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The ecological transformation of Cuba


Faced with an extremely difficult economic situation following the loss of its major trade relations, a tightened U. S. blockade, and a world recession, Cuba has taken major steps towards building an ecological society. The major change in the orientation of development strategy that is now taking place requires a complex analysis that includes such long term general factors as the socialist commitment to developing science, the absence of a sector that profits from high tech agriculture or environmental degradation, and a receptivity to Marxist analysis of science combined with the development of a self confident and articulate ecological community and shorter term changes associated with “rectification”, a political swing to the left, and the present “Special Period”. Ecologists by conviction are joined by ecologists by necessity in introducing emergency measures that they hope will become permanent features of Cuban Society.

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Additional information

Richard Levins is a former farmer in Puerto Rico turned ecologist and mathematical biologist, author ofEvolution in Changing Environments and coauthor with Richard Lewontin ofThe Dialectical Biologist and with Yrjö Haila ofHumanity and Nature. He has been working with Cuban ecology since the 1960s, and teaches at the New York Marxist School and Harvard School of Public Health.

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Levins, R. The ecological transformation of Cuba. Agric Hum Values 10, 52–60 (1993).

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  • Environmental Degradation
  • Economic Situation
  • Agricultural Economic
  • Ecological Community
  • Special Period