14-20 December 1962

Conferences rather than confrontations here as the peasants attempt to consolidate their power and better their situation.


Cuban Economic Highlights—1961

Revolucion (Revolution) – 30 December 1961

Tapas Rojas: Brief Reports on Cold War Communism in Latin America

Bridges to the Past: Everything from the Cold War Is New Again

A left front view of a U-2 reconnaissance aircraft parked on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS AmericaSeveral weeks ago a Dutch investigation determined that a civilian airliner flying over contested Ukraine territory was brought down by a missile of Russian manufacture; Presidents Obama and Putin continue to spar over "deconfliction" in Syrian airspace. And Steven Spielberg's latest film, "Bridge of Spies," based upon the Soviets' downing of an American U-2 reconnaissance aircraft in May 1960, was released internationally. Is this art imitating life? Or it could be more as William Faulkner wrote, "The past is never dead. It's not even past."

In this month's highlights from Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS) Reports, 1957-1995, we're going back to the future: Political prisoners. Electronic countermeasures. Confrontations on the German Autobahn. Let the credits roll: the Cold War's about to get hot. Again.


US-USSR Incident on the Berlin Autobahn

Muenchner Merkur (Munich Mercury) – 20 October 1963

If your commute was challenging this morning, at least you didn't have armored personnel carriers and spiked vehicle barriers blocking the roadway. In October 1963 an American military convoy traveling through East Berlin to West Germany encountered all that and more. Protests were filed. Ultimatums issued. There was talk of "misunderstandings" and "compromise," but also of "provocation" and "heavy undesirable consequences."

Bridges to the Past: Everything from the Cold War Is New Again

Award-winning Cuban Studies Expert Provides First-hand Look at Impact of Long-standing Embargo

Following the release of an American contractor held in a Cuban prison for more than five years on spying charges, President Obama announced Wednesday the United States will restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba. Mr. Obama also declared an embassy will be opened in Havana for the first time in more than 50 years.

During the Readex ALA breakfast presentation in Las Vegas last June, University of Florida Professor Lillian Guerra shared her first-hand observations of how the long-standing embargo has impacted life in the island nation. See the full presentation here:


For more information about Caribbean Newspapers, Series 1, 1718-1876: From the American Antiquarian Society, or to request a trial for your institution, please contact readexmarketing@readex.com.

Award-winning Cuban Studies Expert Provides First-hand Look at Impact of Long-standing Embargo

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