For nearly three centuries, Cuba's economy was based on a single crop -- sugar cane. After Fidel Castro's 1959 Revolution of 1959, despite serious attempts at diversification, the country continued to depend on the monocrop. Men and women cut cane by hand. City people who had never swung a machete spent long volunteer hours aiding the national effort. But the US embargo and diminishing international markets destroyed Cuba's economy. Gaudencio Rodríguez Santana's NATIONAL ECONOMY / ECONOMIA NACIONAL explores that collapse and its physical, emotional and psychic consequences. It is a powerful, insightful collection of eye-witness poems by one of Cuba's most celebrated contemporary poets. As translator and editor Margaret Randall writes in her introduction, Rodríguez Santana "uses the failure of sugar as a metaphor for the many revolutionary hopes that have been lost. He evokes landscapes, tastes, smells, a cartography that no longer exists. In these poems, metaphor moves beyond itself as it hits the reader with a profound and complex truth. This book is raw and painful. It contains a rare imagery in the voice of a poet who combines an intimate knowledge of what he writes about with a unique poetic voice and exquisite perfection of his craft."