Historically, the Cuban population has clearly identified itself as a revolutionary nation. They acknowledge “having fought themselves for national sovereignty” for more than a century of struggle. As a result, Cuba has left for history great examples of outstanding leaders such as Fidel Castro, Che Guevara or José Martí. However, since the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, Cuba’s economy and culture have become increasingly exposed and immersed within the phenomenon of globalisation.
An academic research at Lancaster University, England, evaluates current consequences which contemporary times trigger in today’s Cuban youth. The results of this analysis point out that the Millennial generation is the most evident agent for the decreasing “classic revolutionary” sentiment.
In a way, this cultural change was easy to predict. There are very few countries whose population has not been radically influenced by the transnational forces of this time. However, in the case of Cuba, this generation is resulting in a relevant percentage of the adult population that has stopped agreeing with the classic idea of Revolución and government, which their parents and grandparents fought for in the 1950s.
Why is this research work so relevant? Because it reveals in the Millennial generation two different trends. First, an increasing disagreement with the revolutionary-communist identity. And second, the appearance of a new kind of “revolutionary Cuban” that can be found in Millennials.
On the one hand, this phenomenon will undeniably determine the future of the country’s political system. The study portrays how the most communist side of Fidel’s revolutionary values, such as class equality and anti-Americanism, are being diluted within an increasingly globalised Cuban youth. Perhaps leaving aside the dream of “Cuba Libre” to pursue the “American dream”.
On the other hand, the first generation of Cubans who have not lived years of Cold War, but have seen the arrival of the Internet, continue to use the term revolucionario to define themselves. According to this report, Cuban Millennials continue to call themselves true revolutionaries, but different from the kind of revolutionary fighters that their parents and grandparents were. Values such as independence, self-determination and freedom, can be as Millennial as key characteristics of a rebellious young man. Indeed, young Cubans are proud to openly show these ideas on social media. However, the study indicates that the level of support of the Communist Party and the government is dramatically decreasing among Millennials.
These generational differences divide the overall population into two. On one side, Cubans who are more attached to a collective conception of the revolution. And on the other side, a youth who support the importance of individualism. Will Cuba live in coming years a new revolution, which will be led by Millennials in favour of a more liberal government? Or, on the contrary, will young Cubans flight continue? And so will the consequent prolongation of support for the government by older generations and Millennial who remain on the island.
Changes will take place in the island in not many years. The future of Cuba will have to be negotiated between a citizenry that continues to hopelessly witness how youth seek better opportunities beyond their borders. Or, on the contrary, future generations will be able to incorporate less socialist politics, which are aligned with the Millennial-Revolutionary identity that so characterizes today’s young Cubans.
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