Main content

Cuba: The Accidental Revolution - Pt. 2

In Health Care System we learn that Cuba has been blockaded since 1961, but today Cuba has the highest quality of life in the region, the highest life expectancy, and one of the highest literacy rates in all of Latin America.

With the collapse of the Soviet Bloc, Cuba lost the foreign exchange needed to pay for expensive drugs and medicines. As a result, much of Cuba's medicine today is based on medicinal plants. These are grown on farms, processed in small labs and made available to patients through an extensive network of medical clinics. Today Cuba's advances in alternative medicine could have important consequences for other countries around the world.

Cuba boasts other firsts as well: The Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in Havana is regarded as the flagship biosciences lab in the developing world. Cuban scientists are working on an HIV vaccine, a meningitis vaccine, a Hepatitis C vaccine, and other pharmaceuticals.

Cuba has also embarked on a program of medical internationalism. There are 25,000 Cuba doctors serving in 68 poor countries around the world. The Latin American School of Medical Science has 10,000 students from developing countries primarily in Latin America and the Caribbean. They are educated for free with the understanding they will return to their home countries to practice.

'Anyone interested in ecologically sustainable development and humanity's future in the context of depleting resources in the 20th Century will find this documentary thought provoking.' Gregory Biniowsky, Canadian Development and the Environment Consultant living in Cuba

'If necessity is the mother of invention, then this vivid and beautifully filmed documentary shows how the Cuban people have faced adversity and austerity with a dogged inventiveness since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the start of the 'special period' beginning in 1990. The film will be especially useful and instructive for viewers looking to solve the riddle of how Cuba has survived a depression-like upheaval while struggling to maintain enviable standards of social security for its people.' Ted Henken, Ph.D., Sociology Department, Baruch College and Board Member, Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy

'Engaging, substantive....Both parts of this visually pleasing documentary would make an superior accompaniment to print materials in classes on Caribbean history, international health or social welfare.' Dr. Holly Ackerman, International and Area Studies Department, Duke University Libraries


Main credits

Burley, Ray (film director)
Burley, Ray (film producer)
Burley, Ray (screenwriter)
Suzuki, David T. (narrator)

Other credits

Editor, Bruce Annis; director of photography, Milan Klepl; original music, Carlos Lopes.

Docuseek subjects

Distributor subjects

Central America/The Caribbean
Developing World
Food And Nutrition
Global Issues
International Studies
Latin American Studies
Political Science
Social Psychology
Sustainable Development


economic crisis, US embargo, Cuban health system, blockade, quality of life, life expectancy, literacy rate, Soviet Union, Soviet Bloc, Cuba, foreign exchange, medicinal plants, medical clinics, alternative medicine, Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, biosciences, HIV vaccine, meningitis vaccine, hepatiitis C vaccine, pharmaceuticals, Latin American School of Medical Science; "Cuba: The Accidental Revolution - Pt. 2"; Bullfrog Films

Related Films

Cuba: The Accidental Revolution - Pt. 1

Examines Cuba's response to the food crisis created by the collapse of…