The Cuba Reader

9780822331841: Hardback
Release Date: 4th February 2004

9780822331971: Paperback
Release Date: 4th February 2004

94 illustrations

Dimensions: 156 x 235

Number of Pages: 736

Series The Latin America Readers

Duke University Press Books

The Cuba Reader

History, Culture, Politics

Hardback / £103.00
Paperback / £26.99

Cuba is often perceived in starkly black and white terms—either as the site of one of Latin America’s most successful revolutions or as the bastion of the world’s last communist regime. The Cuba Reader multiplies perspectives on the nation many times over, presenting more than one hundred selections about Cuba’s history, culture, and politics. Beginning with the first written account of the island, penned by Christopher Columbus in 1492, the selections assembled here track Cuban history from the colonial period through the ascendancy of Fidel Castro to the present.

The Cuba Reader combines songs, paintings, photographs, poems, short stories, speeches, cartoons, government reports and proclamations, and pieces by historians, journalists, and others. Most of these are by Cubans, and many appear for the first time in English. The writings and speeches of José Martí, Fernando Ortiz, Fidel Castro, Alejo Carpentier, Che Guevera, and Reinaldo Arenas appear alongside the testimonies of slaves, prostitutes, doctors, travelers, and activists. Some selections examine health, education, Catholicism, and santería; others celebrate Cuba’s vibrant dance, music, film, and literary cultures. The pieces are grouped into chronological sections. Each section and individual selection is preceded by a brief introduction by the editors.

The volume presents a number of pieces about twentieth-century Cuba, including the events leading up to and following Castro’s January 1959 announcement of revolution. It provides a look at Cuba in relation to the rest of the world: the effect of its revolution on Latin America and the Caribbean, its alliance with the Soviet Union from the 1960s until the collapse of the Soviet bloc in 1989, and its tumultuous relationship with the United States. The Cuba Reader also describes life in the periodo especial following the cutoff of Soviet aid and the tightening of the U.S. embargo.

For students, travelers, and all those who want to know more about the island nation just ninety miles south of Florida, The Cuba Reader is an invaluable introduction.

Acknowledgments xi
Introduction 1
I. Indigenous Society and Conquest
Christopher Columbus "Discovers" Cuba / Christopher Columbus 9
The Devastation of the Indies / Bartolome de Las Casas 12
Spanish Officials and Indigenous Resistance / Various Spanish Officials 15
A World Destroyed / Juan Perez de la Riva 20
"Transculturation" and Cuba / Fernando Ortiz 26
Survival Stories / Jose Barreiro 28
II. Sugar, Slavery, and Colonialism
A Physician's Notes on Cuba / John G. F. Wurdemann 39
The Death of the Forest / Manuel Moreno Fraginals 44
Autobiography of a Slave / Juan Francisco Manzano 49
Biography of a Runaway Slave / Miguel Barnet 58
Fleeing Slavery / Miguel Barnet, Pedro Deschamps Chapeaux, Rafael Garcia, and Rafael Duharte 65
Santiago de Cuba's Fugitive Slaves / Rafael Duharte 69
Rumba / Yvonne Daniel 74
The Trade in Chinese Laborers / Richard Dana 79
Life on a Coffee Plantation / John G. F. Wurdemann 83
Cuba's First Railroad / David Turnbull 88
The Color Line / Jose Antonio Saco 91
Abolition! / Father Felix Varela 94
Cecilia Valdes / Cirilo Villaverde 97
Sab / Gertrudis Gomez de Avellaneda y Arteaga 103
An Afro-Cuban Poet / Placido 110
III. The Struggle for Independence
Freedom and Slavery / Carlos Manuel de Cespedes 115
Memories of a Cuban Girl / Renee Mendez Capote 118
Jose Marti's "Our America" / Jose Marti 122
Guantanamera / Jose Marti 128
The Explosion of the Maine / New York Journal 130
U.S. Cartoonists Portray Cuba / John J. Johnson 135
The Devastation of Counterinsurgency / Fifty-fifth Congress, Second Session 139
IV. Neocolonialism
The Platt Amendment / President Theodore Roosevelt 147
Imperialism and Sanitation / Nancy Stepan 150
A Child of the Platt Amendment / Renee Mendez Capote 154
Spain in Cuba / Manuel Moreno Fraginals 157
The Independent Party of Color / El Partido Independiente de Color 163
A Survivor / Isidoro Santos Carrera 167
Rachel's Song / Miguel Barnet 171
Honest Women / Miguel de Carrion 180
Generals and Doctors / Carlos Loveira 186
A Crucial Decade / Lolo de la Torriente 189
Afrocubanismo and Son / Robin Moore 192
Drums in My Eyes / Nicolas Guillen 201
Abakua / Rafael Lopez Valdes 212
The First Wave of Cuban Feminism / Ofelia Dominguez Navarro 219
Life at the Mill / Ursinio Rojas 226
Migrant Workers in the Sugar Industry / Levi Marrero 234
The Cuban Counterpoint / Fernando Ortiz 239
The Invasion of the Tourists / Rosalie Schwartz 244
Waiting Tables in Havana / Cipriano Chinea Palero and Lynn Geldof 253
The Brothel of the Caribbean / Tomas Fernandez Robaina 257
A Prostitute Remembers / Oscar Lewis, Ruth M. Lewis, and Susan M. Rigdon 260
Sugarcane / Nicolas Guillen 264
Where is Cuba Headed? / Julio Antonio Mella 265
The Chase / Alejo Carpentier 270
The Fall of Machado / R. Hart Phillips 274
Sugar Mills and Soviets / Salvador Rionda 281
The United States Confronts the 1933 Revolution / Sumner Welles and Cordell Hull 283
The Political Gangster / Samuel Farber 287
The United Fruit Company in Cuba / Oscar Zanetti 290
Cuba's Largest Inheritance / Bohemia 296
The Last Call / Eduardo A. Chibas 298
For Us, It Is Always the 26th of July / Carlos Puebla 300
Three Comandantes Talk It Over / Carlos Franqui 302
History Will Absolve Me / Fidel Castro 306
Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War / Che Guevara 315
The United States Rules Cuba, 1952-1958 / Morris Morley 321
The Cuban Story in the New York Times / Herbert L. Matthews 326
V. Building a New Society
And Then Fidel Arrived / Carlos Puebla 337
Tornado / Silvio Rodriguez 340
Castro Announces the Revolution / Fidel Castro 341
How the Poor Got More / Medea Benjamin, Joseph Collins, and Michael Scott 344
Fish a la Grande Jardiniere / Humberto Arenal 354
Women in the Swamps / Margaret Randall 363
Man and Socialism / Ernesto "Che" Guevara 370
In the Fist of the Revolution / Jose Yglesias 375
The Agrarian Revolution / Medea Benjamin, Joseph Collins, and Michael Scott 378
1961: The Year of Education / Richard R. Fagen 386
The Literacy Campaign / Oscar Lewis, Ruth M. Lewis, and Susan M. Rigdon 389
The "Rehabilitation" of Prostitutes / Oscar Lewis, Ruth M. Lewis, and Susan M. Rigdon 395
The Family Code / Margaret Randall 399
Homosexuality, Creativity, Dissidence / Reinaldo Arenas 406
The Original Sin / Pablo Milanes 412
Where the Island Sleeps Like a Wing / Nancy Morejon 414
Silence on Black Cuba / Carlos Moore 419
Black Man in Red Cuba / John Clytus 424
Post-modern Maroon in the Ultimate Palenque / Christian Parenti 427
From Utopianism to Institutionalization / Juan Antonio Blanco and Medea Benjamin 433
Carlos Puebla Sings about the Economy / Carlos Puebla 443
VI. Culture and Revolution
Caliban / Roberto Fernandez Retamar 451
For an Imperfect Cinema / Julio Garcia Espinosa 458
Dance and Social Change / Yvonne Daniel 466
Revolutionary Sport / Paula Pettavino and Geralyn Pye 475
Mea Cuba / Guillermo Cabrera Infante 481
In Hard Times / Heberto Padilla 488
The Virgin of Charity of Cobre, Cuba's Patron Saint / Olga Portuondo Zuniga 490
A Conversation on Santeria and Palo Monte / Oscar Lewis, Ruth M. Lewis, and Susan M. Rigdon 498
The Catholic Church and the Revolution / Ernesto Cardenal 505
Havana's Jewish Community / Tom Miller 509
VII. The Cuban Revolution and the World
The Venceremos Brigades / Sandra Levinson 517
The Cuban Revolution and the New Left / Van Gosse 526
The U.S. Government Responds to Revolution / Foreign Relations of the United States 530
Castro Calls on Cubans to Resist the Counterrevolution / Fidel Castro 536
Operation Mongoose / Edward Lansdale 540
Offensive Missiles on That Imprisoned Island / President John F. Kennedy 544
Inconsolable Memories: A Cuban View of the Missile Crisis / Edmundo Desnoes 547
The Assassination Plots / Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities 552
Cuban Refugee Children / Monsignor Bryan O. Walsh 557
From Welcomed Exiles to Illegal Immigrants / Felix Roberto Masud-Piloto 561
Wrong Channel / Roberto Fernandez 566
We Came All the Way from Cuba So You Could Dress Like This? / Achy Obejas 568
City on the Edge / Alejandro Portes and Alex Stepick 581
Singing for Nicaragua / Silvio Rodriguez 588
Cuban Medical Diplomacy / Julie Feinsilver 590
VIII. The "Periodo Especial" and the Future of the Revolution
Silvio Rodríguez Sings of the Special Period / Silvio Rodríguez 599
From Communist Solidarity to Communist Solitary / Susan Eckstein 607
The Revolution Turns Forty / Saul Landau 623
Colonizing the Cuban Body / G. Derrick Hodge  628
Pope John Paul II Speaks in Cuba / Pope John Paul II 635
Emigration in the Special Period / Steve Fainaru and Ray Sánchez 637
The Old Man and the Boy / John Lee Anderson 644
Civil Society / Haroldo Dilla 650
Forty Years Later / Senel Paz 660
A Dissident Speaks Out / Elizardo Sánchez Santacruz 664
One More Assassination Plot / Juan Tamayo 666
An Errand in Havana / Miguel Barnet 671
No Turning Back for Johnny / David Mitrani 678
Suggestions for Further Reading 691
Acknowledgment of Copyrights 701
Index 713

Aviva Chomsky is Professor of History and Coordinator of Latin American Studies at Salem State College. She is the author of West Indian Workers and the United Fruit Company in Costa Rica, 18701940 and coeditor of Identity and Struggle at the Margins of the Nation-State: The Laboring Peoples of Central America and the Hispanic Caribbean (published by Duke University Press).

Barry Carr is Director of the Institute of Latin American Studies at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia. He is the author of Marxism and Communism in Twentieth-Century Mexico and coeditor of The Latin American Left: From the Fall of Allende to Perestroika.

Pamela Maria Smorkaloff is Director of Latin American and Latino Studies and Assistant Professor of Spanish at Montclair State University. She is the author of Cuban Writers on and off the Island: Contemporary Narrative Fiction and Readers and Writers in Cuba: A Social History of Print Culture, 1830s1990s and editor of If I Could Write This in Fire: An Anthology of Literature from the Caribbean.

“What a beautiful journey through five hundred years of Cuban history, culture, and politics! The Cuba Reader is a sumptuous medley of poetry, song, speeches, interviews, and vignettes from novels new and old. You’ll hear the voices of santeros and sugar workers, prostitutes and politicos, revolutionaries and reporters, dissidents and dancers. It’s the next best thing to being in Cuba, so sit back with a mojito and enjoy the masterfully guided tour.”—Medea Benjamin, activist and cofounder of Global Exchange

"The Cuba Reader offers a splendid overview of the Cuban experience, past and present, through a dazzling array of points of view. The voices of participants and observers and perspectives on the extraordinary and the commonplace—with imagery conveyed by way of photography and poetry, through the lyric of music and the nuance of the novel—make for a compelling collection of material. The very fullness of its vision makes The Cuba Reader an indispensable book for courses—of every academic discipline—on Cuba.”—Louis A. Pérez, Jr., author of On Becoming Cuban: Identity, Nationality, and Culture

"[An] ambitious and impressive anthology, a sweeping collection of source materials by and about Cubans both on the island and living in other countries. The editors . . . have wisely chosen songs, paintings, photographs, short stories, essays, speeches, government reports, cartoons and newspaper articles that span Cuban history. . . . What The Cuba Reader does extraordinarily well is to reveal the nuances and complexity of the Cuban experience. All shades of politics are here, and they infuse Cuban dance, music, film and religion."

Susan Fernandez
Miami Herald

"[A] crash course in Cuban history. If you’re looking for a single (hefty) volume to get you up to speed about the past 500 years of Cuban politics and culture, this is it."

Julie Schwietert Collazo
The Guardian

"[A] classic. The editors of this book and their many accomplices deserve nothing but praise for producing the best introduction to Cuba one can possibly find."

Gavin O'Toole
Latin American Review of Books

"[T]he editors should be congratulated for their Herculean effort. The reader will be most useful for undergraduate courses where it will provide students with an impressive overview of the Cuban experience over the last five centuries. In fact, anyone interested in obtaining a comprehensive and multifaceted firsthand account of Cuban history will benefit from this book."

John J. Dwyer
The Americas

"This Reader provides a wonderfully eclectic selection of writings from and about Cuba. . . . [A] very useful resource for the teaching of courses relating to Cuba, providing a taster of many aspects of the island's history that should encourage those who dip into it to come away with a more nuanced understanding of an island that has been plagued by caricature."

Jonathan Curry-Machado
Journal of Latin American Studies