Cuba – Time for Another Revolution?

Above all, always be capable of feeling deeply any injustice committed against anyone, anywhere in the world.

— Che Guevara ((“Che Guevara Reader” p. 383, Ocean Press; Second Edition; Edited by David Deutschmann)) To my children (1965)

I think Che must surely be spinning in his grave. The Cuba for which he risked his life has surely fallen short of his hopes and aspirations; and now, as time takes its inevitable toll on the Castros, I believe the country is in some danger of losing the few real advances it’s made and may join the competition with many other desperate third world countries in the dreaded race to the bottom. In my opinion, Cuba, like many other places around the world, is in dire need of another revolution.

I should begin by clearly stating that I’m no expert on Cuba. I’ve read a bit of its history and I’ve just returned from a two week holiday there, where I behaved pretty much like any other tourist. However, my impressions of the country now I’ve actually seen it are very different to what I hoped I would see.

Before we went to Cuba I was amazed at how many other people said they’ve been there. At first, when we booked the trip at the beginning of the year, we thought we were doing something fairly exotic and radical; but when we started telling people what we were doing it seemed like we were about the only ones who hadn’t been to Cuba. It did not surprise me that everyone, without exception, told us how wonderful the island is and how wonderful the people are. I mean, it’s a large tropical island whose people are pretty well known for being well-educated and well cared for: why shouldn’t it be wonderful?

The main reason I was in Cuba was to help my wife overcome her life-long fear of water and discover the joy of snorkelling. She only recently learnt to swim and our holiday was the final sort of graduation test. She passed with flying colours and is now a new convert to the pleasures of swimming in the sea. So I spent most of my time with her in the water rather than digging around Cuban society trying to find out what’s going on there.

Of course I knew about the abominable sanctions regime it’s had to endure for over half a century, and I knew that there are all sorts of basic things we westerners take for granted – like soap and toothpaste – which are, for most Cubans, luxury products; but what I was not prepared for was the fairly desperate condition of many Cubans. I’d assumed that Cuba was pretty much a model communist country (allowing for the outrageous sanctions, of course), and that the people would be fairly well taken care of in terms of essentials such as food, water, housing, medical care and so on. But it seems that’s not quite the way it is.

First Impressions

I was sort of brought up around airports. Both my parents worked in them in the days when flying was a real pleasure and not much more arduous than catching a bus. My folks worked at Bulawayo Airport in Rhodesia in the 1960s, and I spent many, many hours there. I liked it. I liked the big open spaces in and around it, the buzz at busy times when a plane was around and the quiet when there wasn’t; the mix of nationalities; the different airlines travelling to and from distant places; the general excitement of travel. Today airports are places of carefully controlled frustration, fear and dread.

So when we arrived at Cuba’s Frank Pais International Airport near Holguin a few weeks ago I was delighted to see the relaxed calm and informality of the place. It was like going back in time fifty-odd years. The plane we arrived on was the one and only there. We could and did just walk from the plane into the terminal building, which is about the same size as Bulawayo Airport was – small and neatly designed. It was great.

But you couldn’t miss the general state of dilapidation either – an impression that was soon to follow us around for the whole two weeks of our visit.

The hour-long bus ride from the airport to our hotel quickly confirmed that first impression of run-downness. The road was rough and pot-holed; road signs were few and far between and in poor repair; lighting was sparse and dim; there were few other motor vehicles on the road, and apart from the comfortable Chinese-made tourist coaches such as the one we were using, what other vehicles we saw were in shoddy condition: old pre-revolution American cars for which Cuba is well-known – lovingly maintained to the best of their ability by their owners no doubt, but run-down and dilapidated all the same. There were a handful of newish-looking cars, mostly Chinese I think. There were some military vehicles – old and Russian, I think. There were old open-backed trucks with people standing up in the back – a species of public bus apparently. Small horse-drawn carts were probably more numerous than motor vehicles – small and run-down looking worked by small and run-down looking horses and people. These carts travel up and down all the roads like any other vehicle. Some bicycles were being used – old-looking and basic, possibly Chinese.

Our travel rep pointed out a fairly large building complex near Holguin. I looked and thought I saw a building site where work had been abandoned a couple of decades ago. I forget now if it was the university or the hospital; they probably look about the same anyway.

The countryside was lush, green and tropical. Beautiful palm trees are everywhere; but wherever you see signs of human habitation the sense of run-downness quickly returns. Nearly every house we saw looked like it had been built by anyone except a proper builder. They’re small and unfinished-looking. Many are made from the ubiquitous palm trees, with gaping spaces in the walls and dry palm leaves for roofing. Small plots of land have a few banana trees and maize, with perhaps a couple of goats, a pig or two and chickens. It was dusk as we neared the end of our journey, and flickering lights appeared in some of the shacks, lights that looked like they may be gas lamps or oil lamps. There was no street lighting.

Given the fact that everywhere so far had looked very third world we were fairly anxious about what our hotel would be like. It was difficult to tell, at first: we arrived in the middle of a torrential downpour and there was hardly any lighting; but eventually we found we were in relative luxury – something that in Britain would probably be a middle-of-the-road three star hotel, but which was unquestionably the most modern and well cared-for building we saw in Cuba (apart from a few similar hotels).

For our first couple of days we just idled around the hotel and beach like good western tourists and soaked up the sun and sea. There was only one of the standard tours we wanted to do and that was something called “Cuba Life”, and that happened on our third day there.

“Cuba Life”

This day-trip involved a drive around the local district taking in a couple of features of normal life for rural Cubans.

Unsurprisingly it was more of the same experience I felt on the journey from the airport – attractive tropical countryside with scattered unfinished-looking homemade houses. There were few cars on the road. The decrepit little horse-drawn carts seem the most common vehicle, and bicycles or people walking.

Our first stop was a small village called, I think, Puerto Sama – about 10 km east of Guardalavaca. It was an interesting little place.

First we were taken to the clinic. It’s a small run-down building which appears to have just three rooms. On the outside wall is a large mural of Che Guevara, only just discernible through old flaking paint. The iconic image of one of the leaders of the Cuban Revolution seemed to appear everywhere we went; but curiously enough I didn’t notice a single image of Fidel Castro. (Just outside Holguin there’s a large mural that depicts Che and Hugo Chavez – but nothing of Castro. I’m sure they exist somewhere in Cuba, but I didn’t see any.) Tourists can buy countless images of Che – on T-shirts, wallets, key rings – the usual tourist tat – but nothing featuring Fidel.

A nurse/receptionist works one of the clinic’s rooms, a young doctor occupies another and the third room seems for general purpose. There was very little of anything there, and like nearly everything else in Cuba, what there was seemed old and broken-down. The doctor told me he was not long out of medical school and was working in this small rural community as part of some commitment he had to the state. He said he wanted to continue his training and to specialise in surgery; he looked like he couldn’t wait to get out of the quiet little village (but maybe he just wanted to see the back of another bus load of gaping tourists).

We learnt that although Cuba has acquired international prestige for its medical services there is a major problem with obtaining medicines. Although Cubans can see doctors free of charge, they have to pay for medicines – which are often expensive and way beyond the means of most Cubans. Likewise they can receive hospital treatment free of charge, but have to pay for any medication once they leave hospital.

After that we walked a short distance to the village infant school. On the way there we passed a small building that was some sort of museum, we were told. It looked quite official with a flagpole outside and some sort of plaque. We were told this was to commemorate the last US invasion of Cuba which apparently cost the lives of two Cubans and happened in 1971. Although I’d heard of the “Bay of Pigs” fiasco I hadn’t heard of this incident.

It seems that in 1971 two US warships appeared in the nearby bay and attempted some sort of landing, which was fought-off by the Cuban coastguard. It seems a very odd story to me and I’ve no idea what might have actually happened on that day. If the US was going to invade anywhere they would surely use more than two boats and would inevitably use their air force too. So although no doubt something happened there, it’s anyone’s guess as to what exactly took place.

The school is another sad-looking structure: a tired little building of just two small classrooms, each with enough tiny broken-down desks for about fifteen to twenty children. A few pictures were stuck to the walls together with a couple of handmade charts; a chalk blackboard at front of the class. It reminded me of the third world school rooms I saw in Africa forty years ago. When we visited the children were playing outside in a small enclosed area. I felt deeply uncomfortable in my position as a relatively well-off westerner gawking at third world hardship and snapping away with our expensive digital camera, and though I wanted to poke and pry and find out more, my self-consciousness was almost as much of a limitation as my all-but-non-existent Spanish.

The final place of particular interest in Puerto Sama was the village shop. It comprises two sections. One section is given over to “luxury” western items – like soap, shampoo, toothpaste and cans of soda-pop. The other section provides certain essential things supplied to Cubans, items which are cheap to buy but which are severely rationed – such as rice, beans, salt and sugar. Cooking oil is also provided, but a small 1litre bottle is supposed to supply a family of 4 for a month. The “luxury” items can be purchased by anyone, but can only be bought with “convertible” pesos – which are not easily obtainable to ordinary Cubans, who are normally paid in ordinary pesos. When we were there the approximate exchange rate was 25 pesos to 1 “convertible” peso, which was worth about 60 British pennies. Apparently there are moves afoot to scrap this two-tier monetary system. It remains to be seen if that will actually help the Cubans.

The only other bits of information I gleaned about life in Cuba was obtained by talking as best we could with Cubans who worked in or near the hotel. My lack of Spanish was a major handicap which was deeply frustrating, but nevertheless I did build up some sort of a picture.

For example, one day Lorraine and I were approached by a middle-aged woman on the beach (there were very few Cubans on the beach who weren’t employed to be there). Her English was as poor as our Spanish and so conversation was obviously very limited. At first I thought she was just being sociable, but it quickly became apparent that she was actually begging – albeit very quietly and politely. We gathered that she was a teacher, and that she needed to get to Havana for a thyroid operation, but couldn’t afford to get there. She explained that she got paid 312 pesos a month – which is about £8, possibly a little less. We couldn’t believe it, and later checked the story with a Cuban whose English was pretty good. She was unsurprised by the story and said that she who, probably because of her relatively good English, had a “good” job, was paid 406 pesos a month – about £11. For that she had to travel from her home every day which was about forty miles away – no small undertaking in Cuba. We must have showed our surprise, but she went on to say that that was not necessarily a bad thing because, she said, those people who lived closer to the hotel were often called on at short notice to work an extra shift, for which they receive no extra pay or time off.

So here we had a teacher whose monthly salary was only just a bit better than Britain’s hourly minimum wage, and a well-educated lady who had to add over two hours travel time to her working day, which she thought was a good thing, for a monthly salary that would only buy three or four beers in the UK.

Later we spoke as best we could with one of the security guards dotted around the hotel – a really nice guy, as just about every Cuban we came across was. He told us he was a biologist with specialist training in horses, but had never been able to use his degree. He’d spent about seven years in the army and now worked thirteen hour shifts for a foreign hotel chain standing around in the blazing Caribbean sun doing very little. On the day I first met him he told me he lived about three miles away and usually used a bicycle to get to work, but his bike had met with some sort of disaster when it was parked up and one wheel had been broken, so now he had to walk because he couldn’t afford a new wheel. I asked how much that was and he shook his head as though it was like asking how much a new car would cost; about $10 he said – in other words a month’s salary. Of course, you never know if these hard-luck stories are genuine, and we came across plenty, but I liked him, and believed him and gave him $10. What the hell? It’s only a couple of pints of beer to me. His eyes nearly popped out of his head.

Another security guard we met was yet another lovely young guy. In another world he might have been a movie star, because he was very good looking – dark Latin skin colouring with dazzling pale blue eyes a la Paul Newman; and he had a lovely gentle way about him. Two English girls staying at our hotel were both in love with him and wanted to take him home. He pointed out to us yet another aspect of the repulsive US sanctions regime – the inability of Cubans to travel. Although there’s no law that stops them travelling, they simply can’t afford to. Cuban passports are very expensive, apparently, and even if you had one you would never have enough money to pay for a foreign trip. This young lad was only twenty, and he positively ached to see the outside world as he had never been away from Cuba, and has no possibility of doing so anytime soon. For most Cubans, the island is effectively a prison.

We wondered about all these security guards. What could they possibly be doing? Our tour guide had told us that petty theft is now a major problem in Cuba, and given the fact that about the only Cubans we saw in our hotel or on the beach were those who worked there we assumed that one of the guards’ jobs is to ensure tourists are not overly inconvenienced by seeing too many Cubans. The same tour guide also said that unemployment was very high in Cuba, and that surprised me – given it’s supposed to be a communist country. I asked her about the ration shop. Apparently every Cuban has an automatic right to receive ration coupons which can be used to buy essentials in the ration shops – but the key word there is “buy”: they must have money to use their coupons. So if someone is unemployed, how do they get money to use their coupons, I wondered. I asked her if the government helps unemployed people find jobs. She said no, the government does nothing, people have to find their own work. I asked how people could pay for their rations then, if they couldn’t find work. She just shrugged her shoulders.

Most people reading these words might say so what? The third world is pretty large; there are billions of people with similar desperate circumstances. That’s true, of course, but here’s the big difference: most of the third world is run by capitalist regimes of one shade or another – you would expect to find horrendous exploitation of the poor, weak and defenceless; but Cuba is supposed to be a communist country where such exploitation is impossible. Of course, the disgusting US sanctions regime has a lot to answer for, but is that the only explanation?

Now I happen to know something about living under sanctions. As a young chap I lived in Rhodesia when economic sanctions were in force from 1965 to 1979. If anything, sanctions actually improved our economy rather than cripple it. The capitulation of the Smith government in 1979 was not because of the effect of trade sanctions, it was because the country could no longer fight the deadly guerrilla war that had been raging all that time. Of course, we felt the effect of shortages of certain goods – oil-based products being the most important of the shortages – but as for the rest of the economy, sanctions definitely helped. They helped because it made the country become more self-sufficient. New industries sprang up and we started manufacturing for ourselves all sorts of products we’d only previously been able to import. In the beginning some of those products were pretty shoddy, but even by 1979 home-produced goods were often as good, and sometimes better, than imports. Now I don’t know enough about Cuba’s natural resources to compare it with Rhodesia’s natural resources, but the question remains: has Cuba really done as much as it could have done to develop its own economy – even with the burden of despicable US sanctions?

The Cuban Revolution – what went wrong?

At the start of the new Cuba, following the successful ousting of Batista, the new revolutionary government definitely had some good ideas about what to do to build a new economy. Che Guevara was prominently placed as Minister of Industry, and then president of the Bank of Cuba; and many of his views and values were faultless.

For example, very early on, in 1960, Che shows a fine understanding of the reality of political economics which, for a medical doctor turned revolutionary is not unimpressive; for he wrote:

What do we Cubans want here? We do not want to live off the sweat of others, but to live off our own sweat. Not to live off the wealth of others, but off our own wealth so that all the material needs of our people are satisfied…In agriculture and industry $300 million will be invested.  ((Ibid. p. 110))

He talks about a loan from the Soviet Union, for a 12 year term at 2.5 per cent interest… for purchasing Soviet goods.”

But shows the crucial difference between this loan and a typical loan from capitalist countries, which would be used to enable foreign countries to exploit Cuba, because, we have now planned to build a big steel plant and an oil refinery, totally national and at the service of the people.”   ((Ibid. p. 107))

Perhaps the most obvious indication given of Che’s clear and accurate vision for the economic development of Cuba, however, is when he wrote:

Work is the most important thing…Without work there is nothing… All the riches in the world, all humanity’s values, are nothing but accumulated work. Without work nothing can exist.

So I wonder how Che would feel if he knew that, half a century later, the Cuban government apparently has nothing in place to help unemployed people find work. Why is it that basic public services – like transport, power and water – are in such a decrepit condition? Why is it that, half a century after the revolution, just about every house we saw in Cuba looks as though it was built by a ten-year-old, and a university/hospital looks like an abandoned unfinished building site? Why is an international airport and the roads in such an appalling condition? Why is it that, half a century later, when western tourists visit the country, there is almost nothing for them to spend their money on bearing the stamp “Made in Cuba”? We can, of course, accurately attribute much of Cuba’s hardship and suffering to the US’ revolting sanctions regime, but I can’t help feeling that much more could have been done by the Cuban authorities.

One day in our hotel I picked up an English language newspaper. It’s titled “The Havana Reporter”. It appears to be a quarterly publication as its edition details read: “Year IV, Number 18, Nov 1 2014.” Most of the front page is given over to an announcement of the 32nd Havanan International Fair. There’s a close-up photograph of a handshake; one hand is brown (presumably symbolising a Cuban hand) and the other is white (presumably symbolising a western hand). Both hands emerge from the sleeves of smart white double-cuffed shirts and dark jackets. Inside the paper one and a half pages are given over to articles about the trade fair where attracting foreign investment is clearly the main purpose, as one piece begins:  “The creation of the Mariel Special Development Zone and the passing last March of a new Foreign Investment Law means that there are excellent investment opportunities in Cuba.”

And another article closes with: “The Ministry of Industry expects affirmative expressions of interest from foreign companies regarding investments in key sectors such as container manufacture and other important areas, including the agro-industrial, chemical and iron and streel industries.”

Pleading with western corporations to consider Cuba as an investment opportunity inevitably requires Cuba to offer up its labour force at a cheaper price than can be obtained in Asia and the Far East and Central America. Given that Cuban teachers only earn about £8 a month, you can see the logic of the proposition; but I wonder if copying the horrendous sweat-shop model of “enterprise zones” that blight much of the third world is the best thing for Cuba and the Cuban people. I wonder what Che would think. I wonder what Che would think of the state’s position that the best hope of work for Cubans is the possibility that western corporations might be attracted to the proposition of exploiting Cuban labour and natural resources cheaper than they can do in Asia and the Far East, or Central America.

The principle of “attracting foreign investment” trips off the tongue easily, because it’s repeated so very often in the capitalist west – but the principle is fundamentally flawed. It’s obviously useful, in the existing global economy, for most nations to be well stocked with foreign currencies – especially the currencies of the powerful nations. However, the best way of obtaining those currencies is not to allow powerful foreign nations easy opportunities to exploit people and resources in return for a few crumbs off their table, but for a nation to produce for itself things other nations want to buy. Che clearly understood this well, for he wrote,

What was our idea? To save and save, especially our foreign exchange, to develop our own industry. It replaced the idea of importing private capital… Private foreign capital is not motivated by generosity; it’s not motivated by an act of noble charity; it’s not motivated by the desire to reach the people. Foreign capital is motivated by the desire to help itself… What motivates private foreign capital is not generosity but profit.  ((Ibid p. 110))

So what went wrong?

In my view the Cuban Revolution was in big trouble even before it got going – not because of any weakness in the aims of its leaders, but because the powerful western nations were never going to leave Cuba alone for long enough to develop. If the revolutionary leaders anticipated that reaction, and I’m sure they did, their preparation for how to deal with it was possibly inadequate. Cuba in 1960 was, as Che recognised at the time, the threat of a good example; and that could never be allowed to happen – hence the imposition of the vicious and vindictive US trade sanctions and economic blockades that continue to this day, even in the teeth of global opposition to Washington’s position. But that was not the only serious problem.

Although Che clearly knew what he was doing, and was largely right, there were precious few others who were similarly enlightened and motivated. It wasn’t hard for the tiny handful of Granma survivors to quickly win the support of Cuban peasants, as the peasants had plenty to feel aggrieved about and would have supported anyone who offered a chance to ease their lives. So there was a plentiful supply of willing volunteers to help overthrow Batista; but many of these people couldn’t read, so their level of education was seriously lacking and meant they had little idea of what sort of government should replace Batista’s once it fell.

Che, of course, understood this very well which is why one of the first objectives of the new revolutionary junta was to ensure the whole of Cuba’s population learnt how to read. Che knew that education was vital, education that needed to be acquired everywhere – and quickly.

One of the devices used for this massive and hasty education programme was the cadre. Che explains,

A cadre is an individual who has achieved sufficient political development to be able to interpret the larger directives emanating from the central authority… someone who knows and practices democratic centralism… knows how to practice the principle of collective discussion and individual decision making and responsibility. He is an individual of proven loyalty, whose physical and moral courage has developed in step with his ideological development.  ((Ibid. p.154))

Che wrote those words in 1962, but I’m guessing there weren’t enough Cubans qualified to meet those standards because just a year later Che is showing signs of frustration that there are problems with the administrative machinery of the new Cuba. Referring presumably to these self-same cadres tasked with administration, whom he now calls “administrative guerrillas”, he writes:

The fields of action of these ‘administrative guerrillas’ clashed among themselves, producing constant friction, orders and counter-orders, and different interpretations of the laws. This reached the point, in some cases, of state institutions countering laws by issuing their own dictates in the form of decrees, ignoring the central administrative apparatus.  ((Ibid. p. 178))

So it appears that confusion and chaos was beginning to set in, an impression that is reinforced later in the same article:

Concrete measures must be taken to streamline the state apparatus, in such a way as to establish the strict central control that enables the leadership to have in its hands the keys to the economy while also releasing initiative as much as possible… ((Ibid. p. 181))

How does one have “strict central control” at the same time as “releasing initiative”?

In other words, three or four years into the revolution it seems that it has lost direction and clarity.

Even though there were clearly problems at home, Che had already started his career as an international revolutionary, spreading the revolutionary message as far and wide as he could. A year later he relinquished all official duties in Cuba – presumably to spend all his time promoting revolution abroad. A couple of years later the inevitable happened, and Che was murdered by the Bolivian army, with the complicity of the CIA.

The Fidel Factor

For some years Fidel Castro has been something of a hero of mine – just as he is for millions of others. This globally recognisable leader of long-standing resistance to US imperialism is clearly admirable. But now I’ve actually visited the country and seen the conditions in which so many ordinary Cubans live, nagging doubts have materialised in my mind. I expect to see those conditions in countries run by capitalists: exploitation of the weak is an essential part of the capitalist model; but I do not expect to see it in a communist country. I’ve worked on a kibbutz: I know how communism is supposed to work. So now I have to wonder about Fidel. Is he, I now ask myself, another Nelson Mandela – an important revolutionary leader when a revolution needed to be fought but, once in power, seemingly oblivious to the hardships of his own people, or incapable of addressing them?

I mean, for the best part of thirty years following the ousting of Batista, Cuba was far from isolated. It could and did trade with the Soviet Union and its satellites. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989 was a crushing blow for Cuba, but why was it so devastating? Cuba had had thirty years to find its feet with Soviet support, to create the ability to be self-sufficient as Che clearly wanted, so why did it fail to do so? Rhodesia largely managed it (with South African support) within fifteen years, so why didn’t Cuba? Castro supposedly had to fend off repeated attacks against himself by the US, and one significant but botched attempted invasion, but otherwise the internal security of Cuba was never a serious problem. Rhodesia had to endure a deadly civil war for fifteen years and, except for oil, still managed to build a fairly sell-sufficient economy. So what happened to the sound economic principles that Che had in the early sixties and surely tried to put in place? What happened to Che’s ideas for self-sufficiency and the vital importance of work? Why, fifty five years on, are soap, toothpaste and toilet paper still deemed luxuries in Cuba? Why are biologists idling their lives away as security guards protecting foreign hotel chains against the intrusion of their fellow Cubans? Why, in a supposedly communist country, is there massive unemployment at the same time as the need for vastly better public services is obvious to anyone? How much is the shameful sanctions regime being used as an excuse and a distraction for the failures and shortcomings of Cuba’s leadership? And how much of the failure to ask these questions is because of the awe with which Fidel Castro is held – as Mandela was too?

Time for a new Revolution?

In my view it seems that the Cuban revolution lacked from the beginning a clear strategy of what it would do once Batista was overthrown. A handful of its leaders had very sound ideological values, but no obvious plan for the practical details of what needed to happen once they assumed power. Che obviously understood the importance of education, and had sound notions of how the Cuban economy should develop, but I suspect there were far too few like him; and once he left Cuba, soon to be murdered, the vital direction that he could possibly have provided was lost forever.

In my view, and possibly Che’s too, the communist model of a rigid centralised economy was workable, but less than perfect (Che mentioned strict central control and released initiative in the same breath – which is possibly the core difference between communism and anarchism).

In my view, what Cuba most definitely does not need are “affirmative expressions of interest from foreign companies regarding investments”. This suggests to me the very real danger of Cuba slipping into the same lethal trap that has blighted so many other third world economies. The fact that sizeable foreign corporations are already well-established in Cuba in the shape of giant hotel chains such as the one where we stayed would be enough, I think, to have worried Che some years ago. I think what Cuba really needs is another Che Guevara – but then so too does the rest of the world.

However, even more important than another Che, is another plan. Iconic human leaders are sometimes all very well, but they’re obviously mortal, fragile and vulnerable to all sorts of attacks from the enemies they inevitably attract. Good ideas are much harder to eliminate.

Many revolutions fizzle out because their leaders have no clear strategy for what to do once they win. The best example of this in recent times was the wonderful Occupy movement. All around the world millions of people showed their rage at our great trusted leaders. All knew what they were against, but few knew what they were for, or had a workable plan for how to utilise the incredible energy of Occupy.

So more important than another Che is another plan, another plan that is learnt, understood and supported by the people – be they African, Asian, European, American… or Cuban.

John Andrews is a writer and political activist based in England. His latest booklet is entitled EnMo Economics. Other Non-Fiction books by John are: The People's Constitution (2018 Edition); and The School of Kindness (2018 Edition); and his historical novel The Road to Emily Bay Read other articles by John.