Australian
Screen

an NFSA website

Fond Memories of Cuba (2002)

A video which normally appears on this page did not load because the Flash plug-in was not found on your computer. You can download and install the free Flash plug-in then view the video. Or you can view the same video as a downloadable MP4 file without installing the Flash plug-in.

Email a link to this page
To:
CC:
Subject:
Body:
clip Food rations in Cuba education content clip 2, 3

This clip chosen to be PG

Clip description

An older man in the street says socialism has ensured that the people don’t starve. Basic food is available to all citizens. No other South American country can claim this. Fidel Castro is a hero to the older Cubans.

Teacher’s notes

provided by The Le@rning FederationEducation Services Australia

This clip shows an older Cuban man wheeling a television along the street in a wheelbarrow. As he walks, he talks to an interviewer (who is offscreen) about how 'the revolution feeds us’. The conversation, conducted in Spanish, has been translated into English subtitles. Shots of people queuing for food are shown as a narrator (filmmaker David Bradbury) describes the scarcity of basic foods in Cuba. These shots are followed by a scene in a fruit market, with a voice-over by the Cuban man. On camera, the man expresses his belief that although life is difficult, better times are bound to come. He refers to President Fidel Castro as being 'like a God to us’.

Educational value points

  • The island of Cuba is situated 240 km south of Key West in Florida, and was claimed for Spain by Christopher Columbus in 1492. Cuba remained a Spanish colony until the US–Spanish War of 1898. Cuban independence was granted in 1902 and its communist revolution took place in 1959.
  • The voice-over and the narration include references to the Cuban communist revolution and President Castro. Fidel Castro (1927–) trained and practised as a lawyer in Havana, often representing victims of the corrupt, US-backed regime of President Fulgencio Batista. Increasingly drawn to revolutionary action, Castro was involved in two unsuccessful insurrections. By 1959 large numbers of Cubans were ready to support the revolutionaries against the increasingly corrupt police state, and a full-scale popular revolution broke out. Batista fled the country and the communists under Castro took power later that year.
  • The clip focuses on the food situation in Cuba in 2002. For more than 40 years the USA has imposed an embargo on trade with Cuba in order to put economic pressure on its government. When the embargo was first put in place, Cuba, as a communist country and friend of the former Soviet Union, was seen as an enemy of the USA. This 'blockade’, as Cuba calls it, was historically offset by the economic support Cuba received from the Soviet Union. However, with the economic decline of the Soviet Union in the 1980s, followed by its dissolution in 1991, this support ceased and food rationing, which was first imposed in Cuba in 1962, is now tightly regulated.
  • Two very different perspectives on Cuba are presented. The filmmaker juxtaposes the older man’s proud optimism (exemplified in his belief that things will get better, his admiration for Castro and his differentiation between poverty and 'abject’ poverty) with the visual evidence of poor living standards and decaying infrastructure.
  • Two achievements of the communist regime are free health care and free education for all Cubans; the resultant increase in life expectancy is specifically mentioned in the clip. According to the CIA World Factbook, Cuba has an infant mortality rate of 6 per 1,000, a literacy rate of 97 per cent and an average life expectancy of 77 years. This compares favourably with nearby countries such as Mexico (21 per 1,000, 92 per cent and 74 years) and Brazil (30 per 1,000, 86 per cent and 71 years).
  • Fond Memories of Cuba is a documentary by Australian filmmaker David Bradbury (1951–). Bradbury’s work is characterised by his choice of politically challenging subject matter. He has covered the 1974 Spring Revolution in Portugal, the overthrow of the Greek military junta (also in 1974), the final days of the Shah of Iran, covert CIA involvement in Nicaragua against the Sandinistas, and life under Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship in Chile. He has twice been nominated for Academy Awards for Best Documentary, for Frontline (1981) and Chile: Hasta Cuando? (1986).

This clip starts approximately 15 minutes into the documentary.

A Cuban man wheels a television along the street in a wheelbarrow. He is interviewed by filmmaker David Bradbury via a translator. His responses are subtitled on screen.
Man It feeds us.
Translator What does it feed you?
Man Well, it gives us all the food we need. We get a lot of food, a lot of fruit, a lot of meat. We don’t have any hardship. We’re not living in abject poverty.

Filmmaker David Bradbury narrates over various shots of food rations being distributed.
David The state still guarantees every Cuban a basic food ration every month, but it’s not enough to fill the belly. Still, no-one starves in Cuba. That’s a proud boast no other South American country can make.

Various shots of people shopping at a market. The older man continues to be interviewed.
Man The revolution has done a lot for the poor. There are few countries like this. This country has an average life expectancy of 60 to 70. I’m 73 now and I’d eat like a lion if you put it in front of me at the right time. (Laughs). I’d better get going. I have to go quite far. Transport is very scarce and expensive these days. So no one can afford to spend a lot of money on it. We do it out of necessity, but better times will come. There’s a man who is like God to us…Fidel!

Thanks to the generosity of the rights holders, we are able to offer Food rations in Cuba from the documentary Fond Memories of Cuba as a high quality video download.

To play the downloadable video, you need QuickTime 7.0, VLC, or similar.

You must read and agree to the following terms and conditions before downloading the clip:

australianscreen is produced by the National Film and Sound Archive. By using the website you agree to comply with the terms and conditions described elsewhere on this site. The NFSA may amend the 'Conditions of Use’ from time to time without notice.

All materials on the site, including but not limited to text, video clips, audio clips, designs, logos, illustrations and still images, are protected by the Copyright Laws of Australia and international conventions.

When you access australianscreen you agree that:

  • You may retrieve materials for information only.
  • You may download materials for your personal use or for non-commercial educational purposes, but you must not publish them elsewhere or redistribute clips in any way.
  • You may embed the clip for non-commercial educational purposes including for use on a school intranet site or a school resource catalogue.
  • The National Film and Sound Archive’s permission must be sought to amend any information in the materials, unless otherwise stated in notices throughout the Site.

All other rights reserved.

ANY UNAUTHORISED USE OF MATERIAL ON THIS SITE MAY RESULT IN CIVIL AND CRIMINAL LIABILITY.

This clip is available in the following configurations:

File nameSizeQualitySuitability
fondmemo2_pr.mp4 Large: 11.9MB High Optimised for full-screen display on a fast computer.
fondmemo2_bb.mp4 Medium: 5.6MB Medium Can be displayed full screen. Also suitable for video iPods.

Right-click on the links above to download video files to your computer.

Thanks to the generosity of the rights holders, we are able to offer this clip in an embeddable format for personal or non-commercial educational use in full form on your own website or your own blog.

You must read and agree to the following terms and conditions before embedding the clip:

australianscreen is produced by the National Film and Sound Archive. By using the website you agree to comply with the terms and conditions described elsewhere on this site. The NFSA may amend the 'Conditions of Use’ from time to time without notice.

All materials on the site, including but not limited to text, video clips, audio clips, designs, logos, illustrations and still images, are protected by the Copyright Laws of Australia and international conventions.

When you access australianscreen you agree that:

  • You may retrieve materials for information only.
  • You may download materials for your personal use or for non-commercial educational purposes, but you must not publish them elsewhere or redistribute clips in any way.
  • You may embed the clip for non-commercial educational purposes including for use on a school intranet site or a school resource catalogue.
  • The National Film and Sound Archive’s permission must be sought to amend any information in the materials, unless otherwise stated in notices throughout the Site.

All other rights reserved.

ANY UNAUTHORISED USE OF MATERIAL ON THIS SITE MAY RESULT IN CIVIL AND CRIMINAL LIABILITY.

Copy and paste the following code into your own web page to embed this clip: