Cuba feels the pinch again

Will Grant on how the island is dealing with US hostility

The World Today
2 minute READ

Will Grant

BBC’s Cuba correspondent

The children of the Colmenita musical theatre troupe take to the stage in Havana’s main convention centre to the warm applause of a sympathetic audience. Gathered under the slogan ‘Hands off Cuba’, the auditorium is full of delegates from left-wing and socialist organizations from across the region. The room is adorned with flags from Venezuela, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador and Puerto Rico as the hastily arranged ‘Anti-Imperialist Meeting of Solidarity for Democracy and Against Neoliberalism’ gets underway.

The children, dressed as bumblebees, perform all the favourites in their repertoire: tribute songs to Fidel Castro and patriotic anthems such as ‘Cuba, qué linda es Cuba’, sung over a montage of images of Castro as a young man. One might say the photos recall easier times, but the island has rarely had any easy time since Castro led the Cuban Revolution to victory in 1959. Still, even by Cuba’s standards, things have been particularly tough recently.

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