Cuba's economy, strangled by foreign debt, is overdependent on sugar exports of declining value. Increasing waste and muddle of the bureaucracy, growing inequality between workers' and managers' wages, high absenteeism and greater rationing of basic goods all point to a severe crisis in Cuba's socialist experiment, according to French leftist Habel. Her prescription for change includes political democracy, freedom of speech and action, granting of decision-making power to workers and letting ``the whole of society take control of its own development.'' Habel, who has visited Cuba regularly since 1962, writes as a disillusioned follower of Castro's revolution, which makes her heavily footnoted tract dull and plodding, at times an apologia. Chapters cover Cuba's militant foreign policy, the government's alleged involvement in drug trafficking and its strained relations with Gorbachev, who refused to cancel Cuba's debt. (Sept.)
This timely work analyzes a question on the mind of all observers of the international political scene: will Cuba be the next to shed its socialist leadership? The author, a French activist sympathetic to the Revolution who has visited the island since 1962, rightly praises and criticizes Cuban development. She lays the primary blame for the failures of the Revolution on a bureaucratic state and argues that it is not too late to institute democratic socialism. Although Castro receives his fair share of the blame, many critics would consider her too generous on his human rights record and personally motivated vengeance, while also questioning whether Cuba indeed became economically independent. Recommended for most libraries.-- Roderic A. Camp, Central Coll., Pella, Ia.
Distinguished left theorists, analysts, and social critics (including Eric Hobsbawm, Jurgen Habermas, Eduardo Galeano, Ralph Miliband, Giovanni Arrighi, Fredric Jameson, Fred Halliday, Edward Thompson, and Alexander Cockburn) explain the meaning of Communism's meteoric trajectory and explore the grounds for continued socialist endeavor and commitment. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)