1. There was much written during the 1990s on the perceived transition of Cuban
society, mainly in political science, but also in anthropology. Some of these include
Sandor Halebsky and John Kirk 1992, Carmelo Mesa-Lago 1993, Jean Stubbs 1989,
and Jorge Dominguez 2003, 2004.
2. One exception is Mona Rosendahl’s ethnography of a small town outside of
Santiago de Cuba called Inside the Revolution: Everyday Life in Socialist Cuba (1998).
Rosendahl’s book was based on fieldwork carried out in the late 1980s.
3. The term cubanidad was coined by José Antonio Saco, a political scientist and
philosopher, who used the term to distinguish Cuban identity from that of Spain
and the United States. Saco’s definition was created from the criollo perspective,
leaving out the centrality of African and indigenous cultural presence. José Martí
also used the term cubanidad when discussing its role in the unity of Nuestra
America (Our America) and the struggle against colonialism. According to Antoni
Kapcia, cubanidad is Cubanness while cubanía refers to ideology and the teleologi-
cal belief in cubanidad. It is generally accepted that the use of the term cubanidad
emerged from a white intellectual discourse on nationalism, which then turned
into a broader ideology of dissent and rebellion, cubanía rebelde, from the late
nineteenth century to the 1950s ( 2000:6). After 1959, rebellion became ‘‘revolution-
ary’’; thus, cubanía revolucionaria was akin to revolutionary consciousness. Ac-
cording to Kapcia, cubanía revolucionaria was ‘‘a hegemonic ideology of dissent
that became fundamental in guiding the revolutionary process through the mael-
strom of the first decade and the competing orthodoxies of the more recognizably
socialist years to the critical 1990s, where it became a vital element in guaranteeing
survival, in balancing the demands for continuity and change, stability and adapta-
tion, and in searching for yet another identity of the nación’’ (ibid.:6–7). There are
other debates about which term to use—cubanidad, cubanía, or even cubaneo (see
Firmat 1997), but throughout this book, I choose to use the more contemporary
4. Fidel Castro, speech to the Union Nacional de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba
(uneac), June 9, 2000, reprinted in Juventud Rebelde, June 10, 2000:1.
5. Martiano refers to the philosophies of Cuban intellectual José Martí, who is
considered the father of the Cuban nation and Cuban identity.
Previous Page Next Page