MIAMI, FLA. — The American Bill of Rights has not exactly inspired recent Cuban political thought. After 32 years of unrelenting hostility between the United States and Cuba, with contacts at a bare minimum, this should not be surprising. Yet, the famous 10 amendments have had an indirect--and unintended--influence on Cuban political thinking. The vehicle: American popular art.
Why has the Cuban government permitted the dissemination of film, literature, music and theater produced in the "enemy" nation? I believe there are two fundamental reasons. First, a large share of American literature and theater is profoundly critical of the evils of American society. To the extent that American entertainment also reflects the "evil empire" 90 miles away, it is convenient propaganda for a regime in need of a bad guy.
Second, Cubans, in their sense of humor, of drama, of rhythm, perceive the world much as Americans do. As a result, the entertainment arriving from the old communist world to replace traditional American fare was rejected by the public. In the end, popular demand prevailed--and thus the door was thrown open to let in freedom's air.
"The Big Knife" showed us the decadence of Hollywood. "The Crucible" demonstrated that horrendous political persecutions had been carried out during the heyday of the the House Committee on Un-American Activities. A novel, such as "The Naked and the Dead," might expose the class-consciousness and insensitivity of U.S. Army officers.