Cuba! Africa! Revolution!

[***Please note: Jihan El-Tahri’s film has been removed and replaced with a short related film***]

“CUBA! AFRICA! REVOLUTION!”

Jihan El Tahri’s 2007 documentary “CUBA! AFRICA! REVOLUTION!” (aka “Cuba, an African Odyssey”) tells the previously untold story of Cuba’s support for African revolutions. This documentary unravels the story of the so-called Cold War,through the prism of its least known arena: Africa. Against colonialism, capitalism, and communism, the newly independent nations attempted for the first time to gain real control of their own countries. From Che Guevara’s military campaign to avenge Lumumba in the Congo, up to the fall of apartheid in South Africa, 300,000 Cubans fought alongside African revolutionaries.

Patrice Lumumba was an African anti-colonial leader, and the first legally elected Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo, after he assisted it achieve independence from Belgium in June 1960. Only ten weeks later, Lumumba’s government was deposed in a coup. He was subsequently imprisoned and assassinated. President Colonel Mobutu, the key figure in the coup, supported by the Congo’s former colonial power, Belgium, and the CIA, became the Congo’s ruler. Cuba shared Africa’s revolutionary quest for independence.

Fidel Castro decided that Cuba could not stand idly by, so he sent Che Guevara to Africa to assess how they could aid local liberation movements. In 1965, Guevara went to the Congo in an attempt to spark a revolution against the pro-Western regime, which had emerged after the assassination of Lumumba. The problem was, Guevara was without formal military training, and was up against the Congolese, who were aided by US Army Special Forces. So he returned to Cuba and recruited 120 soldiers, taking them back to the Congo. Still, Guevara’s army was no match, and they eventually withdrew in August, 1965.

From the tragicomic epic of Che Guevara in Congo, to the triumph at the battle of Cuito Carnavale in Angola, Cuba: An African Odyssey attempts to understand the world today through the saga of these internationalists who won every battle, but finally lost the war.

Update: The documentary “Cuba, an African Odyssey” is due for general release on 21/01/2008

 

The Century of the Self – Adam Curtis

The Century of the Self is an acclaimed documentary by filmmaker Adam Curtis released in 2002.

“The series (below) is about how those in power have used Freud’s theories to try and control the dangerous crowd in an age of mass democracy.” – Adam Curtis Continue reading

What Communism Still Teaches Us —Václav Havel

The fall of communism was an opportunity to create more effective global political institutions based on democratic principles — institutions that could stop what appears to be, in its current form, the self-destructive tendency of our industrial world. If we do not want to be overrun by anonymous forces, the principles of freedom, equality and solidarity must start working globally. Continue reading

Socialism and Man in Cuba – Che Guevara

[Letter written to the editor of Marcha, a Uruguayan weekly magazine, early 1965]


Dear Comrade,

Though belatedly, I am completing these notes in the course of my trip through Africa, hoping in this way to keep my promise. I would like to do so by dealing with the theme set forth in the title above. I think it may be of interest to Uruguayan readers.

A common argument from the mouths of capitalist spokesmen, in the ideological struggle against socialism, is that socialism, or the period of building socialism into which we have entered, is characterized by the abolition of the individual for the sake of the state. I will not try to refute this argument solely on theoretical grounds, but rather to establish the facts as they exist in Cuba and then add comments of a general nature. Let me begin by broadly sketching the history of our revolutionary struggle before and after the taking of power. Continue reading

The Truth Game

John Pilger‘s penetrating documentary which looks at world-wide propaganda surrounding the nuclear arms race. Continue reading

The Communist Manifesto Illustrated by Cartoon

Displaying a broad range of Golden Age Hollywood animation, Manifestoon is a homage to the latent subversiveness of cartoons. Though U.S. cartoons are usually thought of as conveyors of capitalist ideologies of consumerism and individualism, Drew observes: “Somehow as an avid childhood fan of cartoons, these ideas were secondary to a more important lesson—that of the ‘trickster’ nature of many characters as they mocked, outwitted and defeated their more powerful adversaries. In the classic cartoon, brute strength and heavy artillery are no match for wit and humor, and justice always prevails. For me, it was natural to link my own childhood concept of subversion with an established, more articulate version [Marx and Engels’ Communist Manifesto]. Mickey running over the globe has new meaning in today’s mediascape, in which Disney controls one of the largest concentrations of media ownership in the world.”