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12/24/13 -  Cuba-L Analysis (Albuquerque) - Youth and social classes in Cuba 

Nelson P. Valdés 

[Translation by Walter Lippmann]

The history of Cuba is written and interpreted on the basis of
"generations". The cognitive framework based on generations is completely
opposite [implicitly] to the class perspective. In the generational
approach it is assumed that persons of a similar age supposedly have the
same "generational" ideology. And thus the "generational" is the common
form of expression. We talk about Generation of the 68, Generation of the
95, Generation of the 33, Generation of the Centennial, Generation Y,
Generation this and that.  

But, does the word "generation" capture real social realities? Does a young
person in Alto Songo think like one of the same age in Havana neighborhood
Siboney? Has a 23 year worker in Antillana de Acero [steel factory] the
same "mentality" as a coastguard in Maria la Gorda? And does the son of a
high ranking official think like the son of black single mother? 

And when are we going to yell that the King is naked? When are we going to
admit that the phrases "Nueva Generación," [New Generation] or "Juventud
rebelde" [Rebel Youth] or "Joven Cuba" [Young Cuba] are related to a
cultural/academic development that froze with the literature of the early
19th Century? In other words, that we are still accepting as true and real
the views of Auguste Comte and all his copy-cats and followers, including
Roberto Agramonte and Raúl Roa in the 20th Century and others since then.
Imagine, Alfredo Guevara himself saying he had faith in youth and no
mention was made of the working class! Even Che referred at times to this
generational thing, although not so frequently. But it is interesting how
he refers to youth: "In our society a great role is played by the youth and
the Party." And he adds, " 

"Particularly important is the former, because it is the malleable clay
from which the new man can be made free from old hereditary defects. It
receives a treatment according to our ambitions. Its education is
increasingly more complete, and we do not forget its integration to work
from the onset. Our intern students do physical work in their vacations, or
combined with their studies during the school term. Work is an award
sometimes, or an instrument of education; it is never a punishment. A new
generation is born." 

By the way, even considering that social reality is determined by
generations, this in itself is not an explanation; it would be a mere
description. Even if generations were the main factor to interpret the
history and society in the Island, we would need to explain what the origin
of this phenomenon is. To merely assume that every reality or historical
process is generational, expresses a number of ideological premises that do
not constitute a real explanation of things. 

And one last remark: "the young" increasingly represent a minority sector
on the Island.  Share


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