1 In 1993 the Cuban government legalized domestic trade in U.S. dollars, valued at
roughly twenty-five Cuban national pesos per dollar in 2000. In November 2004 the
U.S. dollar was replaced by the Cuban convertible peso (cuc), which maintains a
comparable exchange rate. In addition to the symbolic benefit of removing U.S.
dollars from domestic circulation, their replacement with convertible pesos aug-
ments Cuba’s import capacity by concentrating hard currency earned from inter-
national trade and remittances in the hands of the state. Both convertible and
national pesos can be legally held by Cubans, but the higher value of products sold
in convertibles makes them di≈cult to attain for Cubans with lower incomes.
2 The notion that active civil society tends to entrench rather than overcome systemic
inequalities was foreshadowed by Pierre Bourdieu, who argued that dominant
groups have the most to gain from investing their support and trust in the institu-
tions of a sociopolitical system that favors them (Bourdieu and Passeron 1977).
Bourdieu argued that elites systematically invest resources in indoctrination pro-
grams that teach subordinate sectors to accept their place in the social hierarchy, to
play by established societal rules, and to ‘‘misrecognize’’ this process as education.
3 This is not to say that the Cuban Catholic establishment and the state worked in
total isolation from each other prior to 1990. Tentative moves toward church-state
cooperation emerged in the early 1970s as leaders on both sides found common
ground in a progressive social agenda. Church-state rapprochement deepened in
the ensuing decades, but it was only after the mid-1990s that specific collaborative
projects began to emerge on a broad scale (see chapter 4).
4 This is not to say that collaboration with the state is the only way for indepen-
dent associations to attract international support. The Zapatistas in Chiapas, Mex-
ico, for instance, and outlawed dissident movements throughout the world (includ-
ing Cuba) draw in varying degrees on overseas sources of technical and financial
Previous Page Next Page