Cultural Dimensions of Cuba
When I think of Cuba, a portrait of the past immediately manifests. In the background is endless pale beige sand on blue sea; in the foreground late 1950’s General Motors cars parked proudly in front of brightly colored tenement housing. In the 1999 movie, Buena Vista Social Club, written by Ry Cooder, this portrait is brought to life. The miscegenation of Africans and Spaniards make up 51% of the population. (Ellicot, 2012). In a one party society and country that is likewise densely populated, universalism must triumph over particularism; communitarian must triumph over individualism. (Trompenaars, 2004).
The one party referred to here is the Communist Party. This party sees the society and its state as one entity. By definition the socialist structure, economic system and its political will are cooperative. It this type of society, the good of the group is the will of the people not the good of one. Change is considered both evolutionary and revolutionary. This change however is controlled by the government and is considered off limits to its citizenry. Everyone is engaged in building a greater society as long as it does not interfere in the administration of Communist Party policies.
Those whose voices are resonant are elevated by their government. In Buena Vista Social Club, each musician tells a story of how they became an artist. They also discuss briefly how their cultural and religious beliefs shaped the essence of who they have become. The common thread was the involvement of family and friends in their quest to exploit their talents. Cuba is clearly a society of diffusion particularly in its musicians and their faces. Their music speaks of the anguish of love. This love has beauty, it has rhythm, it is not selfish, it has passion and it is synchronous in time and space. (Trompenaars, 2004). Cuban’s desire to depend on one another was heightened when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. They had...
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