Tiffany A. Sippial: Cuba’s New Economic Policies: Event Horizon or Business as Usual?

In my opinion, the most interesting topic for discussion is not that Cubans are finally embracing private enterprise, but rather that the new legislation will surely change the existing face of private enterprise on the island. Talk to Cubans about the new business, property, and internet reform measures and you are less likely to hear them marveling at the wonders of capitalism than to hear them debate the variety of state-imposed taxes that often leave them with only a few CUC (Cuban Convertible Pesos that carry a 1:1 exchange rate with the U.S. dollar) at the end of each month.

Tiffany A. Sippial: The 26th of July Movement: Remembering Failure, Celebrating Victory

Not only were the rebels young (“just like us” my students find themselves saying), but they actually failed. Government snipers shot many of the young rebels on sight, and those who survived were charged with treason and imprisoned on the Isle of Pines. In a surprising plot twist, however, the audacious Cuban rebels recast their military failure as a propaganda victory by claiming the date of the attack as the name of their movement—the 26th of July Movement (M-26-7).