Socialism Betrayed is Published in Cuba

Socialism Betrayed has now been translated into Spanish and published in Cuba. On February 15, it was launched at the Havana Book Fair, on the campus of the University of Havana as Socialismo Traicionado, Tras el Colapso de la Union Sovietica, 1917-1991 por Roger Keeran y Thomas Kenny (Havana: Editorial Ciencias Sociales, 2013),  339 pp.

The publisher is Editorial Nuevo Milenio, part of the larger Ediciones Ciencias Sociales.  The session also included the introduction of two other books, "Resistir en la Esperanza," by Adolfo Perez Esquivel and "Dialéctica del Poder. Entre la Dominación y la Resistencia, by Dr. Salvador Romero Montalvo.

Socialismo Traicionado has a prologue by Ramon Labanino, one of the still-imprisoned Cuban Five. After first reading it in English, Ramon and his wife Elizabeth Palmeiro were among the most instrumental in calling it to the attention of Cuban publishers.

Activists, students, publishers, academics, editors, and writers filled the vestibule of the main library of the University of Havana. Elizabeth Palmeiro and Adriana Pérez wife of Gerardo Hernández, another of the Cuban Five were present.

Speaking from the floor after the formal presentations, Elizabeth Palmeiro praised Javier Salado, an official of the Instituto Cubano del Libro, who played a major role in its publication.  Manuel Yepe -- veteran Cuban political journalist, former diplomat, former aide to Che Guevara -- attended.  Yepe had been an early, strong supporter of the Nuevo Milenio initiative for a Cuban edition. Juan Carlos Santana, editor in chief of Nuevo Milenio, was also present.  

The front cover of Socialismo Traicionado proclaims: “With a Foreword from the Hero of the Republic of Cuba Ramon Labanino Salazar.” (”Con Prologo del Heroe de la Republica de Cuba, Ramon Labanino Salazar.”)

Ramon’s foreword is below, in both English and Spanish. All copies of the book at the main site of the Book Fair, the giant La Cabana fortress complex overlooking Havana harbor, sold out in two days. 

At the book launch, attended by co-authors Keeran and Kenny, Cuba's Deputy Minister of Culture, Fernando Rojas, introduced the book. When his remarks are finalized and translated, this web site will post them.  

Abel Prieto, former minister of Culture (1997-2012), now adviser on Cultural Affairs to Cuban President Raul Castro, requested a meeting with the authors, but regrettably, unforeseen scheduling problems prevented the meeting.

The book has been published in English, Persian, Russian, Bulgarian, Turkish, Greek, Portuguese, French, and now Spanish.

Thomas Kenny noted that, as North Americans, the authors were fully conscious that they come from a country causing such suffering in socialist Cuba through the US blockade. He declared that a Spanish edition has been long been urgent. Radical and even revolutionary change is in the air in much of Latin America.

Roger Keeran outlined the main thesis of the book. He dramatically described the achievements of Soviet socialism, a history that needs to be learned by all those who still hear the endless right-wing propaganda that 20th century socialism was an abject failure. He acknowledged, “we may not have all the answers to the Soviet downfall, but we hope the book will contribute to the discussion around the "updating" of the Cuban economic model.” 

The co-authors used the occasion of their visit to Havana to research the progress and problems of the “Actualizacion,” the “Updating” of the Cuban economy. They interviewed trade unionists, workers, government officials, intellectuals, co-operators, economists, lawyers, journalists and ordinary Cuban citizens. An update of their 2011 article “Whither Cuba?” (“A Donde Va Cuba?”) is planned.

Details about how Spanish-speaking readers of this web site can buy the book will be forthcoming soon.


 


In the Manner of a Foreword
By Ramon Labanino
 
 
Several months ago I was privileged to be able to read the valuable book Socialism Betrayed by authors Roger Keeran and Thomas Kenny, North American brothers, who kindly arranged for me to obtain a copy.
 
Through them I was able to learn that in 2013 the book would be published in our country. If I may, I would like to humbly discuss my views.
 
I believe this is an excellent work. It deals with the process which occurred in the former Soviet Union and which led to the downfall of socialism in that country. I see the book as a work of criticism, but constructive criticism.
 
Its authors are able to discern, through clear, and deep statistical data, as it were in a surgical operation down to the depths of the system, all the problems and overarching errors that dragged on for years and brought the socialist system to collapse. It's a penetrating look, in its search for the roots of the inner problems, rather than the surface problems, which, in many cases already have been dealt with and were easier to detect.
 
Setting aside the great historical, social, political, cultural and even geographical differences between the Eurasian giant and our beloved Caribbean island, there are details that greatly astonish us by their resemblance to our present reality.
 
Among them might be included the existence of a huge black market, which in many cases contributed half and, in other cases, all necessary goods for the population and that obviously took away from state resources by means of theft, embezzlement, and fraud.
 
Rampant and corrosive corruption was found from the lowest levels to the heights of the state apparatus, even within the Communist Party itself and its leaders .
 
The Soviet model fell under its own weight and, what is more,  especially by showing  a complete  indifference to its people, by lack of consultation with the whole nation about what was happening and the steps to take, by the lack of direct, effective communication, of feedback with the masses (this aspect is one that is very well handled in our country).
 
It would seem that the Soviet leadership had no real interest in renewing and saving its socialism, but rather the opposite; to destroy it from its own base, to dismantle the structure of the Communist Party, dividing and fragmenting society, installing the methods and mechanisms of an unchecked capitalism, benefiting petty bourgeois and private interest groups, which later gave rise to big capital and to greed as a social premise.
 
Social processes are not written in any handbook. Rather, they develop in the course of labor, by correcting and updating tasks. But, no doubt, the experiences of others allow us to enhance, to improve and to avoid their misfortunes.
 
The current situation facing our socialism in Cuba demands from us all the utmost zeal in everything we do and  create, for the sole purpose of strengthening and improving socialism, never to destroy or create foundations for capitalism, and much less those of the Empire, laws of the market, egoism and private property. For this reason, this is a necessary book for the today’s revolutionary, for our leaders at all times, for our whole people, for all who defend our socialist and humane system.

It is in this sense that this book is very important, that it contains within itself the Jose Marti-like virtue of supreme usefulness.
 
This work is a great lesson on everything we should neither do nor allow in our country, so as to safeguard the Revolution, its achievements, and socialism as its major expression.
 
I consider very useful the labor spent on this material by friends Roger and Thomas. I value that labor as most useful for knowing which road not to take in this important process of change in our economic system. The book helps us better understand why we should change, uproot, and foresee, while it alerts us to mistakes that we should never commit.
 
In the historical moment in which our country lives, when we put in place new Guidelines for Action to perfect and update our economic system, Socialism Betrayed helps us be alert and vigilant in order to avoid errors and weaknesses that could bring us to failure.
 
This work helps us to see our successes in some respects, our advantages and possibilities, without ceasing to show mistakes made by others, where we must make no mistake .
 
Therefore, I applaud the decision to publish it in our country. Thanks to the authors for delivering to us a weapon of war in the colossal battle of ideas in which our country and the whole world live.
 
Five everlasting embraces
Ramon Labanino Salazar
September 27, 2013
Federal Correction Institute
Ashland Kentucky
USA
 
Translation by Bill Miller
 
 
 


A Modo de Prologo
por Ramon Labanino

Hace varios meses tuve el privilegio de poder leer el valioso libro Socialism Betrayed, de los autores Roger Keeran y Thomas Kenny, hermanos norteamericanos quienes en su gran bondad me hicieron llegar un ejemplar.
 
Por medio de ellos pude conocer que en el ano 2013 seria publicado en nuestra patria.  Si se me permite, me gustaria comentar mis impresiones con toda humildad.
 
Considero que es esta una obra excelente, que trata del proceso ocurrido en la Antigua Union Sovetica y que llevo al derrumbe del socialismo en ese pais.  Veo el libro como una obra critica, pero constructive.
 
Sus autores son capaces de discerner, mediante datos estadisticos, profundos y evidentes, como en una cirugia a lo mas profundo del sistema, todos los problemas y errors transcendentales que se arrastraron durante anos y que llevaron al colapso del sistema socialista.  Es una vision mas intimista, en busca de las raices internas del problems, mas que de las externas (que en muchos casos yah an sido tratadas y han sido mas faciles de detector).

Salvanado las grandes diferencias historicas, sociales, politicas, culturales y hasta geograficas existentes entre aquel gigante eurosiatico y nuestra amada isla caribena, hay detalles que asombran sobremanera por su parecido a nuestra realidad actual.  Entre estos se pudiera mencionar la existencia de un descomunal mercado negro, que en muchos casos aportaba la mitad y en otros la totalidad de los bienes necesarios para la poblacion y que, obviamente, se desviaban de los recursos del Estado por medio del robo, la malversacion, el fraude.
 
 La corrupcion galopante y corrosive desde los niveles de base hasta las maximas estructura del aparato estatal, se hallaba incluso dentro del propio Partido Comunista y sus dirigentes.
 
El modelo sovietico cayo por su propio peso y sobre este, en especial por tener un desapego total con su pueblo, en la falta de consultas con toda la nacion sobre lo que ocurria y las medidas a tomar, la carencia de comunicacion directa, efectiva, de retroalimentacion con las masas (aspecto este que esta muy bien conducido en nuestro pais).
 
Pareciera que la dirigencia Sovietica no tenia un interes real en renovar y salvar su socialismo, sino todo lo contrario;  destruirlo desde su propia base, al desarticular las estructura del Partido Comunista, dividiendo y fragmentando la sociedad, instalando medios y mecanismos capitalistas feroces sin control alguno, en beneficio de pequenos burguese y grupos de interes privado, lo que daba origen despues a los grandes capitalEs y la avaricia como premisa social.
 
Los procesos sociales no estan escritos en manual alguno, mas bien se desarrollan sobre el camino de la obra, corrigiendo y actualizando los projectos;  pero, sin dudas, las experiencias de otros nos permiten mejorar, perfeccionar y evitar los males de aquellos.
 
El momento actual que vive nuestro socialismo en Cuba exige de todos nosotros el cello extreme, en todo lo que hacemos y creamos, con el unico fin de fortalecerlo y majorarlo, nunca para destruirlo, ni crear bases para el capitalism y mucho menos aquellas del imperio de las leyes del Mercado, el egoism y la propiedad privada.  Por eso este es un libro necesario para el revolucionario de hoy, de todos los tiempos para nuestros lideres, para todo nuestro publo, para todos los que defendemos nuestro sistema socialist y humano.
 
Es en este sentido que resulta muy importante este libro, que conserva en si mismo la virtud Martiana de la mejor utilidad.
 
Esta obra es una gran leccion de todo lo que no debemos hacer ni permitir en nuestro pais,  para preserver la Revolucion, sus conquistas y el socialismo como expression mayor.
 
Valoro como muy util la labor realizada en este material por los amigos Roger y Thomas, la valoro de muy util para saber que camino no tomar en este importante proceso de cambio en nuestro sistema economico;  el libro ayuda a comprender mejor por que debemos cambiar, erradicar y prevenir, al tiempo que nos alerta de errore que jamas se debe cometer.
 
En el momento historico que vive nuestra patria, cuando ponemos en accion los nuevos lineamientos para perfeccionar y actualuzar nuestro sistemo economico Socialism Betrayed nos ayuda a estar alertas y vigilantes para evitar errors y debilidades que pudieran lievarnos al fracas.
 
Esta obra nos ayuda a ver nuestros aciertos en algunos aspectos, nuestra ventajas y posibilitidades, sin dejar de mostrarnos mediante los errors ajenos done no equivocarnos.
 
Por todo ello, aplaudo la decision de publicarlo en nuestra patria.  Gracias a los autores por entregarnos un arma mas de combate en esta colossal batalla de ideas que vive nuestro paid y todo el mundo.
 
Cinco abrazos eternos,
Ramon Labananio Salazar
Septiembre 27, 2013
Federal Correctional Institute
Ashland, Kentucky
EE.UU.

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