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“A complicated political-ideological situation.” Transfering a cement plant from Dessau/GDR to Nuevitas/Cuba

“Une situation politique et idéologique compliquée.” Transplanter une cimenterie de Dessau (RDA) à Nuevitas (Cuba)
Juliane Richter
Traduction(s) :
„Eine komplizierte politisch-ideologische Situation.“ Eine Reise von Dessau/DDR nach Nuevitas/Kuba [de]
“Una complicada situación político-ideológica.” Traslado de una fábrica de cemento de Dessau/RDA a Nuevitas/Cuba [es]

Texte intégral

This article presents a written report of a journey that a member of the SED party organization from the Dessau-based VEB Zementanlagenbau (ZAB) and a high-ranking engineer undertook to Nuevitas, Cuba, in 1968, where the ZAB built a cement plant. The trip was ostensibly to attend the opening of the cement plant—but the real reason was a “complicated political-ideological situation” at the construction site. Starting with the report, I will illuminate the background of these events, a source of much irritation for the GDR-delegation. As socialist globalization aimed at an alternative form of economic integration and political alliance-building, this construction project is one example that led to new links between socialist and postcolonial states. The report gives a lively insight into a conflict that accompanied the implementation of GDR expert knowledge in Cuba and, more generally, “development aid through architecture.” It also reveals divergent and unforeseen, unintended patterns of interpretation, diverse agenda setting and appropriation processes which accompanied national and global interdependencies.

  • 1 Merseburg (Germany). Landesarchiv Sachsen-Anhalt (LASA), P516, Nr. 6527, Bl 1. Report on the trip (...)

1In April and May 1968, two leading employees of the VEB Zementanlagenbau (ZAB) in Dessau travelled from the GDR to Nuevitas, Cuba. ZAB Dessau was in the middle of building a cement plant near the small Cuban town in the province of Camagüey in the East of the country. The reason for the trip was the commissioning of the first kiln line of the plant, but the main purpose was to check “contradictory reports and messages” about a “complicated political-ideological and technical situation” at the construction site in Nuevitas.1 Even the embassy counsellor for political issues on site, Dieter Kulitzka, as well as the trade counsellor of the GDR in Havana, Otto Schreiber, had not been informed about the goings on either by the Cuban staff or by the German engineers on the construction site, but received their information mainly from the Cuban press. On site, the visitors were presented with an unexpected and impressive picture: banners hung all over the construction site, slogans had been painted and guerrilla camps had been set up. The site manager from Dessau was completely overworked because, it was said, he had worked hundreds of hours of unpaid overtime at the plant. What had happened and how could this situation have come about?

2A 12-page travel-report by S. Z., secretary of the SED-Betriebsparteiorganisation (BPO, plant party organization) of the Dessau VEB Zementanlagenbau (cement plant), and R. F., senior engineer of the company, provides significant information. Through this quasi-official, quasi-travelogue account, I would like to present a genre of archival source that allows me to take a close-up look at the historical layers in connection with the planning and transfer of construction services from the GDR to Cuba. I will henceforth use the term “travel-report” to refer to it, as a type of handy shorthand for a hybrid, in-between textual genre that in many ways defies set categories. The source is also exceptional because it has “rarity-value” compared to other written documents in the archives and, moreover, vividly describes a situation “on the ground” and thus the local circumstances of the global circulation of objects and personnel.

Figure 1a: Report on the trip carried out from 25 April to 11 May 1968 to Nuevitas, Cuba.

Figure 1a: Report on the trip carried out from 25 April to 11 May 1968 to Nuevitas, Cuba.

Source: Merseburg (Germany), Landesarchiv Sachsen-Anhalt (LASA), P516, Nr. 6527.

Figure 1b: Report on the trip carried out from 25 April to 11 May 1968 to Nuevitas, Cuba.

Figure 1b: Report on the trip carried out from 25 April to 11 May 1968 to Nuevitas, Cuba.

Source: Merseburg (Germany), Landesarchiv Sachsen-Anhalt (LASA), P516, Nr. 6527.

Figure 1c: Report on the trip carried out from 25 April to 11 May 1968 to Nuevitas, Cuba.

Figure 1c: Report on the trip carried out from 25 April to 11 May 1968 to Nuevitas, Cuba.

Source: Merseburg (Germany), Landesarchiv Sachsen-Anhalt (LASA), P516, Nr. 6527.

  • 2 PHD project “Construction projects of the GDR in Cuba” within the research training group “Identit (...)

3In the research for my dissertation project, which examines the transfer processes of architectural projects and the circulation of knowledge between the GDR and Cuba in the period from 1960 to 1991,2 I come across very diverse archival material and files: in the German Federal Archives and in the archives of the federal states, I find intergovernmental agreements and contracts; letters between the SED district management, the ministries and company employees as well as those responsible on the building site; telegrams, certificates, minutes of contract negotiations and advertising brochures. As an architectural historian who rarely finds the “classic” archival material (such as photos, plans, explanatory reports), I look for ways to make the sources speak, for example, by means of interviews with contemporary witnesses (which, unfortunately, I cannot conduct with Cubans now due to the pandemic), but also by means of micro-histories, such as the one this travel-report narrates.

  • 3 Birgit Wolf, Sprache in der DDR. Ein Wörterbuch, Berlin: De Gruyter, 2000, p. 26.
  • 4 The BPO also directed propagandist activity, which is why the company newspaper and radio were und (...)

4The source I discuss here is located in Fonds P516, assigned to the SED-Bezirksleitung (district leadership of the state party) within the Saxony-Anhalt State Archive (Landesarchiv Sachsen-Anhalt, LASA). It is introduced by a short accompanying letter addressed to the SED district leadership in Halle and is not explained any further beyond that. There are no other materials in the folder. Responses to the letter cannot be drawn from the files either and questions on this must therefore remain open. The fact that the file is assigned to the SED district leadership requires an explanation: the travel guide S. Z. (who cannot be named here due to German data protection regulations), was the secretary of the Betriebsparteiorganisation (BPO) at the VEB Zementanlagenbau Dessau plant. The BPO was one of the “Basisorganisationen” (core organizations) of the SED which could be found in all factories and scientific and state institutions in the GDR and represented a fundamental means of control and exercise of power by the SED. The company party secretary of the BPO (thus also the author of the travel-report) “was the real power center of the company,”3 because he was directly subordinate to the SED district leadership and received guidelines from it, which he enforced vis-à-vis the factory management.4 The fact that this high-ranking company official went on the long journey to Cuba together with a senior engineer from the ZAB thus testifies to the high political urgency to investigate matters at the Cuban construction site.

5What can be concluded from the travel-report about the conditions, contexts, difficulties and (divergent) expectations of the process of knowledge transfer of the construction project? How did the cement plant come to embody particular meanings and which local agency posed challenges and even resistance to the travellers from the GDR? Do the irritations that we discern in the report also testify to divergent visions of industrialization and modernization on the part of the two partners?

The SED’s reporting system in the context of the foreign cadre system

  • 5 Travelling cadres are official travellers who travel for up to 6 months to the NSW (non-socialist (...)
  • 6 See Stefan Wolle, „Das System der Reisekader als Instrument der DDR- Wissenschaftspolitik,“ op. ci (...)
  • 7 Ibid., p. 1641-1642.

6If one considers the form of the travel-report―a continuous text of several pages outlining the chronology of events, partly reproducing the wording of speeches by Cuban functionaries and supplemented by translations of articles from the Cuban (party) daily press―one hardly finds much conformity to the “classic” mission report that a GDR travel cadre typically had to prepare after a mission abroad.5 The principles and procedures of the travel cadre system, including its reporting system, were regulated in detail in the resolution of 8 April 1965 passed by the Council of Ministers of the GDR on the “Travel of Citizens of the GDR to Non-Socialist Foreign Countries, West Germany and West Berlin.” This system was valid in a modified form until 1989 and also applied to travel to the socialist states of Cuba, Albania and Yugoslavia.6 In addition to the less extensive immediate report, which the cadres had to hand in three days after their return together with a form, there was a final report due after one month.7

  • 8 Ibid. p. 1641; Jens Niederhut, Die Reisekader. Auswahl und Disziplinierung einer privilegierten Mi (...)

7According to the order, the structure and content of the reports were precisely regulated: logistical aspects and procedures of the preparation and route of the trip, events at the border crossing, all contacts, assessment of the effectiveness of the trip, references to complaints and quality deficiencies, special events such as provocations, bribery (gifts), recruitment attempts, but also comments on political conditions in the host country were to be stated.8

  • 9 See Sascha Rafalzik, Wirtschaftsspionage der DDR, op. cit. (note 5), p. 29.

8All these characteristics do not apply to the present report from Cuba, which is therefore to be read rather as a kind of an informal account which describes the events in the brother state Cuba in terms of their political significance. The actual purpose of the trip, namely, to attend the opening of the factory, is mentioned only in passing. The explosive nature of the events can be seen from the fact that the report was addressed to the SED district administration and was certainly passed on from there to higher administrative levels. It was common knowledge that the travel cadres’ reports were also sent to the Ministry for State Security of the GDR.9

The GDR builds in the Global South: A cement plant for Cuba

  • 10 See Johanna Bockman, “Socialist Globalization against Capitalist Neocolonialism. The Economic Idea (...)
  • 11 A. N. Glinkin, „Die Zusammenarbeit mit der UDSSR und anderen sozialistischen Ländern in ihrer Bede (...)
  • 12 Michael Zeuske, Insel der Extreme. Kuba im 20. und 21. Jahrhundert, (3rd ed.), Zürich: Rotpunktver (...)
  • 13 Juan de las Cuevas Toraya, 500 años de construcciones en Cuba, Madrid: Chavin, 2001, p. 295; Dessa (...)

9As projects of socialist globalization aimed at alternative economic integration in competition with “capitalist globalization,”10 until the mid-1980s, about 50 industrial exports were made from the GDR to Cuba. These could be complete factories including the structural shell or modernization measures on existing factories, but also individual machines including assembly instructions and training of the local workforce.11 The cement plant 26 de Julio in Nuevitas was one of the first construction projects that the GDR was to supply to Cuba after a trade and credit agreement was concluded between the two countries in 1960.12 The contract for the cement plant between the foreign trade companies and the exporting companies of the GDR and Cuba was signed on 29 April 1961.13 In addition to the plant with a total capacity of 600 tons of cement/day, including packaging and transport from the overseas port of Rostock, it included the training of Cuban workers in the cement plant at Karsdorf in the GDR, which was similar in size and design to the plant in Cuba. However, the start of construction was delayed because the renegotiations of the contract dragged on until 1966. It was not until 1972 that the last of the three kilns was put into operation.

Figure 2a: Cement plant in Nuevitas, 1974.

Figure 2a: Cement plant in Nuevitas, 1974.

Source: Berlin (Germany), DDR Bildarchiv, Licence 97731998360c9051. Photos by Klaus Morgenstern.

Figure 2b: Cement plant in Nuevitas, 1974.

Figure 2b: Cement plant in Nuevitas, 1974.

Source: Berlin (Germany), DDR Bildarchiv, Licence 97731998360c9051. Photos by Klaus Morgenstern.

  • 14 Juan de las Cuevas Toraya, 500 años de construcciones en Cuba, op. cit. (note 13), p. 116.
  • 15 Ibid., p. 295.
  • 16 Ibid., p. 405.
  • 17 Jiri Kosta and Wolfgang Quaisser, „Sozialistische Entwicklungswege. Strategien und Ergebnisse der (...)

10Cement production has a long tradition in Cuba. With the opening of the Fábrica de Cemento CUBA in Havana in 1895, Cuba was the first Latin American country to produce Portland cement and the sixteenth country in the world to do so.14 Until 1958, another four cement plants were built in Cuba, mostly operated by U.S. companies. After the Cuban Revolution, three cement plants still existed. Efforts to build a cement industry in the Nuevitas area began in the 1920s: in 1920, the U.S. Lone Star Corporation carried out geological surveys in Nuevitas Bay15; in the late 1920s, International Cement designed a project for a plant, but it was not implemented.16 When the demand for building materials increased dramatically with the housing programs and industrialization plans of the new government after 1959―which until 1963 was mainly striving for import substitution, diversification and the development of heavy industry―the old plans were taken up.17 At the place then known as Bufadero in the bay of Nuevitas, the plant was to be built, now with the support of the socialist states.

The Cuban “Great Leap:” The “Revolutionary Offensive”

11With the help of the report, it is possible to imagine ourselves in the spring of 1968: after arriving in Havana, the delegation from the GDR decided to set off for the eastern province of Camagüey to the industrial construction site in Nuevitas, together with the embassy counsellor Dieter Kulitzka, in order to “immediately [...] mobilize [...] the GDR colleagues on the construction site [...] and determine the necessary conclusions.” (sheet 2)

  • 18 Michael Zeuske, Insel der Extreme, op. cit. (note 12), p. 208.
  • 19 Ibid., p. 205. See Oscar Espinosa Chepe, “La ofensiva revolucionaria de 1968, 44 años después. Cua (...)
  • 20 Michael Zeuske, Insel der Extreme, op. cit. (note 12), p. 195-210. Raimund Krämer, Der alte Mann u (...)

12At this point, the rapporteur addresses the current political situation in Cuba. This, at the end of the 1960s, was entirely dominated by the “Revolutionary Offensive,” guided by the idea of overcoming the capitalist mode of production based on the merit principle, voluntary, unpaid work motivated by moral incentives was to pave the way to a communist society in Cuba and at the same time fuel the urgently needed economic upswing. The “heroic phase”18 of the revolution was coming to an end, the economic consequences of the expropriation of large companies and landowners and the embargo by the USA, coupled with economic experiments by the new government and a restrictive policy, including the persecution of critics (these could be intellectuals, political dissidents, but also homosexuals), led to a lack of supplies, dissatisfaction among the population, refusal to work and prisoner strikes. The “Revolutionary Offensive” was launched by Fidel Castro and was directed against the last remaining private small and micro businesses: manufactories, shops and restaurants were nationalized and for a brief while there was even the possibility of abolishing money. Historian Michael Zeuske notes that it was “basically [...] an attempt to revive the revolution in the manner of a ‛Great Leap,’ a mobilization for economic goals, [which] went hand in hand with the sacralization of the figure of Che.”19 It is no coincidence that the name Great Revolutionary Offensive is reminiscent of Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution, as Havana and Beijing were far closer to each other politically at the time than Cuba and the Soviet Union.20

13The consequence, however, was, among other things, a supply crisis, the effects of which did not go unnoticed by the visitors of the GDR as can be seen from the travel-report: “Everywhere in the streets large queues of buyers can be seen, queuing for bread and organizing the most necessary subsistence.” (sheet 4)

Beyond the cement plant: industrial construction site as guerrilla factory

14These national developments had an immediate impact on the construction site, because in the run-up to the Revolutionary Offensive, “guerrilla camps” were set up at important industrial construction sites in the country to mobilize workers there―in Nuevitas, too. This was shown visually as well as organizationally by, as the travel-report states, “erecting banners, hanging posters and holding ongoing struggle meetings day and night.” (sheet 6)

15A translation of an article from the Cuban party newspaper Granma attached to the travel-report describes what everyday life was like in a “guerrilla factory:”

  • 21 „Erfüllung eines Sonderplanes in ,Guerilla-Fabrik‘ gesichert,“ Granma, 6 November 1967, attached t (...)

The command post is housed in a tent. The staff is formed by 3 comandantes [...], a political commissar, a staff captain and an aide, two captains with an aide, three lieutenants and two sub-lieutenants. Ngyen Van Troi, Turcios Lima and Patricio Lumumba are the names of the three brigades that have been formed. At the beginning of their activity, all the guerrillas have no rank. [...] An evaluation is carried out every 5 days, according to which promotions are given. Three war correspondents inform about the course of production and take care of propaganda work. The staff issues a communiqué every 24 hours on production, accidents and breaches of discipline. All guerrillas have a numbered pass; they can only leave the camp with a pass. Staff members and guerrillas work as many hours as their strength allows; labourers who are not guerrillas stay in the factory for up to 14 consecutive hours. The guerrillas sleep in a big tent [...]. The party and trade union organizations at all levels and the lead company [...] have helped to ensure that the G. receive their normal rations and have helped to set up the camp.21

16At the same point of time, the Cuban party leadership gradually moved the date of commissioning of the cement plant up to 100 days ahead of the agreed date, so that the first sack of cement could be handed over to the Vietnamese people on 1 May 1968 by Fidel Castro as a gift of solidarity―a symbolic act, which demonstrates how Cuba positioned itself internationally in the South-South solidarity. However, the postponement literally caused sleepless nights for the workers and the assembly collective from the GDR. Construction site manager Günter Hermann allegedly worked 600 hours of unpaid overtime, he and his co-workers constantly took part in consultations and debates, and they were eventually awarded certificates and “traditional uniforms of the victors at Playa Giron” for their efforts (sheet 7).

17It was this supposed “appropriation” of the site manager Günter Hermann by the political aims of the Cubans without consultation with the Dessau parent company, that the reporter S. Z. criticized. He refers to what he calls as “cleverly presented” interview with Hermann in the Granma, which was apparently intended to prove the “correctness of the line” by the Cubans. In the article, Hermann is portrayed as an advocate of voluntary work, formulating it entirely in the style of socialist self-criticism:

  • 22 „Bestarbeiter und Techniker der Zementfabrik Nuevitas auf der Mai-Tribüne,“ Granma, 2 May 1968, at (...)

I understood the political importance of putting the plant into operation on 18 April [...], the [Partido Comunista de Cuba, note J. R.] party explained it to me, I gathered the colleagues, and we all went to work. From that moment on, we didn’t sleep, we worked for the last few days, every operation carried out was counted by the minute, the Cubans worked just like us without a break. Never before had I seen the ball mills filled with balls in less than 10 hours, that is normal, but here in Nuevitas they were filled in exactly one hour and 20 minutes.22

18What Hermann supposedly formulated here as recognition was, on the other hand, interpreted by the GDR delegation as instrumentalization: that the construction site was supposed to be an experiment, which was less about the advance cement production, “but about proving the established thesis that social mobility was only possible on the basis of the development of ideological and moral factors.” In addition, the aim was to create a precedent for “the cooperation of Cuban and foreign specialists [...] in the manner of a business game.” (sheet 7)

19Within such transactional frames sowing the seeds of long-term socialist economic and technological cooperation, the GDR specialists were not expected to volunteer their service towards a local ideological agenda. Alluding also to an element of coercion, the rapporteur referred to there being only “so-called” voluntary deployments.

20But what were the fears behind the rejection of such an “experiment” and where exactly did the GDR’s agenda come into conflict with that of Cuba? To find out, it is not enough to read the source, but to read between the lines of the report as well as to place the events in their historical context.

Disillusioned expectations: Trust, gratitude, and the price of solidarity

21Geo-politically and economically driven construction projects planned for foreign contexts and erected thousands of kilometers away necessarily warranted a great deal of trust: trust in the resources and the reliable management of the partners, in the possibilities of communication and in the assembly collectives on site. This trust was shaken in 1968 in Nuevitas.

  • 23 As report of a contemporary witness in Dietrich Lemke, Cuba, Castro y comercio. 30 Jahre im Dienst (...)
  • 24 On the GDR’s so-called “Fight against the presumption of sole representation” (Kampf gegen die All (...)

22The fact that, according to the reporter’s interpretation, the site manager allowed himself to be instrumentalized by the “Cuban side” harboured technical risks, because the overhasty commissioning of the plant could endanger its functionality. In case of damage, further specialists would have had to be sent to Cuba for repair work, which would have involved further costs. It was also a political question with existential significance for the GDR: a major concern of the GDR leadership in international export trade was that confidence in GDR goods could suffer. The concern was not unfounded. In 1974, Fidel Castro accused Erich Honecker quite bluntly that the machines exported to Cuba were of poor quality and of backward technology.23 Other studies point out that the experts and their goods from the European socialist countries were not always welcome in the Global South. In order to continue to be considered competitive trade partners and―especially under the influence of the Hallstein Doctrine―to act as an independent state on the international stage, it was crucial that the experts from the GDR delivered first-class work and that the trust in their expertise was not disturbed.24

23The trust of the delegation from Dessau in its own staff at the construction site was shaken, too. The travel-report refers several times to the fact that there was dissent in discussions with the GDR construction site management and the party group organizer there. “The political aims and aspects of these Cuban actions were not immediately understood even after prolonged and repeated discussion [with us] and [...] were not recognized to the full extent by the collective,” it says. The reason was seen in the “lack of political experience.” (sheet 9) The travel-report ends with a list of “conclusions.” In order to be able to better control the collective on the construction site, a close-meshed reporting was ordered as well as prior consultations of every statement before the press. Here, since it was not possible to “politically distance oneself from these [Cuban] actions of spontaneity,” i.e. an open lack of support did not seem advisable for tactical reasons, the GDR establishment wanted to argue technically. (sheets 9-12)

  • 25 See Stefan Wolle, „Das System der Reisekader als Instrument der DDR- Wissenschaftspolitik,“ op. ci (...)

24In addition, GDR leaders were concerned about the ideological contagion of their staff abroad. Stefan Wolle shows, in a study on travel cadres, using the example of contacts between academics from the GDR and Poland, that this concern about the surveillance activities of the travel cadres by the SED and the Ministry of State Security did exist. The Polish reform movements were rejected by the GDR government, which feared that GDR academics might be influenced by these thoughts during their stays abroad.25 Such fears may also have played a role in the Cuban case.

  • 26 Dietrich Lemke, Cuba, Castro y Comercio, op. cit. (note 23), p. 233.
  • 27 A look into the Cuban archives would be a necessary extension of the perspective here. However, th (...)

25The files I consulted in the context of my work and the interviews with contemporary witnesses repeatedly reveal that the GDR specialists often distrusted their Cuban partners. They were, in their view, too chaotic, too unreliable in their organizational and working methods as well as in the implementation of their political goals and reforms. Often the Cubans were not described as partners on an equal footing―even though relations in private were quite cordial and even amicable―and complaints were made about late or missing input and allegedly poorly executed planning. Even Erich Honecker countered Fidel Castro in that memorable meeting of 1974 that the Cubans did not maintain the cement factories properly and therefore had a high demand for spare parts.26 At the same time, the travel-report makes it clear that local expertise is not recognized. Only once is the Cuban site manager Diaz mentioned by name, but he does not seem to have played any role in the entire dispute as a negotiating partner at eye level. 27

  • 28 Which is not true, as a multi-page Granma-report of 19 April 1968 under the headline El Futuro es (...)

26Another circumstance struck the rapporteur S. Z.: the GDR’s performance had never been mentioned in Cuban newspapers and public speeches, for example those of Raúl Castro’s on 1 May in Camagüey, or in newspaper reports. If there was any mention at all, it was of “German support.”28 Representational interests of the GDR and expectations of a publicly formulated gratitude for its “gifts” were obviously not sufficiently met.

  • 29 E.g. Compañeros im sozialistischen Amerika, op. cit. (note 12), see also contemporary productions o (...)

27The visitors were irritated because Cuba was quite obviously pursuing its own local agenda here, linking heroic history, industrial modernization and guerrilla struggle with factory work without emphasizing the project's genesis and development as a trajectory of cooperation with the GDR. Unlike the usual practice in contemporary GDR publications, which framed industrialization projects in the countries of the Global South as a “gift” or result of international solidarity-based cooperation from a socialist “brother country,”29 the Cubans presented this project as proof of their own strength and the result of their very individual path of economic reform, physical labor and an independent path of modernization. The local agenda obviously came into conflict with that of the international partners in the realization of the plans. With the slogans and militarily organized labor operations, the Cubans were not able to change the construction of the cement plant, but they were able to shape the narrative in their own way.

  • 30 Dessau (Germany), Landesarchiv Sachsen-Anhalt (LASA), I 420, Nr. 843: Gerhard Teichler, Manuskript (...)
  • 31 Dessau (Germany), Landesarchiv Sachsen-Anhalt (LASA), I 420, Nr. 683, Nachtrag zum Vertrag, 10.6.1 (...)
  • 32 Dessau (Germany), Landesarchiv Sachsen-Anhalt (LASA), I 420, Nr. 683, 1.-5. Technisches Protokoll, (...)
  • 33 See Łukasz Stanek, “The ‘Second World’s’ architecture and planning in the ‘Third World’,” Journal (...)
  • 34 Others were to follow, but were prevented: in the modernization of the cement plant in Mariel, a c (...)
  • 35 The economic lucrativeness of trade with the Global South is doubted in various individual studies (...)

28At the time, the project in question is therefore not to be understood exclusively as proof of geopolitical alliance and international solidarity, but represented also an expansion of the global sales market for the plant manufacturer ZAB, which could look back on a long pre-war history as an internationally operating cement plant company.30 For the Nuevitas plant, the selling price rose from an initial 6,263,190 Cuban pesos to 8,938,920 Cuban pesos in 1966.31 This was a comprehensive order that involved several GDR companies and export branches, as the export volume also included a crane delivery, a lightning protection and air conditioning system for the laboratory, a water softening system and a sanitary room, which were supplied by various subcontractors from the GDR.32 Projects like these offered the GDR an outlet for products from the construction industry, contracts for architecture and planning experts, and they opened up new markets:33 Nuevitas was only the first of two cement plants of the ZAB in Cuba. The second in Cienfuegos was the largest cement plant in Latin America at the time of its completion in 1980.34 Support for industrial development was thus not only an achievement of scientific-technical cooperation between friendly states, but also held serious economic advantages for GDR enterprises.35

Moral motivation: The principle of Voluntarismo

  • 36 On Guevara’s image of man and concept of voluntary work, see Helen Yaffe, Che Guevara. The Economi (...)
  • 37 Michael Zeuske, Insel der Extreme, op. cit. (note 12), p. 202.

29The rejection of Cuban action by the GDR authorities took place for a further reason and here it is important to relate the local and the global level: the reporter S. Z. weaves into the description of the situation on site excerpts from articles in the Cuban daily press as well as political speeches, such as those of the then Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, Raúl Castro. Long passages of his 1 May-speech (1959) in Camagüey, which the GDR delegation apparently attended, are reproduced verbatim. In it, Castro says that the Partido Comunista de Cuba followed the guideline of moral incentives over economic incentives in the move towards communism. He describes the fundamental principle of moral mobilization of the workforce, that of voluntary work (voluntarismo). This voluntarismo had several sources, apart from recourse to Marxist ideas, which lay in the guerrilla war myth and in Fidel Castro's charismatic and at the same time authoritarian style of leadership, as well as in the revolution's guiding principle of creating a “new man.” This was a mixture of the revolutionary and the ascetic, created from the process of constant self-conquest. This hombre nuevo (already known from the Russian revolution) was propagated above all in Ernesto Che Guevara's writings and speeches.36 In fact, during his time as Minister of Industry and head of the Cuban Central Bank (1961-1965), the wage principle was decoupled from the merit principle. After he resigned from his posts in Cuba in 1965 and went first to the Congo and then to Bolivia (where he was assassinated in 1967) with the aim of taking the revolution to the world, his ideas of voluntary work were transferred into practice in the “Año del guerillero heroico” in 1968.37

30Voluntarismo was not about socialism in the sense of the Soviet system, but first about a redistribution of resources and an increase in income. To achieve this, everyone should voluntarily do their best, be a role model and actively work for the community. The demand on the new Cuban generation is reflected in Raúl Castro's speech reproduced in the travel-report:

The examples in our country prove that the spirit of work creates the spirit of work, that consciousness creates consciousness, that courage and faith create courage and faith, an honest attitude creates an honest attitude, that love for society, for the people and for humanity creates more love for the people. But if we preach egoism, then money generates more egoism. Ambition generates more ambition, opportunism generates more opportunism, corruption generates more corruption, individualism generates more individualism. Therefore, we refuse to build an altar to the god ‘money’ and lay the consciousness of the people at his feet. (sheet 5)

  • 38 The economic historian Helen Yaffe points out that in studies Che Guevara’s concept of voluntarism (...)
  • 39 Michael Zeuske, Insel der Extreme, op. cit. (note 12), p. 197-209; Berthold Unfried, “A Cuban Cycl (...)

31The Cuban principle of voluntarismo is often simplified in academic studies today.38 Even in its peak, it was often ridiculed abroad and criticized by the socialist countries, including the GDR.39 Raúl Castro refers to this criticism in the above mentioned speech:

  • 40 The Castros often accused their partners in socialist Europe with the allegation of having the men (...)

Because our people have defended these ideas, some have said that we are idealists, we are romantics, we are adventurers, we violate the economic laws, we wanted to achieve our goals by replacing economic principles with enthusiasm. [...] And such things were not only spread in the capitalist press […] there are obviously people in the world who stick their noses into other people’s business and should rather sweep their own door instead. These are [...] just opinions of political hucksters [...] It is true that the belly traders [meaning the capitalist entrepreneurs of pre-revolutionary times, note. J. R.] lived better because they were under the influence of the material incentive, and therefore we are against the material incentive [underlining in the original], we don't want petty huckster morality for our people. [...] Besides, it is witless to use this example of petty-morality to defend a political thesis when you are sitting thousands of miles away.”40 (sheets 3-5)

  • 41 There was also disagreement within the Cuban Communist Party on the shape of socialism/communism a (...)
  • 42 Dietrich Lemke, Cuba, Castro y Comercio, op. cit. (note 23), p. 152-161. On Soviet Union and Cuba (...)

32Even if Castro does not explicitly name the Soviet Union, his words are primarily aimed at it. At the time, it was not yet clear which path of socialism Cuba would take and how it would position itself in foreign policy. The later development towards a firm partner of the Soviet Union was not yet foreseeable; instead, relations between these countries were at a low point after the Cuban Missile Crisis and the coexistence policy initiated by the Soviet Union. The majority of Cuban intellectuals and leaders were against a Soviet planned economy, because Cuba was striving for its own socialist modernization, which would be fundamentally different from that of the Soviet Union, which was criticized as dogmatic.41 The Soviet model of economic accounting of individual enterprises according to the criteria of efficiency and remuneration according to the performance principle was rejected; instead, leading functionaries tended towards a planned economy with central financing of the enterprises through the state budget and moral incentives for the workers, as Che Guevara had proposed. Cuba’s plan to create the new (communist) man already in the socialist phase challenged the Soviet Union ideologically. As a result, there was almost a break with the Soviet Union.42

  • 43 Michael Zeuske, Insel der Extreme, op. cit. (note 12), p. 207; Hannes Bahrmann, Abschied vom Mytho (...)
  • 44 Michael Zeuske, Insel der Extreme, op. cit. (note 12), p. 209; Jiri Kosta and Wolfgang Quaisser, “ (...)

33In recent research on Cuba, the Great Sugar Harvest (Gran Zafra) of 1970 is seen as proof of the failure of the revolutionary offensive and voluntarismo. Despite notable successes, it permanently damaged the Cuban economy and failed to achieve the original goal of harvesting 10 million tons of sugar by using almost the entire population labor force for the harvest.43 Afterwards, Cuba also changed course, Fidel publicly criticized the voluntarismo and in 1970 publicly declared his support of the Soviet model of planning and management of the economy.44 Nonetheless, the particularities of Cuban socialist ethic of the time formed the crucial ground against which the GDR-Cuba economic-technical exchange, the construction of the particular cement plant, the perception of Cuban ideological appropriations of GDR site engineers and finally, the quasi-official trip-report in question need to be viewed.

Conclusion

  • 45 Development aid was not a term in contemporary use; instead, it was referred to as “economic and s (...)

34The travel-report presented therefore illustrates a conflict that accompanied the implementation of GDR expert knowledge in Cuba and, more generally, “development aid through architecture.”45 Beyond the cement plant, a political project was exported, that was semantically charged and linked to expectations, whereby the unpredictability of the planning practice was countered with attempts to regain control.

35The two GDR cadres’ trip to Nuevitas came at a sensitive time when relations between Cuba and the Soviet Union were at a low point, because Cuba was pursuing a model of post-imperialist order that was not socialist in the sense pursued by the GDR and the Soviet Union. This specifically Cuban path was met with suspicion. In particular, it was political and economic reforms that had been linked to an image of the Cubans (and of Che Guevara in particular) that was seen as idealized, as well as the somewhat more anarchic revolutionary attitude that antagonized the bureaucratic GDR officials’ regimented frames. What was happening on the construction site put the GDR functionaries and assembly collectives on site in a quandary. On the one hand, it threatened to shake what was a matter of selling their own construction industry products and consolidating a geopolitical alliance. On the other hand, it potentially compromised their support for the Soviet Union in its efforts to retain supremacy in the socialist world system and interpretative authority over the socialist path of development.

  • 46 Berthold Unfried, “A Cuban Cycle of Developmental Socialism?” op. cit. (note 39), p. 76.

36Moreover, the Cubans did not act as subaltern partners, as is evidenced by numerous reports and protocols beyond the example presented, for example, also by the two heads of state of the GDR and Cuba.46 The fact that the GDR delegation was dissatisfied with the Cubans’ performance is proof that solidarity did not come without a counter-expectation and without a “price,” even if it was public appreciation of the partners’ achievements.

  • 47 Michael Zeuske, Insel der Extreme, op. cit. (note 12), p. 9-22.

37The events highlighted by the report represent deviating and unforeseen, unintended patterns of interpretation and processes of appropriation, which only become apparent when local and global interconnections are included in the analysis. As Michael Zeuske points out in his history of Cuba in the 20th and 21st centuries, the history of the “big” world often bundles in the “small” Cuba as if in a burning glass, in this case a facet of the relations of the Second World to a country of the Global South.47

38Finally, the present case demonstrates that such quasi-official yet non-formalized travelogues like the one under consideration―often lying obscure in the archives―are a fruitful and relevant source genre for postcolonial studies. They are more than both official report and discursive travelogue and point―between the lines―to unforeseen developments, divergent agenda-settings, local obstinacy (Eigensinn), entanglements and emotions that were linked to the international export of construction services in the context of the Cold War.

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Notes

1 Merseburg (Germany). Landesarchiv Sachsen-Anhalt (LASA), P516, Nr. 6527, Bl 1. Report on the trip carried out from 25 April to 11 May 1968 to Nuevitas, Cuba.

2 PHD project “Construction projects of the GDR in Cuba” within the research training group “Identity and Heritage,” Bauhaus-University Weimar, URL: https://www.identitaet-und-erbe.org/juliane-richter/. Accessed 17 December 2021.

3 Birgit Wolf, Sprache in der DDR. Ein Wörterbuch, Berlin: De Gruyter, 2000, p. 26.

4 The BPO also directed propagandist activity, which is why the company newspaper and radio were under its control. Instead of being just a grassroots organization within the party, it had guiding and controlling functions in the field of labor mobilization, ideology mediation and education, as well as ideology and behavior control. See Dieter Dowe and Michael Kubina (eds.), FDGB-Lexikon. Funktion, Struktur, Kader und Entwicklung einer Massenorganisation der SED (1945-1990), Berlin, 2009 (Arbeitspapiere des Forschungsverbundes SED-Staat). URL: http://library.fes.de/FDGB-Lexikon/texte/sachteil/b/Betriebsparteiorganisation_(der_SED)_(BPO).html. Accessed 8 April 2021.

5 Travelling cadres are official travellers who travel for up to 6 months to the NSW (non-socialist currency/economic area, i.e. world system as opposed to the SW, the socialist economic area), foreign cadres are assigned for longer periods. Cuba was treated like NSW in terms of travel, as it required a stopover in Canada to get there, where travelers could theoretically escape to the capitalist West. See Stefan Wolle, „Das System der Reisekader als Instrument der DDR-Wissenschaftspolitik,“ in Bundesstiftung zur Aufarbeitung der SED-Diktatur (Hg.), Enquete-Kommission Überwindung der Folgen der SED-Diktatur im Prozess der deutschen Einheit, IV/2, p. 1627; Sascha Rafalzik, Wirtschaftsspionage der DDR. Exemplarisch untersucht anhand der DDR-Reisekader unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Schriften der ,Juristischen Hochschule des MfS, Münster: Lit-Verlag, 2009, p. 27 (Studien zur DDR-Gesellschaft, 12).

6 See Stefan Wolle, „Das System der Reisekader als Instrument der DDR- Wissenschaftspolitik,“ op. cit. (note 5), p. 1628.

7 Ibid., p. 1641-1642.

8 Ibid. p. 1641; Jens Niederhut, Die Reisekader. Auswahl und Disziplinierung einer privilegierten Minderheit in der DDR, Leipzig: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 2005, p. 115-117.

9 See Sascha Rafalzik, Wirtschaftsspionage der DDR, op. cit. (note 5), p. 29.

10 See Johanna Bockman, “Socialist Globalization against Capitalist Neocolonialism. The Economic Ideas behind the New International Economic Order,” Humanity. An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development, vol. 6, 2015, p. 109-128; Anna Calori, Anne-Kristin Hartmetz, Bence Kocsev, James Mark and Jan Zofka (eds.), Between East and South. Spaces of Interaction in the Globalizing Economy of the Cold War, Berlin: De Gruyter, 2019 (Dialectics of the Global); Łukasz Stanek, Architecture in Global Socialism. Eastern Europe, West Africa, and the Middle East in the Cold War, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2020.

11 A. N. Glinkin, „Die Zusammenarbeit mit der UDSSR und anderen sozialistischen Ländern in ihrer Bedeutung für die Revolution in Kuba, Asien, Afrika, Lateinamerika,“ Zeitschrift des Zentralen Rates für Asien-, Afrika- und Lateinamerikawissenschaften der DDR, vol. 12, 1984, p. 133-144.

12 Michael Zeuske, Insel der Extreme. Kuba im 20. und 21. Jahrhundert, (3rd ed.), Zürich: Rotpunktverlag, 2017, p. 185; Compañeros im sozialistischen AmerikaFreundschaftsbesuch der Parteiund Regierungsdelegation der DDR unter Leitung des 1. Sekretärs des ZK der SED Erich Honecker in der Republik Kuba, Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1974, p. 150.

13 Juan de las Cuevas Toraya, 500 años de construcciones en Cuba, Madrid: Chavin, 2001, p. 295; Dessau (Germany), Landesarchiv Sachsen-Anhalt (LASA), I 420, VEB Zementanlagenbau Dessau, no. 683, Zementwerk Kuba, 1961-1965. 1.Technisches Protokoll, 23 December 1961.

14 Juan de las Cuevas Toraya, 500 años de construcciones en Cuba, op. cit. (note 13), p. 116.

15 Ibid., p. 295.

16 Ibid., p. 405.

17 Jiri Kosta and Wolfgang Quaisser, „Sozialistische Entwicklungswege. Strategien und Ergebnisse der wirtschaftlichen Entwicklung Polens, Jugoslawiens, Chinas und Kubas im Vergleich,“ in Peter Gey (ed.), Sozialismus und Industrialisierung, Frankfurt/Main: Campus-Verlag, 1985, p. 63-65; Helen Yaffe, Che Guevara. The Economics of Revolution, Basingstoke; New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009, p. 165-166.

18 Michael Zeuske, Insel der Extreme, op. cit. (note 12), p. 208.

19 Ibid., p. 205. See Oscar Espinosa Chepe, “La ofensiva revolucionaria de 1968, 44 años después. Cuando en Cuba se llegó a pensar en eliminar el dinero,” Cubaencuentro, 27 March 2012, URL: https://www.cubaencuentro.com/cuba/articulos/la-ofensiva-revolucionaria-de-1968-44-anos-despues-275328. Accessed 3 May 2021.

20 Michael Zeuske, Insel der Extreme, op. cit. (note 12), p. 195-210. Raimund Krämer, Der alte Mann und die Insel. Essays zu Politik und Gesellschaft in Kuba, (2nd ed.), Berlin: Berliner Debatte Wiss.-Verl., 2002, p. 127. About industrialization in Cuba see Peter Gey, „Planwirtschaft in Kuba,“ in Idem (ed.), Sozialismus und Industrialisierung, op. cit. (note 17), p. 263-285.

21 „Erfüllung eines Sonderplanes in ,Guerilla-Fabrik‘ gesichert,“ Granma, 6 November 1967, attached to the report as a German translation.

22 „Bestarbeiter und Techniker der Zementfabrik Nuevitas auf der Mai-Tribüne,“ Granma, 2 May 1968, attached to the report as a German translation.

23 As report of a contemporary witness in Dietrich Lemke, Cuba, Castro y comercio. 30 Jahre im Dienst des Aussenhandels DDR–Kuba, Zeuthen: self published, 2008, p. 234.

24 On the GDR’s so-called “Fight against the presumption of sole representation” (Kampf gegen die Alleinvertretungsanmaßung) of the FRG, see Hans-Joachim Spanger and Lothar Brock, Die beiden deutschen Staaten in der Dritten Welt. Die Entwicklungspolitik der DDReine Herausforderung für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland?, Opladen: Springer-Verlag, 1987, p. 164-167. Evidence shows how urgently the GDR wanted to establish diplomatic relations with the “young nation states” on the path of socialist development, see Raimund Krämer, „Kuba und die DDR. Eine intensive Phase des deutsch-kubanischen Verhältnisses,“ in Idem (ed.), Deutsche auf Kuba. Eine Spurensuche, Potsdam: WeltTrends, p. 79-91; but also, in relations to other countries in the midst of decolonization, e. g. Zanzibar, see Eric Burton, “Diverging Visions in Revolutionary Spaces. East German Advisers and Revolution from above in Zanzibar, 1964–1970,” in Anna Calori [et al.] (eds.), Between East and South, op. cit. (note 10), p. 85-115.

25 See Stefan Wolle, „Das System der Reisekader als Instrument der DDR- Wissenschaftspolitik,“ op. cit. (note 5), p. 1615-1616.

26 Dietrich Lemke, Cuba, Castro y Comercio, op. cit. (note 23), p. 233.

27 A look into the Cuban archives would be a necessary extension of the perspective here. However, this not being a possibility within the pandemic context, I use a field report from another international export project as a comparison. Günter Mosler, who worked as a foreign cadre in the People’s Republic of Yemen in the 1980s, describes how the Yemeni construction site workers sometimes had to wait months for important blueprints and instructions from the GDR and therefore fell behind with the construction of the plants. Günter Mosler, VDR Jemen 1984-1987. Ein DDR-Auslandskader erzählt. Zwischen Dschungel, Taiga, Savanne, Wüste und Heimat, Leipzig: Engelsdorfer Verlag, 2014, p. 27.

28 Which is not true, as a multi-page Granma-report of 19 April 1968 under the headline El Futuro es Ya! proves, which mentions support for the GDR several times.

29 E.g. Compañeros im sozialistischen Amerika, op. cit. (note 12), see also contemporary productions of the DEFA-studio, e.g. the documentary Uns einen starke Bande (GDR, 1980, director: Joachim Hadaschik).

30 Dessau (Germany), Landesarchiv Sachsen-Anhalt (LASA), I 420, Nr. 843: Gerhard Teichler, Manuskript zur Betriebsgeschichte: Polysius-Legende und Wirklichkeit 1859-1945, 1989; Idem, I 430, Nr. 822: Gerhard Teichler, Betriebschronik; Gerhard Teichler and H. Erfurth, „Auf dem Wege zur Industriestadt. Die Entwicklung der Dessauer Industrie am Beispiel des heutigen VEB Zementanlagenbau Dessau,“ in Rat der Stadt Dessau (ed.), Dessauer Kalender, Dessau, 1988.

31 Dessau (Germany), Landesarchiv Sachsen-Anhalt (LASA), I 420, Nr. 683, Nachtrag zum Vertrag, 10.6.1966. Juan de las Cuevas Toraya, 500 años de construcciones en Cuba, op. cit. (note 13), p. 406 speaks of a contract value of 34 million dollars.

32 Dessau (Germany), Landesarchiv Sachsen-Anhalt (LASA), I 420, Nr. 683, 1.-5. Technisches Protokoll, 23.12.1961-20.08.1964.

33 See Łukasz Stanek, “The ‘Second World’s’ architecture and planning in the ‘Third World’,” Journal of Architecture, vol. 17, no. 3, 2012, p. 299-307, see p. 300.

34 Others were to follow, but were prevented: in the modernization of the cement plant in Mariel, a company from the FRG prevailed over the ZAB, and the construction of a new plant in Gibara was prevented by the end of the GDR.

35 The economic lucrativeness of trade with the Global South is doubted in various individual studies, cf. rather the hope for political influence. For a fundamental contribution see Odd Arne Westad, The Global Cold War. Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007; James Mark and Quinn Slobodian, “Eastern Europe in the Global History of Decolonization,” in Martin Thomas and Andrew Thompson (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of the Ends of Empire, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018, p. 351-372; Oscar Sanchez-Sibony, Red Globalization. The Political Economy of the Soviet Cold War from Stalin to Khrushchev, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014, p. 127-131; Hans-Joachim Spanger and Lothar Brock, Die beiden deutschen Staaten in der Dritten Welt, op. cit. (note 24), p. 243-269.

36 On Guevara’s image of man and concept of voluntary work, see Helen Yaffe, Che Guevara. The Economics of Revolution, op. cit. (note 17); Ingo Juchler, „Ernesto Che Guevaras Konzeption des Neuen Menschen. Revolutionäres Bewusstsein, Pflicht und Opfertod,“ Der neue Mensch, vol. 10247, 2018, p. 67-84; Horst Kurnitzky, „Ernesto Che Guevara, Der Sozialismus und der Mensch in Kuba,“ in Idem (ed.), Ernesto Che Guevara: Ökonomie und neues Bewusstsein. Schriften zur politischen Ökonomie, Berlin: Wagenbach, 1969, p. 138. See as well Carmelo Mesa-Lago „Das kubanische Wirtschaftsmodell in den 1980er Jahren. Konflikte zwischen Ideologie und Pragmatismus,“ in Peter Gey (ed.), Sozialismus und Industrialisierung, op. cit. (note 17), p. 292-295.

37 Michael Zeuske, Insel der Extreme, op. cit. (note 12), p. 202.

38 The economic historian Helen Yaffe points out that in studies Che Guevara’s concept of voluntarismo is often reproduced in a truncated way and Che is simplified as an idealistic dreamer. She criticizes historical analysis for characterizing voluntary work and socialist emulation as means and ends, rather than as part of a complex of policy instruments to increase productivity while undermining the operation of capitalist mechanisms that would undermine the formation of a new consciousness and the social relations essential to. See Helen Yaffe, Che Guevara. The Economics of Revolution, op. cit. (note 17), p. 2.

39 Michael Zeuske, Insel der Extreme, op. cit. (note 12), p. 197-209; Berthold Unfried, “A Cuban Cycle of Developmental Socialism? Cubans and East Germans in the Socialist World System,” Journal für Entwicklungspolitik, vol. 33, no. 3, 2017, p. 69-90, see p. 71.

40 The Castros often accused their partners in socialist Europe with the allegation of having the mentality of a petty grocer in, even in later years. A telling example were the talks between Fidel Castro and Erich Honecker in Havana in 1974, during which Erich Honecker was attacked in an undiplomatic manner by Fidel Castro, who accused him of petty-bourgeois thinking and a “merchant mentality” in economic relations, a remark that greatly agitated Honecker. See Dietrich Lemke, Cuba, Castro y comercio, op. cit. (note 23), p. 232-237

41 There was also disagreement within the Cuban Communist Party on the shape of socialism/communism and between the advocates of a Leninist and of a personalistic party (with Castro as leading figure), accompanied by waves of “purges” and condemnations by Fidel Castro, see for example the case of the so-called “micro-fraction,” described from the perspective of contemporary witnesses in Dietrich Lemke, Cuba, Castro y Comercio, op. cit. (note 23), p. 161-170; Raimund Krämer, Der alte Mann und die Insel, op. cit. (note 20), p. 129.

42 Dietrich Lemke, Cuba, Castro y Comercio, op. cit. (note 23), p. 152-161. On Soviet Union and Cuba relations, see Michelle Getchell, “Cuba, the USSR, and the Non-Aligned Movement. Negotiating Non-Alignment,” in Thomas Field, Stella Krepp and Vanni Pettinà (eds.), Latin America and the global Cold War, Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 2020, p. 148-173. Robert K. Furtak, „Die kubanisch-sowjetischen Beziehungen,“ in Rafael Sevilla and Clemens Rode (eds.), Kuba. Die isolierte Revolution?, Unkel/Rhein: Horlemann, 1993, p. 183-196.

43 Michael Zeuske, Insel der Extreme, op. cit. (note 12), p. 207; Hannes Bahrmann, Abschied vom Mythos. Sechs Jahrzehnte kubanischer Revolution. Eine kritische Bilanz, Berlin: Christoph Links Verlag, 2016, p. 85-88.

44 Michael Zeuske, Insel der Extreme, op. cit. (note 12), p. 209; Jiri Kosta and Wolfgang Quaisser, “Sozialistische Entwicklungswege,” op. cit. (note 17), p. 75. In detail in Berthold Unfried, “A Cuban Cycle of Developmental Socialism?,” op. cit. (note 39), p. 69-90; Robert K. Furtak, „Die kubanisch-sowjetischen Beziehungen. Konvergenzen und Divergenzen,“ op. cit. (note 42), p. 183-196.

45 Development aid was not a term in contemporary use; instead, it was referred to as “economic and scientific-technical cooperation,” with the aim of “gradual rapprochement and approximation of the levels of economic development of the member countries of the COMECON” and “providing all-round assistance and support to industrially less developed countries.“ Hans Bär, Manfred Engert and Heinz Stephan (eds.), Lexikon RGW, Leipzig: Bibliografisches Institut, 1981, p. 139 (Kuba), p. 119 (Komplexprogramm), p. 261-263 (wissenschaftlich-technisches Zusammenarbeit).

46 Berthold Unfried, “A Cuban Cycle of Developmental Socialism?” op. cit. (note 39), p. 76.

47 Michael Zeuske, Insel der Extreme, op. cit. (note 12), p. 9-22.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Figure 1a: Report on the trip carried out from 25 April to 11 May 1968 to Nuevitas, Cuba.
Crédits Source: Merseburg (Germany), Landesarchiv Sachsen-Anhalt (LASA), P516, Nr. 6527.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/12747/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 381k
Titre Figure 1b: Report on the trip carried out from 25 April to 11 May 1968 to Nuevitas, Cuba.
Crédits Source: Merseburg (Germany), Landesarchiv Sachsen-Anhalt (LASA), P516, Nr. 6527.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/12747/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 405k
Titre Figure 1c: Report on the trip carried out from 25 April to 11 May 1968 to Nuevitas, Cuba.
Crédits Source: Merseburg (Germany), Landesarchiv Sachsen-Anhalt (LASA), P516, Nr. 6527.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/12747/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 391k
Titre Figure 2a: Cement plant in Nuevitas, 1974.
Crédits Source: Berlin (Germany), DDR Bildarchiv, Licence 97731998360c9051. Photos by Klaus Morgenstern.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/12747/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 192k
Titre Figure 2b: Cement plant in Nuevitas, 1974.
Crédits Source: Berlin (Germany), DDR Bildarchiv, Licence 97731998360c9051. Photos by Klaus Morgenstern.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/12747/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 205k
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Juliane Richter, « “A complicated political-ideological situation.” Transfering a cement plant from Dessau/GDR to Nuevitas/Cuba »ABE Journal [En ligne], 19 | 2021, mis en ligne le 31 décembre 2021, consulté le 05 octobre 2022. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/abe/12747 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/abe.12747

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Juliane Richter

PhD Researcher, DFG Graduate Training Group “Identity and Heritage” Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, Germany Orcid ID: 0000-0003-2850-1184

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