Exporting Revolution: Cuba's Global Solidarity.

AuthorRuth, Christian
PositionLATIN AMERICA - Book review

Randall, Margaret. Exporting Revolution: Cuba's Global Solidarity. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2017.

Margaret Randall's latest book seeks to complicate our understanding of Cuba's efforts at "exporting revolution" around the world. Randall wishes to reclaim this phrase from the negative connotations it has garnered over decades of attacks from the United States against Castro's government. The Cold War image that the concept of exporting revolution has taken on has resulted in misunderstandings and underestimations of the true depth of Cuba's internationalism in the decades since the Cuban Revolution. Randall argues that there are many differences between what Cubans have been accused of doing in their efforts abroad and what they have striven to do.

A poet, essayist, and oral historian by trade, Randall has written on the sociocultural life of Cuba extensively. Her penchant for poetry is quite evident in Exporting Revolution, which includes poems by Cuban internationalists and personal comments by Randall on which artists she prefers, which she does not, and how Cuban internationalism is reflected in the art of the revolution. Randall's experience as an oral historian is reflected in the several chapters dedicated to accounts by individual internationalists, Cubans who went overseas, particularly to Africa, during and after the Cold War to lend their specialisms to countries in need. In these chapters, Randall brings an increasing personal touch to the book that emphasizes their tragic, yet heroic, efforts to help those in need even as their own country suffered the deprivations caused by the United States. Randall gives space in her narrative for the artistic work of the destitute but "proud" Cuban men and women who carried the "beauty and power of Cuban culture" across the world (p. 110).

Exporting Revolution does not follow a strict chronological structure. Chapter by chapter, Randall instead takes the reader through thematic conceptions of Cuba's internationalism. There are sections on Cuban efforts to aid anticolonial revolutions in African nations such as Angola, Ethiopia, and Zambia. These are juxtaposed with sections dedicated to explaining the variety of ways that Cubans have sent medical professionals abroad, advanced non-doping sporting habits, and facilitated the spread of education in neighboring countries. Each chapter offers a snippet of sorts into some aspect of Cuba's role around the world, but each is also...

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