Jamaica - Cuban Relations

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  • Topic: Cuba, Jamaica, Jamaica Labour Party
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  • Published : December 14, 2012
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Jamaican – Cuban Societies and Relations

BY

SOC 300

Dr. Ebrahim Biparva

December 11, 2011

Introduction

I have often wondered about the relationship of Jamaica and Cuba. Two island countries so close to one another with different ways of governing, how and why did Jamaica not chose the socialism route, in doing my research I found that Jamaica had come very close to doing just that. How would have Jamaica been affected if they did follow in Cuba’s footsteps? Their economy relies heavily on U.S. tourism. Was that a factor in their choice not to follow Castro’s ways? The ties that bind Cuba and Jamaica run deep, according to Brian Meeks, Professor of Social and Political Change at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica. The interconnections stem from several episodes in their shared history, Meeks said in a recent lecture, as well as from past migrations of people between the two countries. His talk, “Cuba from Due South: An Anglo-Caribbean Perspective,” launched the Center for Latin American Studies’ (CLAS's) new thematic focus on Cuba. An academic, journalist, novelist, and poet, Meeks commenced the talk with a reading of self-penned poem, “Cuba One,” written during the height of Jamaican political turmoil in 1975. “In 1962 a blue//mountain peak showed//a green horizon//to the unsuspecting eye.//standing spyglassed//staring blindly,//thought I'd see a dull grey line//tinged with red and barbed around//the picture framing//captive portraits//hiding from the sunlight//ideologically bound.” Building on the themes in his verse, Meeks recounted his experience as a middle-class youngster at the dawn of Jamaican independence, an event that came just a year after the failure of the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion by armed Cuban exiles and the United States. At the time, “there was little sympathy in Jamaica for Fidel’s movement – or so it seemed,” Meeks said. Norman & Michael Manley

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