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Cuba: from revolution as green as palm trees to red as communism

Methodological introduction and description of activities

The aim of this worksheet is to provide students with the basic features of the communist regime in Cuba, emphasizing its establishment and subsequent changes, in one 45-minute lesson. The basic content and key activities are based on eyewitness accounts documented in the Memory of the Cuban Nation project. The worksheet is divided into three main parts: 1) Opening activities and introduction section, 2) Fidel Castro’s Cuban Revolution culminating in 1959, and 3) Disillusionment with the Marxist direction of the originally-democratic promises of the Cuban Revolution.

The instructor serves as a guide for the activities, framing the work of the participants, leading discussions with them, and providing the necessary context for the participants, or pointing to resources where deeper context and necessary connections can be found.

When looking at significant moments in history, it is essential to make students aware of the subjectivity of memory, and how each perspective reflects an individual’s distinctive experience. That is why in this worksheet we utilize several quotations from eyewitnesses, which form a broader mosaic of views.

In the final part of this sheet we have prepared a short overview text for teachers on the past and present situation in Cuba.

  • Target group: students between the ages of 13-18
  • Time: 45 minutes (can be extended to 90 minutes with additional interpretation and listening to witnesses)
  • Keywords and topics: communism, totalitarian regimes, Cuba, Fidel Castro, Cuban Revolution, 20th century, dissidents, great history through the eyes of witnesses
  • Concepts of historical thinking: causes and consequences, continuity and change, historical perspectives
  • Authors: Eva Kubátová, Tomáš Spáčil
  • Proofreading: Cady Barterian
  • Graphic design: Tereza Tomášová